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I have the moderator privileges on Code Review.

Even though it's quite rare that flags appear over there, it is still quite annoying that once I have done my job with a flag and therefore cannot do anything else with it, the flag in the top bar remains there. Why do I have to keep seeing that flag when in fact, I can't do anything about it?

Images, with free-hand circles:

A flag exists in the notification bar:

A flag exists in the notification bar

I have already done my part of the flag handling:

I have already done my part of the flag handling

And yet the flag remains in the notification bar.

closed as off-topic by Glorfindel, Robert Longson, Shadow The Princess Wizard, Ward, Sonic the Reinstate Monica-hog Sep 24 at 16:12

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "The problem described here can no longer be reproduced. Changes to the system or to the circumstances affecting the asker have rendered it obsolete. If you encounter a similar problem, please post a new question." – Glorfindel, Robert Longson, Shadow The Princess Wizard, Ward, Sonic the Reinstate Monica-hog
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    Same thing happens over on Code Golf; extremely annoying. +1 – Doorknob Dec 18 '13 at 13:59
  • Don't have access to mod tools, but this seems indeed far from intended, so +1. – Hitodama Dec 18 '13 at 15:13
  • 1
    Same thing is happening on The Workplace – jmac Dec 19 '13 at 3:44
  • 5
    We're discussing strategies on how to best solve this, but it isn't simple. Currently, that number is cached for all privileged users and is updated for everyone when the flags are handled. Simply querying the database on each page load really isn't tenable, e.g. yesterday, that would have resulted in an extra 350K queries. So, a complex, per-user caching strategy needs to be implemented, one that knows what you've done and is updated when flags are handled. Open to suggestions :) – Jarrod Dixon Dec 19 '13 at 4:23
  • @JarrodDixon how was this implemented before the new top bar was rolled out? We still had notifications for pending flags but these were gone as soon as I acted on them. Why is it harder now than it was before? – terdon - stop harming Monica Dec 30 '13 at 20:19
  • @terdon the numerical count caching implementation didn't change between the old header and new topbar. However, the old header count had some crazy random "maybe we'll show you flags this time, else we'll hide them from you for a day"; there was also (I think) hiding for a period of time if you had visited /tools/flagged or taken action on a post there. And finally, for sites other than SO, there was a very low minimum number of flags that had to exist before the count was even shown. – Jarrod Dixon Dec 31 '13 at 20:18
  • @terdon these simple "show/hide" choices were easily backed by a boolean cache value per user, one that auto-expired. It's much more involved to store the actionable flag count per user and keep that up-to-date. – Jarrod Dixon Dec 31 '13 at 20:20
  • @JarrodDixon I see, yes I remember weirdness there. I was sometimes notified in the bar and I sometimes had to go and check the mod tools. Well done for fixing that and I hope you'll solve this one as well. – terdon - stop harming Monica Dec 31 '13 at 20:54
  • @JarrodDixon: I don't know how your database etc. is structured, but the way I'd do it would be to store a global count of posts in the review queue (like currently) and a per-user count of reviewable posts already flagged. The counts can be updated whenever flags are created or dealt with by mods, and it presumably wouldn't be too expensive to occasionally recompute them from scratch either. Then, if posts_in_queue - posts_flagged_by_me > 0, show the alert. – Ilmari Karonen Jan 22 '14 at 15:10
  • 1
    @JarrodDixon Why don't you show what you have tried and ask a Stack Overflow question about it? – Simon Forsberg Jan 22 '14 at 17:33
4
+100

This problem seems to be an extension of the one I reported earlier in The flag counter in the 10k tools should reflect the posts I can actually see. This was reported earlier in Physics and has a duplicate here. I notice two changes since I posted the original thread:

  • The previously-handled threads do not immediately disappear but spend some time greyed out after being dealt with. When there are no flags to respond to, there is now a link saying show posts you've already flagged instead of an unnerving blank screen. Thank you dev team!

  • The flag counter has been upgraded to a permanent spot on the top bar, even when the counter no longer reflects the number of flags the user can respond to. This was brought in by popular demand but it only works when the counter does. This makes the problem much worse: the flag counter on the top bar is there to reflect actions that can - ideally should - be taken. It is not meant to be a permanent staple that says "hey, maybe there's new flags for you to help with".

I know this is a hard problem to solve. To quote Jarrod's comment,

Currently, that number is cached for all privileged users and is updated for everyone when the flags are handled. Simply querying the database on each page load really isn't tenable, e.g. yesterday, that would have resulted in an extra 350K queries. So, a complex, per-user caching strategy needs to be implemented, one that knows what you've done and is updated when flags are handled.

When I reported this back in September, Shog9 indicated the dev team was already working on this with a six to eight weeks timeline. I know the dev team is again busy with further pressing matters but this is a big usability issue: there's (currently) a huge glaring yellow enter image description here anywhere I go in Physics. It is distracting, and it does not achieve its purpose.

Please fix this! :)


Update:

One more reason why this needs to be fixed: say there are flags on the counter I can't see (nonactionable flags) because I've already dealt with that post, and then someone else puts an additional flag on that same post. Then the counter will go up, but I will be unable to see any new flags. (Or, at least, that's the behaviour I observe, and a reasonable explanation for it.) This means, though, that even monitoring the counter for increases need not indicate that there are actionable flags ready. Or, in other words, the counter is essentially useless on timescales shorter than the ~1 day it takes for flags to disappear.

  • 1
    I'm pretty sure additional flags on already flagged posts don't usually increase the count -- otherwise, due to the pile-on effect, you'd very rarely see the counter showing just 1 or 2 flags to review. If they do increase the count sometimes, that sounds like a bug to me. – Ilmari Karonen Jan 22 '14 at 15:14
  • I don't know if that is indeed the case. But I do observe the flag counter to increase without any new actionable flags showing up. I'll keep an eye out on whether the flag counts on the actioned flags increase, though. – E.P. Jan 22 '14 at 16:18
  • Because the 10K flag queue has been entirely removed now, at least this problem doesn't affect me anymore. And I don't think real moderators are affected by this, so I'm marking this as accepted answer. – Simon Forsberg Jun 17 '14 at 19:28

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