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Something I've noticed while moderating Gaming is that the mod dashboard is really awesome. You get a very utilitarian list of what needs your attention with the most common actions right at your disposal. You can expand every post excerpt in place to show the full post with the full range of commands. It's very productive and awesome.

It does have a problem, however, and it's that it's for flags only. If you instead choose to vote on something, your post gets somewhere in the 10k tools list, which is by default the 3 posts with the most and the most recent votes to do {x}. Sure, you can expand the list, sort the list by close reason... but it's not quite the same thing.

This now also applies to 10kers with their new and improved flag list, showing a "dumbed down" dashboard... again, for flags, not for votes.

This is concerning. Who casts flags?

  • Users with less than 20k reputation that want a post gone.
  • Users with less than 10k reputation that want a new post gone.
  • Users with less than 3k reputation that want a question closed.
  • Users without mod privileges that want a mod action.

Basically, once you gain the privilege to vote for something, moderators stop looking at your plead, and 10kers don't see you anymore in the flags list with the red inviting counter.

Here's a confusing chart summing up the situation right now:

enter image description here

Michael Mrozek puts it nicely:

For example you vote to close a post. While you're waiting around for 4 more people to notice and agree with you, a 1 5 rep user shows up and wants to close too, which causes a mod flag. Now a mod sees that flag and closes the post. It's like that 1 5 rep user had more of an impact than you did. Low-rep users getting mods to close/delete by proxy leapfrogs over everyone in the middle

This isn't entirely right. Why should we pay more attention to flags than we do to votes? Shouldn't it be the other way round?


Perhaps as a result of this post, we're now starting to get free-text mod flags (not the flags I talk about above) with close vote reasons from users who also have voted to close. That's not helping as those create unnecessary burden on moderators who must dismiss those flags manually… and usually, negatively.

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Note that trilogy moderators don't get inbox notifications for meta posts. Also, Stack Overflow moderators apparently have enough items in their mod dashboard as it is thank you very much. –  badp Jun 20 '11 at 16:47
    
@Pekka Is it better now? –  badp Jun 20 '11 at 16:51
    
@badp yup, the labels help a lot! –  Pëkka Jun 20 '11 at 16:52
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Pic needs moar narwhals. –  Won't Jun 20 '11 at 18:28
    
@Wont That'd make the graph less confusing. –  badp Jun 20 '11 at 18:57
    
I think it'd be cool if we could gather some statistics on non-flagged closures to analyze whether or not the flagged closures have a significant impact on the attention. I've heard stories in many directions about how closures generally accumulate, so I can't really say it goes one way or another, but I'm curious whether or not low rep users actually have a greater impact on closures in recent days. –  Grace Note Jun 20 '11 at 19:07
    
@badp - On my SE 2.0 site, I'd welcome the "unnecessary burden" of accelerating the cleanup process. I mark requests to close (which often come from 3k users who want to see the close happen today) as helpful, and I'm thankful for every one of the 3 flags/day that I get. I understand that it's a different world on Stackoverflow. –  Kevin Vermeer Sep 26 '11 at 17:00

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I could see a case for better tools in tracking close votes, but I don't agree that it should be integrated with the moderator dashboard. I think the dashboard is best for what is essentially needing intervention because the only observers cannot take action themselves.

Suppose something gets a close vote as a particularly obvious duplicate, and I happen to be around just after the vote is cast. As a moderator, I could slam that shut immediately. Or, if I wait less than a minute, 4 more votes will come without my assistance.

The one thing we're told when we get this job is that we serve as "human exception handlers". This doesn't mean that we should stray to do the bare minimum, but rather that we shouldn't be expected to do everything. We don't need to review every passing close vote, or every passing delete vote. We should pay more attention to flags than to votes because those are the points we need to pay attention to. Votes can handle themselves, and often do if it's not esoteric.

We don't need to monitor every form of administrative action. The tools to review it help, but what I like about the dashboard is that it mostly attempts to emphasize the stuff that's of exceeding importance - the stuff that the community can't get done on its own (most mod flags), and the stuff that we really must address in a timely fashion (spam/offensive). Actual close and delete votes seem like they're something that we don't have to keep on top of during their active phase - unless they are a controversial item. In which case, there's probably going to be a moderator flag anyway.

Comment flags are an irregularity. They sometimes are of the "spam/offensive" variety that does require our intervention, but sometimes I ponder if it'd be better off on another page, in the same vein that the equally-sometimes-important migrations are.

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This may work great on Stack Overflow, where there are more than 6,000 users at over 3k and close votes go through quickly. However, on lower-volume sites, close and delete votes should get immediate attention from any mods, because it could take quite a while for the community to act. –  Kevin Vermeer Sep 26 '11 at 16:56

I said how I thought it should work in that chat thread, a few lines later:

... it seems like having them separate from normal close votes is strange. The close tab in tools should show posts with no votes but some close flags

A user flagging to close shouldn't get mods involved, it should get 3k/10k users involved. 10k users being able to see canned flag messages helps, but it's still a totally separate page from close votes, and it still harasses mods unnecessarily -- the close vote tab should show close flags instead:

Mockup showing flag counts on the close tab

The one post only has a single close vote, but 5 other people have flagged it for closing. The one after that has no close votes, but still appears on the list, because 3 people flagged it.

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