Why can't moderators see who flagged a comment?

I read this old post on the topic, but I don't really understand Shog's response on the linked post - maybe it would've made sense to me if I was on SO in 2010, but from where I stand now, I don't really see what all this talk about discouraging people from flagging has to do with anything.

  • 1
    You don't think being called out for flagging a junk comment would discourage anyone?
    – random
    Jul 10, 2014 at 20:58
  • 3
    @random I don't really understand the point you're making. Are you saying that if the identity of comment-flaggers was known to moderators, the moderators would go into the comments section to berate users who cast comment flags?
    – senshin
    Jul 10, 2014 at 21:00
  • 1
    @Laurel the post you chose as a duplicate is linked to by the OP. Their question is about that duplicate as they need some clarification on the context of that answer. How can they be duplicates?
    – rene
    Aug 26, 2016 at 19:47

1 Answer 1


The first question you should be asking is, "why can moderators see who flags anything?"

There are some good arguments in favor of it:

  • respond to flags and flaggers that require follow-up beyond what can be provided in a decline reason
  • detect fraud and abuse ("revenge-flagging", attempting to automatically delete posts via the use of flags, etc.)
  • access a user's flagging history to determine if they have a pattern of raising misguided flags

...and some good ones against it:

  • conscious bias against users who raise a large number of flags (particularly borderline flags)
  • unconscious bias against users with a history of being... troublesome... regardless of the actual merit of each individual flag
  • potential for pushing users into more disruptive forms of interaction in a misguided hope of reducing flag quantity

Originally, moderators couldn't see who flagged anything! Over time, the availability of this information has been expanded as the need for it has increased, until the present day when comment flags are the only flags where this information is not provided. In regard to the pros / cons listed above:

  • The vast majority of the time, flagged comments should be either deleted or the flag declined - extensive follow-up is a waste of time.
  • We've had a couple instances of coordinated comment-flag-abuse, but it isn't common - and you actually can see who is responsible in these cases.
  • There's no comment flag history available for anyone, so knowing who flagged wouldn't help you much there.
  • Users are often prone to replying publicly (and starting fairly unconstructive flame-wars) - it's actually preferable if they flag instead, even if the flags are declined.

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