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Having just watched a sequence on StackOverflow, I was wondering if there was merit in creating an automatic suspension (ie. temporary closing) for a question if it is flagged a number of times in a short space of time (eg. 5 in 5 minutes). Once a moderator has reviewed it and determined outcome, it would then be resolved.

Perhaps this has already been discussed, if so please point me in the direction of the discussion, I'm just trying to learn more about the site and how it works.

  • If a post really needs fast action, there will be enough high rep users to close/edit and delete it. Besides, a aut suspension can be easily misused. – Toon Krijthe Mar 21 '13 at 17:09
  • With the right flags, a question is deleted if flagged enough. It takes 6 offensive or spam flags for this to happen. – Martijn Pieters Mar 21 '13 at 17:21
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This won't work. You see, flags aren't necessarily negative. A flag can be about locking a thread because of comments (on a perfectly good question), could be about calling mod attention to something else unflaggable this user has done (such as vote fraud), or might be less important flags such as duplicate or not a real question that are flagged by lower rep users.

This could also be easily misused (anyone over 15 rep can flag -- theres a reason we give close at 3000).

Finally, the diamond mods have enough to deal with. Anything that a 10k can deal with, should be dealt with by a 10k.

  • Very happy for a 10k to resolve the issue; but I take the point about the flag having positive as well as negative purposes. I would hazard that if a question gets 5 flags in 5 minutes it's probably negative! Out of interest, and just trying to understand how things work here, why has the question attracted so many downvotes? – Neil Townsend Mar 21 '13 at 17:16
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    @NeilTownsend: About the downvotes, see here. – Linuxios Mar 21 '13 at 17:18
  • @NeilTownsend: And the positive/negative: Not so much positive, as not negative about the particular post. It's common practice to flag a users post for mod attention to bring attention to something else a user has done that can't be flagged, like, say, vote fraud. – Linuxios Mar 21 '13 at 17:19
  • Thanks for the responses, think I've got how up/down voting works here now; but if you were flagging a user for vote fraud it you exactly be worried if the question were suspended! However, I see the abuse argument, I was just wondering. – Neil Townsend Mar 21 '13 at 17:22
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I don't think this is necessary. Most of the moderation is not really all that time-sensitive, and a lot can be done by regular users and doesn't need any moderator intervention.

Due to the 10k+ flag queue, posts can also accumulate a lot of flags even if they are relatively harmless. I think acting on pure flag number would have far more disadvantages, and I don't see which problems exactly it would solve.

High-reputation users can already do nearly everything to a post a moderator can do, they can edit it, close it and delete it. The problems that require moderator intervention and can't be dealt with by the community are usually user-level misbehaviour and problematic behaviour over sevaral posts. Doing anything to the posts would be futile there, and suspending the user merely on the base of a flag count would be far too dangerous.

In my experience the current system works well for time-critical events.

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