So about a year ago, we started discussing this internally. This isn't something that's a high priority for us to implement, but it's worth keeping in mind in case other development work makes such a thing easier. In the interest of furthering public discussion, I'm posting the notes we took. Again, I don't see this happening in the near future, but feel free to comment on this or edit in improvements if you come up with something clever.
Scenarios for deferring a flag (or creating a flag for future consideration):
Comment wars (acrimonious or numerous comments posted in thread):
- wipe comments
- warn participants
- check on it tomorrow to make sure they listened
Worrisome comment thread / deteriorating comment conversation:
- Warn or do nothing
- Check back to gauge degradation later on
Spammy first post:
- Not terrible, can be ignored by itself
- Check back after more posts to verify that this isn’t becoming a pattern of spam.
Borderline offensive comment:
- Do nothing unless thread blows up into an argument
Borderline question (question is missing key information):
- Close, if edited re-open.
Borderline question actively being worked on by author and/or others:
- Leave open, close if not corrected in 1-2 days
Only a bad question if it attracts bad answers:
- [Optional] leave post notice or comment
- Check back after answers posted, close if they’re crap
Mainsite question being discussed on meta:
- Do nothing
- Wait for conclusion of meta discussion
- Gauge community opinion, make sure it is reflected by outcome of question
User with suspicion of vote fraud no clear evidence at time want to check back later:
- check voting stats in X days
Plagiarism in answer, good answer needs quote/attribution:
- Spam-flagged answer, good answer but needs disclosure:
Rant-filled / condescending answer with good information:
- maybe delete
- if not deleted, return to see fixed
Wholly good / bad question with pending close / reopen votes:
- explain in comments why question CANNOT be closed/reopened
- return when closed/opened to nail it open/closed
I’m starting to think this should be called ‘defer’ rather than ‘postpone’ or ‘snooze’. It’s more indicative of waiting for more information rather than just “postponing” a bit of work.
The ‘attach note’ interface should use the same minimum-length requirements of our comment interface.
Allow mods to defer action on a post, with a scheduled time and action item note
The “action item” note is not made visible to the original flagger - only moderators can see it.
When flags are resurfaced, the deferral time and reasoning will be clearly indicated next to them, e.g. “Flags deferred on 10/23/2013 - I’m taking a wait-and-see approach - by Shog9”
The existence of deferred flags is visible to moderators handling new flags raised during the deferral period
Deferred flags should have no default action (deferred spam/offensive flags do not delete the post)
Flaggers should not be able to re-raise deferred flags
Status of deferred flags will be either explicit (“deferred”) or helpful - with a dismissal comment indicating the time after which a moderator will revisit the issue.
Deferred flags will eventually have their status updated to “helpful” or “declined” based on the actions of the moderator after the deferral period has ended.
Clicking defer would bring up a form that let you enter a delay and a description:
The time-period will be limited to 7 days at most (1 day at min); at least 15 characters must be entered in the description.
When the time period elapses, a new flag will be raised on the post, with the creation user set as the moderator who deferred it and the description set to the note that was entered.