It has been stated by Jeff that flags for obscenity have a small time limit.

This means that 5 or 6 (?) people have to flag a post within a few days for it to be deleted for obscenity. Unfortunately, this means that older posts will stick around with flagging them being pretty much useless, since they don't get the traffic to generate the requisite number of flags before the flags expire.

I don't see any reason to put a time limit on obscenity flags, so that eventually enough users will visit the post, that it will get taken care of.

Now that I have editing powers, I try to edit the obscenities out, but that just starts edit wars with those who get a thrill out of verbal pornography.

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    I will often flag for moderator attention, in addition to flagging for obscenity, if it is an older post. – Brad Gilbert Sep 30 '09 at 16:04
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    You hear something new every day. illogical sillywhistles. – Troggy Sep 30 '09 at 16:13
  • You got any examples of things that are still open and visible? Most things I have seen have disappeared very quickly. – Troggy Sep 30 '09 at 16:20

Bear in mind that flagging also escalates the post to 10k users for viewing (and potential voting) as well.

So even if it doesn't reach the threshold, it brings attention to the post. Which is kind of the goal.

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    I use that list as a base for finding ways to be more offensive. I wasn't aware that it had any other use. – Welbog Sep 30 '09 at 18:07

Leave expirations in. An offensivity rate (making new words is offensive!) is what is measured by the offensive flags. See, if you didn't have a rate, you'll end up having six hard-core whiners coming and marking the post offensive, each a month apart. However, the vast majority of people don't find it offensive, so I would definitely say that those six whiners don't deserve to have their way over something the majority is OK with when they're only a minority.

If something is truly offensive, a lot of people will find it offensive and so its offensivity rate will skyrocket and it will be deleted quickly.

So, offensive things are subjective. From my point of view, calling people names and using bad words isn't offensive in the least (in contrast to the opinions of the aforementioned whiners). However, if you try to parse XML with regular expressions then I'm going to mark you offensive, tell a moderator and call my mom for her to console me for the next half hour while I calm down. But not many people are offended by bad XML parsing, so those questions don't get deleted, because the offensivity rate for that post is low.

So rate is good, because it means that only things that are offensive to a lot of people (read: objectively offensive) are actually deleted, and things that just piss off whiners are fine. Because they are fine.

Stop whining.

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    -1 Not enough vulgarity. – GEOCHET Sep 30 '09 at 16:10
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    But more people should be offended by bad XML parsing! – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Sep 30 '09 at 16:12
  • @Pesto: Damned straight! – Welbog Sep 30 '09 at 16:12
  • It should also be pointed out that the same people who complain about editing an author's intent and tone are the ones who would advocate restricting that person's right to use vulgarity by editing or moderation. – GEOCHET Sep 30 '09 at 16:12
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    @Rich B: Whininess begets hypocrisy. – Welbog Sep 30 '09 at 16:13
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    I never knew that whining was competitive enough to have hardcore and softcore versions. I need to get back in the training room as I fear I have become a softcore whiner. – belgariontheking Sep 30 '09 at 16:13
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    Whoops, I had a silly typo in that last comment. Where I wrote "offended by", I meant to put "tortured for". Sorry about that. – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Sep 30 '09 at 16:15
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    @belgariontheking: None of this is to be confused with a hardcore whinny, which is something TheTXI likes to enjoy in the privacy of his own home. – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Sep 30 '09 at 16:16
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    Oh no! People are downvoting me without leaving comments to tell me why! I'm going to cry now. :'( – Welbog Sep 30 '09 at 16:25
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    @Welbog: That always makes me cry. Hold me. – GEOCHET Sep 30 '09 at 16:28

I am of the opposite opinion. If it's truly offensive, it'll get all the votes it needs within a few minutes. Same for spam.

Also, AFAIK, the time limit is reset after every edit.

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    Agreed. System works as intended. Evidence is needed the other way if this is a real issue. – GEOCHET Sep 30 '09 at 16:08
  • That only works on new posts. – Lance Roberts Sep 30 '09 at 16:26
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    @Lance: See my answer. If it wasn't marked offensive when it was new, it's not offensive. If you're offended by something that no one else finds offensive, it's up to you to learn to deal with it. – Welbog Sep 30 '09 at 16:27
  • No, older posts mean that were less people to moderate it. No one should ever have to deal with obscenities. – Lance Roberts Sep 30 '09 at 16:28
  • @Welbog: Agreed. Why on earth would anyone consider their subjective view that important? – GEOCHET Sep 30 '09 at 16:29
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    @Lance: And everyone should have a chocolate milkshake every morning, and no one should ever go hungry, and everyone should just get along with everyone else! Are you delusional or just too young to understand how the world works? – Welbog Sep 30 '09 at 16:30
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    @Lance: also, if you're coming upon it months later and find it to be offensive, you can still flag it and take your chance that the mods will find it offensive as well. If it was edited recently to become offensive, the time limit should be reset. I don't know for sure whether it is or not. – belgariontheking Sep 30 '09 at 16:30

10K users can see a list of all flagged posts, so older posts will get some immediate attention once flagged.

The time limit means you need sufficient flagging velocity to kill a post. Otherwise, 5 flags in 5 years would do the trick, which is subject to abuse and misuse.


If it is that bad, just flag the post for moderator attention along with your offensive flag.

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    Agreed. If an edit war breaks out, that is a separate issue from the offensive text. – Hilarious Comedy Pesto Sep 30 '09 at 16:13
  • @Pesto: I have said it before that for however stupid or trivial the first edit might seem to you, the second edit is many times worse. – GEOCHET Sep 30 '09 at 16:16

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