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I thought that the flagging privilege (15 rep) was always required to flag posts, but there's an exception: 1-rep users can flag their own post (my smelly sock just did the experiment). Only custom moderator flags are allowed, not close flags.

The only discussion I could find on the topic is 3 years old, and Jeff's answer then was

I don't think I can support this. There's too much risk allowing anonymous and low-rep users to flag their own content.

Yet it's possible now. Is this a bug or by design?

More generally, should new users be able to flag their own post or not, and why?

  • 1
    Is it custom flags only, or any type of flag? – Servy Apr 3 '14 at 20:02
  • @Servy Custom flags only, but that's the case whenever you flag your own post. Hmmm, or close flags on questions, and no, that option wasn't offered. – Gilles Apr 3 '14 at 20:05
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    Forgive me for not understanding, but what's the damage if a 1-rep user can flag their own post? Who cares? – smci Apr 3 '14 at 20:08
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    @smci - "plz answer thz it urgent" flags waste our time, and we see a number of those from 1-rep users flagging their own posts. – Brad Larson Apr 3 '14 at 20:11
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    Oh I see - defining that sort of custom flag to try to get attention - I thought this was just about flagging negative behavior. – smci Apr 3 '14 at 20:12
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On slow sites, I'd certainly agree that this is a useful feature. I sometimes comment when closing and explain what the user needs to fix to get the question reopened, and then I also mention that they should flag after they edited. On small sites the additional noise from possible abuse of this ability is minimal, and reopening questions is something that often needs a mod and that the community can't necessarily do on their own.

On a site like SO this ability could easily cause more harm than good. Reopening questions is better handled by the reopen queue there and moderators don't need to be involved. The noise from pointless flags by users that don't understand what flags are for could be a significant drawback on SO.

So I'd suggest to evaluate this on a per-site basis. I'd leave this ability enabled for most sites, but it might be rather useful to disable it for high-traffic sites like SO where it causes more problems than it solves.

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    We also see a lot of "plz answer this" flags from users in the 15-50 rep range, so they wouldn't be blocked by this anyway. Better filters or heuristics for the flags themselves might be a broader solution. For example: if your first two flags are "other" ones on your own posts and they were both rejected, you're banned from flagging for a month. I know SE is observing stats on the new flag warning system to see who's paying attention, so they might have better suggestions for more targeted filtering that scales to different sites. – Brad Larson Apr 3 '14 at 20:17
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    @BradLarson As I think I've said before, I'd simply add an option to strongly decline a flag. If a user is completely misunderstanding or misusing flags, a mod should have the option to effectively notifiy the user about the issue and to prevent them from flagging for a short time. – Mad Scientist Apr 3 '14 at 20:20
8

I was just pointed to this after panicking that the advice I've been dishing out for years on NAA answers just before deleting was bogus and users didn't actually have a flag link on their own posts. I'm relieved to find out they do and think this is a feature and it should stay.

Allowing this is the only recourse new users have after making their first posting but neglecting the basic requirements of an answer. If they do edit to fix the issues (which happens sometimes) they need a mechanism to get their answer undeleted. Since edits to deleted posts don't bump the question these would go un-noticed otherwise and users that actually fix problems are the ones we're most interested in retaining.

  • If I recall correctly, you could flag since you register fully, i.e. become not a cookies-fed user, but a user with login/password. – nicael Jan 20 '17 at 17:09
  • @nicael That's not the case. As document in the privileges page flagging doesn't appear on anything except your own posts below 15 rep, registered or not. – Caleb Jan 20 '17 at 18:05
4

Associated bug report: Users with <15 rep cannot see moderator responses to their flags


It's perhaps worth mentioning that these <15 rep users cannot see responses to their flags. That is, instead of seeing a link with "1 helpful flag," they get plain text indicating how close they are to hitting 15 rep:

Unlock flags text for <15 rep users

They can access the flag summary page if they have the direct URL (/users/flag-summary/#####), but otherwise not until they get to 15 rep.

So if you leave custom flag responses in these cases, be aware that they are rarely seen.

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    Oh, ouch! This inconsistency is a bug. Can you report it as a separate question? Thanks. – Gilles Jan 20 '17 at 16:33
  • @Gilles Sure thing. – Nathaniel Jan 20 '17 at 16:34

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