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Stack Overflow is currently doing a push to avoid use of moderator attention flags in the case where a standard flag would do. In that thread they say it's fine to use a mod attention flag if you want to clarify the reason you're flagging; for example, you might be flagging "not an answer", but want to explain why the answer isn't an answer. This use is also covered in Should a custom flag be used instead of the "not an answer" flag when the answer isn't a blatant non-answer?.

However, whether or not a post is obviously not an answer is subjective, and you can end up in the weird case where you think a post isn't an answer, you use a mod flag to explain why, and it gets rejected because the post was too obviously not an answer to warrant that flag -- you should have used the standard flag instead.

My opinions on that practice aside, it seems like it could be avoided if it were possible to provide a description for the standard flags and not just mod attention flags:

Ideally the extra description would appear in the review queue.

  • Yes this... Generally in this case for NAA, I need to leave a comment, before flagging. This would be easier. – Stephen Rauch Jun 3 '18 at 0:28
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I agree that telling moderators more information that helps them evaluate a flag is good. And for NAA/VLQ, showing it to reviewers is a good thing. But why stop there? We also want to communicate to the author of the post and any other readers who come by (not via the review queue) that the post needs work, which is accomplished by leaving a comment.

We probably don't want the comment to be automatic because it might be redundant with comments that are already there. And some flaggers might not want to have their words posted publicly. But let's make it easy by including the option to also post the text as a comment so that -- just maybe -- the author can use the information to fix the post and make the flags unnecessary.

This path would be similar to free-form close votes ("I'm voting to close this question because...") and duplicate close votes, both of which automatically post a comment.

If we implement this, we could use the same mechanism to help demystify obsolete comment flags. (I'd accept a textbox instead of the menu shown there; the driving goal is to get some information that helps moderators understand the flag.)

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