I recently posted an answer to a political question that was, let's be honest, a politically challenging, but not abusive, answer. Checking the Be Nice policy, I don't feel that I've done anything wrong but my question gets flagged as rude/abusive anyway.

I am aware of What if six users conspire to nuke posts with spam flags? but I'm sure that it's sufficient as I don't want to have to pester moderators with begging flags to undo damage done (or if they preemptively delete posts, in good faith, to prevent damage being done).

Politics and political issues are, unfortunately, creeping their way into our jobs and this site, and I'd like there to be an unobtrusive way to defend politically challenging, but not insulting, posts from flagging wars.

What are the possible options, for regular users and mods?

  • maybe write your answer in such a way that they aren't subject to red-flagging in the first place?
    – rene
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 16:33
  • 2
    @rene: Presumably, that's already the case. Assume good faith.
    – user102937
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 16:33
  • 2
    This is hard to answer without context. Did this happen on a site where politics might be on topic? Did your answer attempt to answer the question asked? Was it a well worded frame challenge?
    – apaul
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 16:34
  • Absent context, the options are the same as they always have been. You're always going to get some of your posts flagged, no matter how careful you are.
    – user102937
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 16:36
  • @RobertHarvey oh, my comment wasn't meant to suggest the answer wasn't in good faith, just trying to figure out if different wording would have helped. But I see where that intent got mis-interpreted.
    – rene
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 16:37
  • 1
    Are you asking about this?
    – apaul
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 16:40
  • @apaul That is what sparked this question, but I've asked this is more general terms.
    – Izzy
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 23:24

1 Answer 1


Spam and offensive flags are not shown to normal users, so the only indication you get that a post was flagged like this is for either a moderator to tell you, you receiving a 100-point penalty if it was hard-deleted as spam or offensive, or the post being hidden from view when deleted. Spam and offensive flags were once exposed to 10k+ users, but that led to a lot of problematic pile-on flagging, so now they are only visible to moderators.

Spam and offensive flags are usually handled by moderators, and we have the option of declining, clearing (disputing), and accepting those flags. Flags with no merit will be declined, and we tend to be very strict about what spam / offensive flags we accept.

As pointed out in the post you link above, it is possible for spam / offensive flags to trigger an automatic post deletion and 100-point penalty if several are coordinated on a particular post. This has been abused in the past, but I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen this in my years as a moderator on Stack Overflow. We came down like a ton of bricks on everyone who did this. We have the tools to undo damage from maliciously coordinated flags: removing the flags, removing penalties from them, and restoring targeted posts.

In general, though, spam / offensive flags are reviewed by humans and we're pretty strict about what we accept. People flag opinions on Meta sites all the time, and unless those opinions are wildly off-topic rants, or directly insulting to specific people or groups, we decline these flags.

  • "a moderator to tell you" Bingo. But this is reassuring at least.
    – Izzy
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 23:26

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