The path a flag can take has become significantly more complicated now that we have review queues that can handle certain flags. It is not obvious from the dialog what exactly happens when you use a specific flag reason.

What I propose is to move away from flags for anything that is handled by the community. I think handling those cases analogous to suggested edits is a better idea. The changes would be something like the following:

  • flag as "very low quality" -> suggest deletion
  • flag as "not an answer" -> suggest deletion
  • flag as "should be closed" -> suggest closure
  • flag as spam/offensive -> suggest deletion (with a spam/offensive option)

The only thing left as a flag is the "needs moderator attention" flag reason. This would clearly separate cases the community can handle itself from case that need moderator intervention.

This change would put the focus on the desired action, which I consider to be a good idea. If you don't want that post closed or deleted, you probably shouldn't flag it.

One thing I've observed a few times is that some users are reluctant to flag because they don't want to create work for the mods unless absolutely necessary. Making clearer that the commmunity handles those cases might help to encourage those users to help moderate the site.

This would also mean that users can simply use the same tools at low reputation and once they have the necessary privilege to close or delete. Only the effect would change depending on whether they have the relevant privilege or not.

Another idea would be to additionally rename "flag" to "report this post" or something similar. This might be more intuitive to new users, and it is the only purpose for flags that is left if those changes would be implemented.


Your title doesn't match your proposal. The flags you identify can't be universally handled by non-moderators - most notably, upvoted answers can't be deleted by non-moderators except via spam/offensive flags.

A "suggest deletion" flag on a post that can't be deleted by normal users* would still have to be shown to moderators, unless this is implicitly a proposal to lift that restriction too - in which case, you should probably break it out separately, as it's a much, much more drastic change to how this whole thing works.

The change you actually describe is fairly close to this older proposal. That proposal is a bit archaic now, as in the past year nearly every aspect of how these flags are handled has changed. And that's probably my best argument against it: we were able to implement those changes without having to re-train every single flagger!

There are thousands of people using these flags only occasionally: over 50% of all VLQ and NAA flags raised on Stack Overflow come from folks averaging 1 flag per day or less. On smaller sites, it's even more common for flagging to be an occasional activity... And for moderators to be handling most of the flags.

It's much easier to train moderators - or even reviewers - on what should be deleted than it is to try to communicate that to thousands and thousands of flaggers. "Suggest deletion" looks pretty succinct in a list like yours, but any real flagging UI would have to include some guidance, and potentially even a list of reasons for deleting things... Which would just put us back to where we are today.

*This actually gets even more complicated because there are posts that can only be deleted by 20K users or moderators, but let's ignore that for now.


This strikes me as a change that would tightly couple the interface and the implementation, which would hamper future changes without any real benefit for the average user.

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