Occasionally, I will see a post that has PG (or even PG-13) rated content. The offensive flag can be applied to these posts. Should I wait for the community to declare it offensive and have the post removed, should I edit the post to remove the offensive content, or should I do both?
The reason that it requires 5 offensive votes to remove an offensive post is so that a consensus of 5 is needed.
If you just remove content that you deem offensive, then you are making a judgment by yourself, on your own. I think there is something fundamentally wrong about this in a community-driven site like this.
I say you should use the 'flag this as offensive' option, as it's the fairest way.
If something is truly offensive, it won't be long before it's flagged sufficiently negatively around here.
The FAQ doesn't say the site is PG or PG-13. I would leave it until the community had voted, but I think the community is split on what is "offensive".
The FAQ says spam, hate speech, links to obscene images and abuse, but I've seen posts marked as offensive because they contained a "bad word" (which I disagree with).
Edit: SO is somewhat unbalanced in this regard - you can flag something as offensive but you can't see something that's flagged by someone else and say "actually, I don't think that is offensive". The best you can do is leave a comment.
I agree with Elie that if it's a valid question, just remove the offensive content. However, I would probably also take a more proactive approach to ensuring that offensive content is kept to a minimum or eliminated in the future. Obviously you don't want to have to go back and edit posts everytime someone posts something offensive, so why not place a filter on the post submit that obfuscates offensive language. Furthermore, it would be a good idea to make it clear on your site that offensive language will not be tolerated.
The problem you run into when editing posts is that you start blurring the trust line with your users. If users feel that after they make a post, there's a potential that it may be edited, you might find yourself in a situation where either users won't trust the site enough to post and others might lose faith in the content. This is why it's so very important to make it clear to your users what is and isn't kosher.
Assuming that the bit you're talking about is "offensive", then whether to edit the post (or only flag/delete it) depends on whether the post includes other useful/beneficial/on-topic content (that would remain sensible and worthwhile if the offensive bit were removed):
- If "no" or "not really", then just delete the whole post
- If "yes", then edit the post to remove the offensive bit and preserve the good bit