If a user posts a flag, stating that a post is inflammatory, to what extent should the moderator investigate said post? Should they perform any research to confirm that there is or is not any such issues?

A user accused a moderator of deliberately allowing religious bigotry, on one of the sites I visit. It appears to come down to the fact that the user did not explain themselves, and simply stated that the post contained bigotry, without explaining why it was considered religious bigotry.

The user remarked that, as the highest ranking user on the site, they expected a thorough investigation. I feel this applies to all moderation across Stack Exchange, so I wanted to ask, here.

How much investigation do we expect from our moderators, in following up flags?


Moderators are generally expected to handle flags in the context in which they are raised. So, a comment thread, an answer, a question...

Of course, moderators are endowed by their creator with memory, discernment and intellect; they may recognize in a given context signs of trouble that others would miss or misinterpret, and take action as they deem necessary. But... All else being equal, you should generally assume that a moderator will examine the information presented in a flag, look for confirmation of that information in the post that was flagged, and take action only if they are thus able to determine that a problem exists which they can and should mitigate.

This suggests both that it is critical for flaggers to be specific and detailed in their flags... And also that for particularly thorny issues, it may be wise to post on meta, describing the problem in detail, and letting both moderators and the community at large work together to solve them.

Remember also that a declined or unactioned flag is not the end of times; a persistent problem may still be addressed in other ways if the initial response is deemed unsatisfactory by the flagger.

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