Basically, after reading through (again) the Theory of Moderation post, it got me thinking.
A lot of flags that reach moderators (as well as 10k users, but not enough users actually do something about it).
Let's have some data:
Do all these flags belong?
Now, a good (great) deal of those can be (or should be) handled by the community.
Moderators are Human Exception Handlers™, they don't need to deal with things the community deals with daily.
So here's my proposal:
- Close question flags coming from users <3k should go to the review queue instead of the flag queue. Perhaps those should get a slight boost so that they appear sooner. (If the question gets closed, it's approved. If too many "leave open" votes are given to it, it's declined).
- Low quality flags obviously go to the low quality queue. There's a little a moderator can do that a normal user can't do in this state anyway (Either edit and improve, or downvote and delete).
- Not an answer flags. I propose a new ability for high privilege users (20k or more), to allow them to convert an answer into a comment, much like the current mod's ability. It'll take 3(?) votes, and the post will be converted to a comment on the post most voted (if no agreement is made, either take the comment to the question, or possibly have 5 voters?).
The rest of the flags (i.e.: Too many comments, duplicate answers, disputes and vandalism), as well as free text flags should remain on the moderator's queue, because they are truly exceptional.
An exception to the above though, if the same post is flagged multiple times with any of the above flags, it should reach the mod's queue, as it seems more "urgent" intervention is needed.
Another issue is the case of duplicate content. (As in, the same user/group post the same question several times). It should be differentiated from questions "which may have an answer on this other question". A moderator isn't an expert in every single field in their site (take Stack Overflow for example), he cannot accurately determine whether the answer given in the flag is correct or not.
Mods shouldn't be required to deal with noise. Moderators are there to save us when the community has maxed out its potential intervention in a post. Why waste their time with flags that could very easily be handled by normal users?