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During the new update to comment flags, a new option "It's unfriendly or unkind" was added. This is different from the "It contains harassment, bigotry, or abuse." comment flag. As I understand, the first comment flag is equivalent to the old "Rude/abusive" comment flag (correct me if I am wrong).

A new section was added in the Code of Conduct as "Unacceptable Behavior"

No subtle put-downs or unfriendly language.
Even if you don’t intend it, this can have a negative impact on others.

Then there are some examples. For instance,

Unfriendly - “Are you speaking English? If so, I can’t tell.”

Friendly“ - I’m having trouble understanding your question. I think you’re asking how to add a swap after system installation. Is that correct?”

I often find such subtle put downs and harsh language aimed at some user or a community in chat rooms. These are not outright rude or harassing, but rude on some level. If such comments are posted on the site, I would flag them as "It's unfriendly or unkind" and a moderator would approve my flag. But this option is missing in chat.

We have two types of flags

  1. Spam/Offensive
  2. Moderator intervention

When I flag such messages as Offensive, there is no possibility that they get marked helpful. What is offensive is subjective for the wide range of reviewers on chat servers and even really rude messages according to the CoC do not get deleted quickly. So, unfriendly messages which are rude towards user (rude up to some extent) do not get removed. We are only left with moderator intervention flag.

We do not allow unfriendly language in Q&A or comments and there was a modification in Code of Conduct and comment flags to reflect that. What about chat flags? I guess the same Code of Conduct applies in chat also.

Which flag should we use to indicate rude language and unfriendly terminology in chat? Is the moderator intervention flag the only option to flag unfriendly content?

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You may not need to flag at all.

The challenges of chat moderation are very different from the challenges of site moderation. I've always felt that the start of the chat moderation process, and handling issues absolutely needs to start inside the chatroom, and driven by the community.

We first start by dealing with the instance and working on room culture. Let the user know politely that its impolite, and why. Our first line of "defence" is always the folks in a room, and RO, and they have broader context. Turning into a (hopeful) conversation on community norms helps set expectations.

I personally feel that flags should be reserved for emergencies. Our current system of 10k community flag handling + mods from everywhere works when you need something now but for minor issues, what an external person can do pales in comparison to simply raising awareness.

If someone continues to be rude, intentionally after being told, for example "Hey, so - I kind of found "foo" disturbing, and well, I'd appreciate if you refrained from that in future, please", we have an issue.

If its not 'obvious' what's bad, might be worth using a custom flag so folks who are not in the room would have context.

  • Though my question is general, there is a specific incident triggered my question. I think I have to flag those messages instead of leaving those alone. It is repetitive and the room attracted flags in the past too. It is RO and other user talking. So, contacting the RO and saying not to continue that language did not give results. There is no chance of warning the participants of the room because it's a gallery :/ – Nog Shine Apr 20 at 2:15
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    @NogShine Re: "There is no chance of warning the participants of the room because it's a gallery"...you know, you can always create a one-to-one with the RO(s) by visiting their profiles. Nevertheless, if it's a pattern you'd probably want to use a custom flag. – Blue Apr 20 at 5:11
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We do not allow unfriendly language in Q&A or comments and there was a modification in Code of Conduct and comment flags to reflect that. What about chat flags? I guess the same Code of Conduct applies in chat also.

Certainly. The Code of Conduct applies to chat just as much as it applies to the main site. However, as we don't yet have an option like "flag as unfriendly/unwelcoming" in chat, we'll have to make do with the existing options. Moderators often hesitate to validate rude/offensive flags on chat messages as they effectively suspend the author for 30 minutes (per validated flag). It's important to keep in mind the law of proportionality here. We really don't want to antagonize users unnecessarily.

Which flag should we use to indicate rude language and unfriendly terminology in chat? Is the moderator intervention the only option to flag unfriendly content?

Let's keep it simple.

  1. flag as spam/offensive: Use this when you're confident that a message is categorically spam or offensive, and >95% (as a rough estimate) of people would interpret it as such, both with and without context.

  2. flag for moderator: Use this when you're not that confident. Provide necessary context and details in the box (there's a 500 characters limit) so that it's clear to the moderator(s) why you're flagging. This is the safer[†] option in cases where you're unsure about whether you should flag a message as spam/offensive.

Coming to your example: "Are you speaking English? If so, I can’t tell.", I'd go with option 2. This message is probably delete-worthy but I'm not sure whether it's 30-min-suspension-worthy without further context.

[†]: These flags are only reviewable by moderators and not arbitrary 10k+ users who often don't have sufficient context to judge the flagged message.

  • "Are you speaking English?" could very well be sincere: I've seen some incomprehensible messages (not on SE chat) that turned out to be a foreign language put through English autocorrect. – Mark Apr 19 at 23:30
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In my opinion, chat flag options should mirror comment flag options:

  • Rude/Abusive
  • Unkind Unfriendly Unwelcoming
  • No longer needed
  • flag for mod

But... until then, the next best option for something that in your opinion doesn't rise to the level of rude/abusive is to either flag for moderator attention, or ask a room owner to move it to one of the trash can rooms.

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What about chat flags? I guess the same Code of Conduct applies in chat also.

The same CoC applies but overall most rooms are a little liberal. That doesn't mean anything goes, it means that you can post something that you probably wouldn't post in a Q&A or comment on the site and if the people in the room feel you have gone to far they will probably ask you to delete it (before it gets flagged) or one of the room owners may simply delete first and ask that you not do that category of activity again.

It depends on what you do, you could earn an instant chat ban without explanation. That doesn't apply on the associated site.

Which flag should we use to indicate rude language and unfriendly terminology in chat?

In the Chat FAQ it says:

"Do I have to be nice?

Yes. We expect community members to treat each other with respect … even when they don't deserve it.

This site is collectively moderated by the community through participatory flagging. If your chat messages are repeatedly being flagged by your peers you might find yourself muted, banned, or – in extreme cases – your Meta Stack Exchange reputation may be negatively affected.

If you see an inappropriate, spam, or offensive chat message, please use the hover menu at the far right of each chat message to flag it. This will draw it to the attention of the community moderators

Chat Flag choices

Clicking there (right side) provides this pop-up:

Right side flag

If you click on the left side a down arrow appears, where you can click a second time, providing this pop-up:

Left side flag

If it's "spam/offensive" then it works on votes (others must flag too).

If you choose "Flag for Moderator" you can type a custom message describing your complaint, people with over 10K will receive a Notification in the upper left corner of their avatar (on the input dialog at the bottom of the screen) consisting of a blue circle with a number in it indicating the number of flags pending your review.

People receiving the flag will see this or your custom message:

Moderator Flag Dialog

Is the moderator intervention the only option to flag unfriendly content?

If it's not completely clear what your complaint is you'll want to provide a custom message. When confronted with the Moderator Flag Dialog the Moderator can choose "valid", "invalid", or "not sure", they can also choose to visit the room and read the whole conversation.

I often find such subtle put downs and harsh language aimed at some user or a community in chat rooms. These are outrightly not rude or harassing. But rude to some level. If such comments are posted on the site, I would flag them as "It's Unfriendly or Unkind" and moderator would approve my flag. But such option is missing in chat.

This is why you would want to explain your complaint. If it's subtle or a pattern of harrassment over a period of time that might not be obvious if you try to flag it as "offensive"; you risk having your flag declined.

It is also possible to at-reply to a room owner and request a private chat room. You can discuss your complaint with them and explain your side.

Understand that in chat some people are friends and there are running jokes that you had to have been in chat weeks/months ago in order to understand. Sometimes this seems odd or harassing but it's two friends joking with each other, or having a private conversation that it so happens that you are able to see; their comments in the public chat are to each other, and not directed to offend you.

Flags against that sort of behaviour is often declined.

  • Minor nitpicks. Re: "If you choose "Flag for Moderator" you can type a custom message describing your complaint, people with over 10K will receive a Notification in the upper left corner of their avatar." Nope, 10k+ers don't get to see custom messages; only mods can review those. Moreover, the flag dialog is different for custom messages i.e. it doesn't contain "valid", "invalid" and "not sure", but rather "delete" and "dismiss" (and an option to mark the flag as noise). – Blue Apr 19 at 19:02
  • @Blue, I am not a Moderator on any site; notice my avatar next to the dialog in the fourth image - that is a flag that I received, with most of the information blanked out. Those images are from a couple of months ago and searching turned up no Q&A's nor FAQs with newer images. Their purpose was to explain to people asking what it looks like on the other end and clairify that it ought to be obvious what you are flagging or you should explain clearly. You should add new or better information and images to your answer rather than hiding it in a comment on someone else's answer. – Rob Apr 19 at 19:19
  • I don't really want to include it in my answer at this point of time. Note that comments are meant for "asking for clarification or adding more information" as indicated by the placeholder. I'm not saying that you should have known this; I'm just adding it just in case someone misinterprets to whom custom flags are visible to and what they look like. Anyway, I think your answer is nice and addresses the OP's issues well. My comment was not meant to be snarky in case you interpreted it as such. – Blue Apr 19 at 19:23

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