In several cases, it's become apparent that a diamond mod has rushed to take action on a particular question, answer, or comment thread, because they were afraid of "losing track" of it if they didn't take action before moving on, and then the problem wouldn't be dealt with at all.

Therefore, I propose a time delay flag, "Flag for followup after n hours" (where n should be provided in options of 2, 6, 12, 24, 48, 72) so that a moderator can give the community some instruction on how to clean up / improve, then leave sufficient time before taking action. Until they come due, these flags won't appear on the moderators' flag queue at all.

This would give the moderators a way of eliminating time pressure on a particular cleanup action, give the subject matter experts in the community a chance to make edits better than a mod would, or provide input on a mod decision before it's finalized, without worrying about things spilling through the cracks.

I'm not sure whether it would be useful for the flag to come back to the same mod only, or appear in the general queue, or have an option at flag creation time. I'm of the opinion that the flag should go out to all moderators when it comes due, to increase the chance of a second opinion.

EDIT: Some examples of where follow-up would be needed:

  • Comments being used for on-topic discussion: Yes, those should be folded into the answer, but most diamond mods are not subject matter experts on every question they encounter. Better to give several hours for the experts to deal with it.

  • Plagiarism: It's better to give the offender practice in proper attribution, than just to do it for them

  • On-topic advertisement answers: Sometimes "this commercial product will do what you're asking for" is a great answer. But disclosure of the relationship between seller and answerer is always needed, whether that's "I sell the product", "My employer sells the product", "I've bought and used this product" or "I have no relationship with this product; I found it with a Google search". Generally only the answerer can provide that information. The mod needs to give an opportunity to add it, and some time later check back and delete the answer as spam if disclosure still isn't present.

In all these cases, final action needs to be delayed by hours relative to when the problem is identified and a comment left advising the users involved on what fixes are needed.


This question is asking for a 'flag this post in X time with Y message', which will allow moderators to follow up on a situation after there has been time for the situation to have been resolved 'amicably' by the participants. A 'follow up required' flag.

See also - numerous

Flag Delay

Can we have a feature to delay a flag for a short period of time?

This is arguably a duplicate of that one, but my feature request is not to "put off a flag until later". It's recognition that some flags require two responses, separated in time. First, a comment to the users involved. Second, a moderator action (if the users don't themselves have enough power to resolve it completely).

Note this SE Dev answer mapping out a proposed workflow for delaying flags

Skeptics - Auto-add to review queue after a delay

Add a review queue for posts with a “citation needed” notice

A different question, but with reasons that align with this question... it is a subset of the problem with a different proposed solution.

Bad Answer Handling

Improving the System to Deal with Bad Answers

This related question is an elaborate 'workflow' for tracking, and managing flags that require time to follow up on. This is also a subset of the problem expressed here - a delayed flag notification on a post.

Note, this answer that has established a possible 'usefulness test' on The Workplace

Chat discussions about this problem

  • You should make specific references in the first paragraph if you have them about a mod rushing through processing a flag (as that's pretty serious, and the statement on it's own isn't self-evident). Also note, if you are going to use the Q&A that this was borne from, note that the time window mentioned in my answer was not how much time that was taken in making the ultimate decision to perform the action, but how much time that was given for the community to react to the decision. Those two time frames are very different things (the former was never discussed, only the latter).
    – casperOne
    Jan 14, 2012 at 20:22
  • @casperOne: While your action was the most serious, it's not the first time I've encountered a moderator who took hasty action. But I'll reword, it's not necessarily the decision that was made prematurely, but the action. This question specifically isn't limited to what you did, or even dealing with the "20 comments in 3 days" threshold.
    – Ben Voigt
    Jan 14, 2012 at 20:28
  • 2
    @BenVoigt: I still have to say I don't agree with the changes, they are cosmetic, minor and they still make accusations that moderators don't take the proper time to process every flag, but rather, that they blow through them. This is a statement that practically demands attribution. Your feature request is to allow moderators to put off a flag until later, I'd have the feature request focus on those attributes and the benefits (e.g. allowing things to unfold because it's a rapidly changing event, etc).
    – casperOne
    Jan 14, 2012 at 20:33
  • Thanks Gilles, I'm taking this over there. I looked for an existing suggestion but couldn't find one, used the wrong search phrase I guess.
    – Ben Voigt
    Jan 14, 2012 at 20:34
  • 3
    @casperOne: No, my feature request is not to "put off a flag until later". It's recognition that some flags require two responses, separated in time. First, a comment to the users involved. Second, a moderator action (if the users don't themselves have enough power to resolve it completely).
    – Ben Voigt
    Jan 14, 2012 at 22:08
  • 1
    +1. Many times I have skipped a flag because I didn't know what to do about it, only to accidentally clear it out later. Not that I indiscriminately clear out flags.
    – user1228
    Jan 16, 2012 at 18:44
  • I disagree with you about the recent related incident, but I think this might not be a bad idea. +1 Jan 16, 2012 at 19:26
  • @Andrew: There's another question on meta for discussing that incident; this isn't it.
    – Ben Voigt
    Jan 16, 2012 at 20:15
  • @Ben My point was simply I think it could have broad uses, now and again. Jan 16, 2012 at 20:17
  • @AndrewBarber: What's I'm saying is, I'd love to hear your thoughts on that incident... just not in this comment thread. Sorry for not making that clear.
    – Ben Voigt
    Jan 16, 2012 at 20:19
  • @Ben Ahh, gotcha! I might do so. Jan 16, 2012 at 20:20
  • Yeah. At least one small beta site is pinning time-annotated links in chat to remember to come back to posts requiring followup. It works, but it's "outside the system" and doesn't scale, so being able to just click on the post/comment to mark it for later review/action would be helpful. Jun 12, 2013 at 14:58


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