Of late I've noticed that multiple flags are waiting for me when I join the PHP chat room on SO. A bulk of these are flags of non English messages so I have no context on why it was flagged.

What would be good is an option to allow people to add a comment/message when flagging messages so that we have more context. It's very difficult to judge a flag by just looking at the single message. I usually have to click through and find out what the surrounding context is for flag. This isn't possible when you click through to a foreign language chat. This option would help not only with the foreign language problem, but also with the context less flag problem.

I realize that this itself can be taken advantage of (in the foreign language case) by adding a note that is essentially false. But someone's sure to pick up on it and eventually report it.

TLDR - I'm starting to see a lot of flags on non English messages(even though they aren't explicitly forbidden), I can ignore them forever or I can act on them if users are allowed to add a note as to why they are flagging them. Needs more context.

Sample A sample

This just popped up when I was talking in the room about the issue. I've seen the flag count go as high as 8 or 9 flags.

  • 1
    +1 here. It happens more often than not that people join the chat just to ask why something was flagged. It's a lot of detective work that would maybe be avoided by allowing people to start their reasons like they can on main. – edorian Jan 3 '12 at 10:33
  • I'd also like to see some other alternatives – JohnP Jan 3 '12 at 10:33
  • There is already an option to add a message, if flagged for moderator attention... However, I don't disagree that this would be useful - but I think edorian's pre-canned reasons is a better option – Marc Gravell Jan 3 '12 at 10:39
  • What do you mean with, "a lot of flags on non English flags"? – kiamlaluno Jan 3 '12 at 10:43
  • Yeah the note option doesn't exist for spam/offensive flags. Even the canned messages will work as long as we know why this message is supposed to be flagged. – JohnP Jan 3 '12 at 10:43
  • @MarcGravell I'm not aware of any option to add a message when flagging something in chat. Did I really miss that? I can only see one flag button that triggers a confirm() and thats it. – edorian Jan 3 '12 at 10:43
  • @kiamlaluno I meant messages, fixed that. – JohnP Jan 3 '12 at 10:44
  • @edorian it's only when you select the mod flag option. These don't show up for the 10Ks though. – JohnP Jan 3 '12 at 10:45
  • Oh. My bad. Thanks. The interface got the better of me there – edorian Jan 3 '12 at 10:47

I agree that more information about the flag would be very helpful when evaluating flags. A dialog similar to the main site flag dialog with pre-canned flag reasons and a free-form field would would make sense, in my opinion.

But on the topic of non-english flags which prompted you to propose this, I don't think that you should try to evaluate them if you don't speak that language. It doesn't make much sense to try and moderate if you can't understand what the whole thing is about.

With the notices you'll still not understand the post, you would be solely acting on the interpretation of that post by one random user. I don't think that's a good enough base to act on.

We have a pretty good coverage of common languages among the moderators, it usually doesn't take long to find a moderator that can understand the flagged post and that is able to act.

  • Yes, one of the concerns I had was that I'd be acting on the note itself without knowing what it was about. – JohnP Jan 3 '12 at 11:33

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