I'm not a moderator. I have ~50k rep on Server Fault. I am a regular in chat.

Because chat allows all 10k+ users across the network to act on chat flags, I (and many other regulars in SF chat) see some problematic users from other chats flagging things that aren't actually offensive.

I disagree with the current chat moderation model where anyone from any community with enough rep can vote on small snippets of text that provide no context. I think that's a bad system. It's been brought up time and again that there must be a better way to handle it, but nothing has happened to date.

If the global chat moderation system won't be re-thought, I would like to be given a way to opt out of seeing chat flags that originate from outside rooms that I'm currently in.

I was never elected as a mod, I never asked to be able to see them, and they get on my nerves.

TL;DR - I don't want to see chat flags from rooms that I'm not in. Let me opt out of seeing them.​​​​​​​​​

  • 5
    Obligatory snarky comment: opting out doesn't make them go away. Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 21:06
  • 8
    @CodyGray I agree. I actually have a fundamental disagreement with the global moderation paradigm that's currently in place, but that's already been brought up and ignored in other questions. That said, there are typically more than enough diamond moderators in chats across the network to handle these things anyway. I shouldn't be nagged by flags from chats that I've never been to by people that I've never conversed with. It's unfair for me to judge their context and intent when I know nothing about them or their dynamic. I'd rather just not see them at all.
    – MDMarra
    Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 21:12
  • 4
    Can't you just not click the blue circle when it pops up? Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 21:31
  • 35
    – MDMarra
    Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 21:32
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    @MichaelMrozek Psychological problem: You want to make the alert go away (c'mon, you know you wanna click it. It's obstructing your gravatar - rude little circle!) -- Also the trainwreck effect: You know it's gonna be a bogus flag, but you can't look away - you have to see what it is this time...
    – voretaq7
    Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 22:00
  • 2
    @MichaelMrozek then I have an annoying notification on top of my avatar in a color and location that captures by attention by design. I think that it's important for it to keep its eye-catching styling for people that care, but for people like me, I'd rather not see it at all unless it's from a community that I'm currently active in.
    – MDMarra
    Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 22:41
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    @MDMarra You act like it's there all day -- it's there for like 7 seconds until a mod has handled it Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 22:47
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    Are these flags being abused (flagging perfectly fine content) or are the flags being used correctly enough but you're sick of seeing them?
    – sarnold
    Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 22:48
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    Abused by all accounts. The problem is that the anonymity behind the flagging system and the lack of repercussions for bad flags makes it a problem that won't go away. Suggestions to fix this have fallen on deaf ears in the past, so now I just want to be able to ignore them. If the system won't be fixed, I want to be able to opt out of it.
    – MDMarra
    Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 22:53
  • The real answer is for users to stop posting offensive stuff. Commented Jan 30, 2013 at 23:48
  • @LanceRoberts, what would you define as "offensive?" One room's offensive may be acceptable in another.
    – tombull89
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 12:19
  • @tombull89, offensive is pretty well-defined, especially in an IT world. What do corporate filters filter on? What might stop someone from being able to visit the site from work? That was the logic Jeff originally used to say that on SO we munge everything. Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 14:14
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    @LanceRoberts Please read closer. The flags are not about offensive content, they're superfluous almost all of the time from certain specific rooms/users. Also, do you really think that "The real answer is for users to stop posting offensive stuff." is a reasonable suggestion for this issue? What ideas do you have to make this happen that would negate the need for the flag system as a whole? I'm all ears
    – MDMarra
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 14:20
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    @LanceRoberts You're missing the entire point. Flags are being abused. If the majority of the flags that I see in chat were legitimate, I wouldn't have a problem. Unfortunately, the majority of them are noise. Seriously, please take a couple of minutes to re-read the entire topic and comment thread before you get into an argument about the wrong thing here. Also, what you propose is exactly how the chat-flag system has worked since day 1 and the problem that I'm describing still exists, so I'm not sure how your comments are constructive in any way.
    – MDMarra
    Commented Jan 31, 2013 at 14:47
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    @MDMarra, I was only trying to make a point to LanceRoberts about bad flags. MDMarra, I apologize for confusing you. Commented Mar 25, 2013 at 20:05

4 Answers 4


An opt-out for rooms you aren't in / have never been in seems reasonable to me.

As a 10K user who was a regular in chat long before I became a moderator I can attest to how annoying out-of-band flags can be. The frequency of flagging in certain rooms has also increased, and at least in The Comms Room there's a generally negative attitude toward dealing with the "flag noise" that I don't think is constructive for community moderation.

I know this goes against the "offensive stuff on chat needs to be handled quickly" argument, but allowing 10k users to opt out of flag handling for chats they're not in should at least avoid frustrating regular users who are burned out on flag noise, and avoids the possibility of people dealing with flags out of frustration rather than on their merits.

  • 3
    Let's hope that the PTB agree, good sir.
    – MDMarra
    Commented Mar 11, 2012 at 1:01

The chat flagging system should be improved. It would be nice to see MDMarra's suggestion here adopted.

It would also be nice if the flags, for those who do try to deal with them, easily enabled you to see a comment in context before dealing with it. Sometimes it's obvious why something was flagged. Sometimes it's less obvious. And that's without even getting into the thorny issue of the 'culture' of different chat rooms.

If the flags are important enough to have at all, then surely they're important enough to be improved to make them more useful and more relevant. The suggestion of just ignoring flags that was made in comments to the original question seems like its ignoring the chance to make flags more useful, by making sure that the people who see them have at least some interest in the room in which the flag was raised, and therefore possibly more interest in dealing with those flags.


Here's the problem: I am mostly in The Bridge, the gaming chat. I see chat flags from the Russian, Chinese, Spanish, French, Ukrainian, Latin, Korean, Italian, Esperanto, Japanese and Portuguese stacks. I don't speak any of these languages and don't want to learn them either, yet I am still asked to review chat flags from these stacks.

I don't know what they are saying. It could be a dumb joke, it could be insults thrown at each other, or they could be conspiring to end democracy. I just don't know. I am just not qualified to review these messages, and I'm fairly sure that the vast majority of the other chat users are in the same situation, simply because they don't know what is being said.

I don't want to press valid or invalid, because of the chance of false positives. and if enough people press "Not Sure", the flag gets invalidated as well, so I don't really see how that's an option either.

At the very least make it so that chat flags for any of the language related stacks are restricted to those stack. Those are the only people who can be considered qualified to properly moderate such flags.


A simple workaround for this is to hide the flag-count element, e.g. with the following CSS:

#flag-count {
    display: none !important

This should work with any custom stylesheet browser extension (but be careful which one you install). This will hide all chat flags, including from rooms where you're currently in, but the blue 'flash' at the right end of a flagged message will still be shown.

  • For those that are using Ublock Origin or another content blocker with Adblock-Plus compatible filters: add chat.stackexchange.com###flag-count to your filter.
    – Nzall
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 15:04

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