Moderators can annotate users (on the main sites), those annotations are only visible to other moderators and the SE team. This is very useful for a moderator that does not know the history of the user. Previous behaviour plays an important role in moderator decisions, and it can decide whether the moderator just warns the user to stop that behaviour, or suspends a user that has been warned previously and should know better.

On chat, nothing like this exists. Moderators can see a list of previous flags (which is rather hard to interpret and doesn't even tell us if the flag was validated or not), but even previous suspensions are not visible to moderators.

As chat flags are global, it is very likely that a moderator unfamiliar with a specific user will act on flags. In such cases, having annotations available would be very useful to quickly get up to speed on any history the user has. As it is now, many moderator decisions are based only on the flagged post, and maybe a few posts before that, but ignore the history of the user as the acting moderator often just doesn't know it.

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    I think this is an interesting idea, but honestly there is so much that needs to be fixed on the chat before I think this should take priority. Jul 14, 2013 at 10:51
  • @mad scientist I must have an encyclopedia of annotations, .. "moody, cantankerous, reactionary, over-sensitive, regularly complains and whinges, goes off half-cocked flagging everything in site, occasionally stable and nice hahahahaha
    – user310756
    Jul 14, 2013 at 11:16
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    Even just having a record of previous chat suspensions would make a big difference. Knowing whether we're dealing with a cross-site troll who's been kicked out a dozen times before, or a first-time offender who might not get it and just needs a short time-out, would be really helpful. Jul 14, 2013 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


The "moderation tools" section of user profiles now has a button titled "annotate user" that allows you to attach a free text annotation to the user.

If a user has ever been suspended or annotated, the user profile will prominently show the number of issues, similar to how it works on the Q&A sites:

          screen shot of the relevant user profile section

Inside the live chat room, the user info popup contains this information as well:

              screen shot of the top part of the user info popup

Clicking either of these takes you to a page that lists all this user's annotations and suspensions.

All of these things are obviously only visible/available to moderators.

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    Thanks for implementing this, this should help a lot with keeping track of long-term misbehaviour. I just looked at one user, and it would be nice if the suspension duration was mentioned for manual moderator suspensions. This would make it easier to escalate suspension durations like we do on the main sites. Jul 16, 2014 at 13:40
  • @MadScientist We don't currently event record that. We could start doing that if you think it's useful, but that would only be for future data.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jul 16, 2014 at 13:57
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    And there was much rejoicing. Thank you! (I second Mad Scientist that it would be useful to know the durations of manual suspensions if you could start recording that.) Jul 16, 2014 at 14:32
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    Why is it showing 5 on my profile when I've only been suspended once? Looks like it is counting each flag that caused that suspension. Is this intended?
    – ɥʇǝS
    Jul 16, 2014 at 15:42
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    @ɥʇǝS No, that's not quite right. The list looks okay per se, but it looks like that flagging caused multiple suspension events to be created. I'll look tomorrow.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jul 16, 2014 at 17:40
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    Another issue I noticed is that unsuspensions are listed as suspensions ("user has been temporarily suspended by a moderator "). This can be rather confusing. Jul 17, 2014 at 12:30
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    @MadScientist Yes, I'm working on that right now. We haven't recorded this correctly so far, so I'm trying to infer "was this a suspension or an unsuspension?" pretty much by automatically playing a zebra puzzle. Except for very few exceptions, this will look correctly soon (possibly today; tomorrow at the latest).
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jul 17, 2014 at 13:10
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    @MadScientist The suspension/unsuspension thing is now done and deployed.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jul 17, 2014 at 14:09
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    @ɥʇǝS I've fixed the bug that caused the multiple suspension events and removed the dupes. And with the other change (see my comments at Mad Scientist), the other event on your list is now correctly shown as an unsuspension, and your number is 1 as expected.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jul 17, 2014 at 14:11
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    @MadScientist For future suspensions the duration will now be recorded and displayed in the annotation list.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Jul 24, 2014 at 12:39

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