Moderation on the main site is pretty silent and unobtrusive. If you were not involved in a situation, you probably won't notice that anything is happening unless you visit the involved posts by chance. Certain kinds of misbehaviour are far noisier, but most situations can be handled without drawing too much attention.

Chat moderation is the complete opposite of that. A spam/offensive flag notifies every single 10k+ and chat moderator that is online at that moment. There are around 25-50 moderators logged into chat at all times, and the number of 10k chat users is likely even higher.

The result is that if flags are starting to be cast, you get a whole lot more users involved than you actually need to deal with the issue. A chat flag is a big huge blinking sign saying "Hey, here is some drama happening in chat. Get the popcorn and lets watch the trainwreck". While watching such drama can be occasionally entertaining, as long as you're not actually trying to do something about it, this does not really help deescalate the situation.

Too many users getting involved often just makes it worse, and it also leads to endless discussions on what exactly went wrong this time, who's fault it is, why the mods are abusing their powers and why the chat flag system sucks.

Chat moderation is harder than moderating on a main site in my experience, one of the main reasons is the realtime nature of chat. But the flag system and all the attention it draws to every minor issue is not really helping.

How could the chat moderation system be changed to address this issue? The current system was designed for very fast response times, which can be necessary in a realtime medium. How could we still keep the fast response times but avoid broadcasting the drama across the entire SE chat?

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    Not familiar with the chat personally, but why not have flag queue same way like on the main site? Once a single mod/10K user dealt with the flag, it's gone from the queue. Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 10:51
  • I suspect allowing a single 10K user to dismiss the flag would just allow chat trolls with 10K+ friends to troll away with impunity...
    – Wooble
    Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 11:09
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    @ShaWizDowArd Chat flags can be dismissed by a single mod or multiple users, but by that time the flag has often attracted multiple users to that chat room already. Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 11:13
  • I have done my part - removed myself as a chat room 'owner'.
    – user234239
    Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 11:37
  • @UV-D If only it was that easy. Room ownership isn't really relevant, since you have over 10K+ net wide rep you will be notified for chat flags (occasionally).
    – yannis
    Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 11:42
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    @Yannis dang! Well, I'll just avoid chat as well. Easily done.
    – user234239
    Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 11:49
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    Related: Let me opt out of viewing chat flags
    – yannis
    Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 11:50
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    I'm of the opinion the flag system is kind of broken for this reason - when it dosen't attract a peanut gallery, it ends up just annoying folk. In addition, different chats have different levels of acceptance of things. A certain room used to flag everything to the point where folk would reject them on principle. Others hardly need to flag anything. Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 11:50

1 Answer 1


I think a few things might help here - one of which might be to alert 10K members of the site associated with the chatroom only, rather than everyone. I might have over 20K rep in SU, but that does not make me intimately aware of the culture in say travel or cooking or ELU. This also would help stop the influx of curious meta-moderators.

I feel alerting all 10Kers is a little broken, as per my comment earlier - the site cultures can be massively variable, and all it does is attract a peanut gallery

Another idea would be to give channel owners slightly more powers - as a root access channel owner (by tenure mainly), all I really have is the ability to.. change the feeds and a few other small things. While I've never wanted to kick anyone (and only seem to want to flag people when on the bridge - which I've never succumbed to) , having channel owners have that sort of powers (limited of course - but something like being able to accept flags on their own) might make up for the lower number of 10kish users to handle flags. Have them as something like a irc halfop to the mods, who're effectively the holders of the cinnabons of power. Abuse of course, would mean the loss of their channel ownership

In short. What happens in Vegas needs to stay in Vegas

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    +1 for "give channel owners slightly more powers". It can be very frustrating at times when we don't have enough people around kick a troll via coordinated flagging.
    – Mysticial
    Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 15:47
  • the javascript room uses gallery-mode / auto-grant as a poor-man's kick. If someone becomes too obnoxious (but not enough to grant a flag) we go into gallery mode and tell our bot to revoke their write access for a while. Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 16:00

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