Occasionally as a moderator I've noticed flags from the Community user. I've got a few questions:

  • Why do they exist?
  • What events trigger them?
  • How might moderators act on them?

When you look at the Community user's flag history you are seeing all the flags from deleted users which are assigned to Community. But there are also 10 flag types that are generated by the system in order to bring to moderator attention situations that might be missed by a site's users. These flags don't always indicate a problem (otherwise the system would take action directly). Their purpose is to serve as a canary in the coal mine.

The complete list of automated flags and their descriptions is:

Each flag's description gives an idea about what caused the flag to be raised. Of note, the "question closed without explanatory comment" is not raised on graduated sites.

I've linked a meta-question that asks for guidance on how to respond to each flag. In general, treat automated flags as you would any other. Feel free to decline Community flags if they aren't helpful.

  • 2
    Moderators can't retrieve comments that are self-deleted by a regular user. Going by the logic that comments have no reason not to be deleted, why does that constitute vandalism and warrant a flag? Otherwise, what else are we expected to do about that flag? – BoltClock's a Unicorn Oct 26 '13 at 7:22
  • @BoltClock's a Unicorn: Good question. It turns out there are a grand total of 30 such flags which were all raised from January to May of this year (mostly in February). Since the other automatic flag types are much more common and spread out, my guess is that this was an experimental feature. But that's only a guess. – Jon Ericson Oct 27 '13 at 5:29
  • Is there any point to dismissing these flags as helpful or not? Like does saying "found no evidence to support it" go back into the system to help tweak the algorithm? – Double AA Dec 1 '13 at 14:59
  • @DoubleAA: We don't make use of that information at this time. Presumably (though I haven't checked) most moderators pick helpful in most cases since it's the quickest way to dismiss the flag. So the feedback is not likely to be as clean as one might hope. – Jon Ericson Dec 2 '13 at 4:49
  • 3
    I have seen the Community flag “More than 20 edits by the original author”, which is not in this list so does not have a helpful link to guidance. Can you add one? – Kevin Reid Oct 16 '17 at 20:59
  • @JonEricson Isn't such information made use of now? If a low quality (auto) flag is marked helpful, Community applies an automatic downvote. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Feb 20 '18 at 18:57
  • There's also the "too many rude comments" auto-flag. – Monica Cellio Aug 15 '19 at 20:30

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