Chat flags carry an automatic 30 minute suspension if they are declared valid. This is perfectly valid for spam or insults directed at other posters, but flags are not only used in those clear cases.

There are a lot of other things some people find offensive that others don't mind, e.g. mild profanity that is not directed at any user. I personally don't consider a suspension necessary in such cases, just removing the profanity should be sufficient in such cases. There are a lot of cases that are just users with different expectations of what is allowed in chat, I think we should remove things that one can be reasonably offended about if there is a complaint, but we should not necessarily suspend people over that.

As a moderator I can work around these limitations and perform actions in between doing nothing and deletion + suspension, most users only have the two extremes as a choice.

Adding this option would also solve the problem that many users probably don't even know about the automatic suspension and don't take it into account when declaring a flag valid or invalid.

If a third option would be too confusing, I would at least add a notice with the consequences of a valid flag to the dialog, so that the users deciding on the flag know what effects their actions will have.

  • My understanding is that a single flag (or even a couple of flags) is not enough to invoke a suspension. You have to accumulate something like 5–7 flags, which clearly indicates an ongoing problem. A 30 minute suspension is nothing major anyway; just enough time for the user to figure out what they did wrong and stop doing it for the next time they want to chat. Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 6:52
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    @Cody Nope, a single valid chat flag causes a 30 minute suspension, I've seen that a few times now. Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 6:54
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    What's "a single valid flag" for you? You need at least six users saying the flag is valid (unless a moderator is involved) to trigger this. /cc @Cody
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 7:31
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    @balpha I've seen several cases now where users were suspended where I don't consider it appropriate, mostly on the Bridge (Gaming.SE chat room). I don't know who votes on those flags, but my impression is that there are quite some users who are pretty liberal in declaring flags valid. I am guessing that most of them don't even know about the suspension side-effect. Commented Aug 19, 2011 at 7:41
  • @MadScientist - yeah, that's made even worse by the fact that it is the only way a user can remove content. Before I was a mod, my thought was always to pass the flag even if it wasn't that bad, simply because it's better to get rid of something someone found offensive even if it isn't really the fault of the poster. The idea that they would get a suspension wasn't even known. Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 13:08

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I personally think this is horribly necessary. Allow me to provide an example:

If someone has never had a flag in their life and they are trying to do the right thing with 10k+ rep on multiple sites and they call someone a troll(as was the case in my particular case), then they wind up with a 30 minute chat ban for no apparent reason when flags map to hot-words.

I thought I should note this since it's something that highly irritated me. I was referred to this thread.

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