I have seen this question before, but I feel that question deals more with handling of flags rather than flagging policy itself, hence I am posting this new question.

I generally hang out in the mathematics chatroom (room 36), and recently, we have been seeing quite a bit of ridiculous flags. People in the room can understand the flags by people in the room. But then someone from outside the room flags something pedestrian, and the whole chatroom is wondering what exactly was offensive in the message.

Generally, if someone flags from within the room, the people who flagged might talk why they flagged, and the other users at least know what was offensive to them. In contrast, there is no way for people to know, when someone flags from outside the chat. The flagged message itself is not shown to be flagged unless a moderator points it out, but I think that has been addressed in the other question I referenced.

So, my question is, are there any benefits of allowing the option for people to flag comments from outside the chat? Its not like in real life, when you can be bullied if you enter a room to flag stuff. You can create a fake account just for the sake of flagging if you are paranoid.

Apart from that, one point I can think of is, people want the chatrooms to be somewhat "clean" (no swearing)? Is that an objective of moderators? Is that an objective of people who flag from outside the chat room? I don't have any views on that, but I would like to know what the community thinks.

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    I'm not so sure I understand what you mean by "someone from outside the room flags", are you talking about someone flagging messages from the transcript instead of joining the room? Also examples of what you feel were "ridiculous flags" would help, what's ridiculous for you won't necessarily be ridiculous for everyone else.
    – yannis
    Jan 31, 2013 at 13:28

1 Answer 1


You actually don't know if someone was flagging from the transcript, it might have been someone in the room who doesn't want to make public that they were the one that flagged. It is very unlikely that someone constantly scans the transcript for flaggable material without entering the room.

Flagging is an anonymous (to other users, not necessarily to mods) action, and with good reason. Allowing chat flags from the transcript fits with the model of anonymous flags, even though I suspect that it is rarely used in practice.

There are some good arguments for disallowing historical flagging, it is usually pointless to flag old messages from the transcript that pretty much nobody reads anymore (unless the message is truly offensive, but then it should have been caught much earlier).

There are other problems with the current flag system in chat, but I don't see flagging from the transcript as one of them.

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