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I was wondering what happens in the case content posted by moderators is flagged for some reason. I did some research but missed in finding some information on those cases.

It is true that, being a moderator, it is unlikely that any content they post would be flag worthy, but that doesn't guarantee it can't ever happen. I found that mods have the ability to mark their own flags as helpful, and that serves other useful purposes. However, I don't know if that same case applies when other user casts a flag on a mod.

Can they get the chance to review such flag, or are they assigned to other mods?

I guess that if you see a flag on some of your content one could skip that review (I'm no mod, so just assuming). This could sound like the "ethical" thing to do in such cases, but I ignore what is the preferred response in this cases.

  • I wondered the same thing, and I was curious to know why you were thinking of this. (Sorry for messing about with the comments). – hat Feb 9 '18 at 18:43
  • @BigBadCat no problem :) good thing now this question is documented in case future users wonder the same – DarkCygnus Feb 9 '18 at 18:44
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All flags are viewable by all Moderators and there are no built-in blocks to prevent a Moderator from handling a flag on their own content.

But Moderators are bound by broad prohibitions against conflict of interest. If a Moderator were to find themselves in the middle of an incident in which they find themselves a party, we ask that they recuse themselves and find another Moderator to resolve the conflict.

But the Moderator tools are not terribly well-polished nor sophisticated (back-office tools rarely are), so keeping these tools open and easily accessible is often just a matter of expediency and trust. But if a Moderator were to take advantage of that trust to do things they probably shouldn't, they may find themselves on the wrong end of a reprimand which could potentially result in losing that position.

Keep in mind that very little of anything Moderators and users do is done in isolation. There are a lot of checks and balances to help assure that anything someone does can be seen by someone else. For example, I constantly close questions without first leaving a comment (which generates an auto-flag), but I typically clear that flag on my action after I rectify the situation. Conflict of interest? Maybe; but I'm using my best judgement to say it's not worth leaving the resolution of that incidental flag to someone else. If I get it wrong, my actions are both discoverable and transparent.

14

There's no technical prevention for this, no. Flags aren't assigned to specific moderators, they're in a big pool and we handle the flags we handle. We're encouraged to pass over flags on our own content and leave them to other moderators, particularly if the flag is accusing us of something.

That said, if someone flags a comment I wrote as "No longer needed", if I agree, I'm going to handle that flag. There's no reason that another mod should have to decide that, yes, the comment's not needed any more and remove it for me.

So, in that sense, it's when we're considering declining the flags that we should be conscientious about conflict of interest. And this makes sense. Most moderators are good at doing this.

9

We can. We often don't.

If something is just clearly designed to be offensive and uses language unsuitable for the site in general for example - and I'm targetted, or the goal is clearly to try to bait a mod, I'll act, then let my fellow mods know. There's a handful of folk who seem to think baiting a mod's a good way to get away with things cause "they won't act on their own".

Typically - since while there's an audit of my actions, and longer term logging through annotations, I often drop into my site-mod chatroom and go "hey guys, I just suspended foo, cause of this" or "hey guys, I'm a little too mad at this guy to make a decision I'm sure I won't regret in the morning, could someone else take a look?". I find this is especially important when I have a personal connection to the post or issue.

Moderation also rarely occurs in a vacuum. Where PII is involved, we might choose to discuss it in our moderator chat room - I've kept my fellow mods updated on the latest bit of moderation related drama I've had, and in some cases we privately review actions we do. For broader issues, there's always meta or other places.

For minor issues - like someone not getting my sense of humour, like the time I opened up an answer on SU with a LOTR meme, meh, I'll let another mod handle it, and I'm fine with whatever they choose to do.

So we can handle flags on our own issues, and there's situations where its desirable. That said in many cases the best course of action is to leave it, and we're trusted to do that too. Since moderators typically travel in packs, chances are you're going to have more than one eyeball on an issue.

  • I understand better now. So it is about trying to stay objective enough, by knowing when to pass the situation to someone else that is less "involved" in the situation and can view it more.objectively. – DarkCygnus Feb 8 '18 at 3:06
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    Yup! We're trusted to use our power correctly, and the structure of the mod team, and broader network culture gives us a lot of ways to get help when we need it. I think my rule of thumb is "never mod angry" and that has usually worked well. – Journeyman Geek Feb 8 '18 at 3:07
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Moderators can always, and occasionally do, review flags on their own posts.

However, the instant the decision that they would take is in any way contentious, they are expected to, and from what I have seen do, informally recuse themselves from dealing with it.

A flag that I sometimes see on my Meta GIS SE posts is for "more than 20 edits", and I have no hesitation clicking those away as helpful, but requiring no additional action.

All moderator actions on flags are logged.

  • I see, probably you did several helpful edits and that is worthy of dismissing. But in case someone else flags a post of yours then you would recuse yourself from it. – DarkCygnus Feb 7 '18 at 22:42
  • It would certainly be very rare for me to process a flag by someone else on something that I have written. I would only do that if I saw nothing that seemed contentious in it. – PolyGeo Feb 7 '18 at 23:04

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