I as well as other users have flagged some of the recent questions about ads and tracking users, so people can have some forewarning before their information is all over the internet.

However, the flags have all been declined, with this canned response (at least on my flags):

flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention

Of course, this definitely needs moderator intervention, because normal users cannot add to posts.

I'm posting here because I'm trying to get some perspective on this situation and why mods aren't letting users know about information that they may want to know.

Here are my two flags:

On Is SE allowing ads to use fingerprinting to track users?:

[featured] -- this will be very important to a lot of users.

On Stack Overflow is not trying to start audio:

Can this be [featured]? It's important and people need to see it (it involves fingerprinting). They also need to know to have an adblocker enabled.

Why have flags of this type been declined?

  • 3
    I mean... ultimately it's a yes/no decision, there's gonna be cases where the decision is "no"
    – Kevin B
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 20:46
  • 2
    @KevinB perhaps, but is there a preferred way to request this from the moderators? Should we start up a Meta post instead ("Pls Feature this post beause reasons kthx")? Should we ping a moderator in chat? Should we send singing telegrams to corporate headquarters? Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 20:48
  • 1
    @KevinB But this is repeatedly. There are several comments on those questions expressing the same issue.
    – user474678
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 20:48
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    One important aspect to clear up would be who is making these decisions, as my understanding is that the MSE moderators chosen from the community don't use the ability to feature posts on MSE because this features network-wide, and only SE employees use this ability. Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 20:50
  • 4
    Exactly. It's not clear here if the moderator (or moderators) declined your flags because they felt the posts did not deserve to be Featured or because they felt that flags were not the correct way to request for a post to be Featured. If the second, what is the preferred or correct procedure? Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 20:50
  • 1
    @RobertColumbia They could've at least added a custom message, i.e. declined - I can't or something similar.
    – user474678
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 20:51
  • 4
    On another note, and with the caveat that I'm obviously not impartial as I wrote one of those posts, I'm not sure featuring these posts would do anything except creating more drama. The actual desired response for these posts is an official and satisfying answer from SE, the community can't answer them. A shitstorm might force SE to answer, but we're still on Meta and I doubt that would do anything. Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 20:52
  • 3
    Exactly. That's why we need to hear from mods here. Something like "declined - post sucks, going to delete it instead", "declined - mods can't do this, please use the Contact Us link to ask the Community Team", or "declined - all Featured post requests are to be done in the Featured Posts Requests and Adjudications Chatroom [link]." would be a lot more helpful. Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 20:52
  • @RobertColumbia Is there such a chatroom?
    – user474678
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 20:53
  • 1
    Not to my knowledge, but then I don't seem to really understand this process any more than you. Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 20:54
  • I agree with @MadScientist. Making those posts featured is probably a bad idea, not doing any good. However, in this post I propose just regular visibility, which I think is fair. Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 21:25
  • 3
    My best guess is that MSE rules are different from MSO rules, and featured holds a different value here. It's still worth featuring these posts though, but if they don't, we'll have to find alternative ways of making sure it's visible. Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 21:40

2 Answers 2


On any other site, featuring a question on meta features it on that site (only). Moderators can and do use the "featured" tag locally to highlight things that are important to their communities.

Here on Meta, featuring a question features that question on every site on the network. We don't have the option to just feature something on this site like other sites' moderators can do. The Meta Stack Exchange tag is a very blunt instrument and we need to be careful in how we wield it.

SE appointed us as moderators of this site. They didn't appoint us as arbiters over network-wide advertising.

Employees can feature anything they want, and often are the authors of feature candidates. And moderators of other sites can use the tag on their metas to bring attention to anything happening elsewhere on the network (including here on Meta) that concerns their users. In my experience, our many user communities are very good at making sure that important news gets around, whether it happened on their own sites, Meta, or Twitter.

While there have been cases in the past where a volunteer moderator of this site has featured something, those are extremely rare, and done only under exceptional circumstances (e.g. goodbyes to former employees).

Feel free to use flags to request featuring if you think something is really important. If moderators agree we'll ask an employee to review, or an employee might come along and handle the flag directly. But the bar for featuring on Meta is high, so don't be surprised if your flags get declined.


So, just to get it out of the way.

No, flags requesting to feature things will almost always be declined. If memory serves - The featured tag on MSO is something the moderators have been given the freedom to set.

That said, we're not MSO. We have somewhat different goals and audiences.

I'm not even sure why folks assume flagging for a featured tag is a valid way to get it, when we're often uncomfortable setting status-complete tags.

flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention

Is true because as far as the moderation team is concerned, it has never been part of our remit to pick which posts are featured network wide. We do have a close working relationship on and off meta with the folks who work here and if something really needs to be featured it would.

Here - we'd rather leave it to staff to decide, especially since these posts are viewable network wide.

To a certain extent, this is a decision we'd rather the company make, and where we feel its for the betterment of the site we'll ask. Folks gravitate towards the hot button issues and sometimes it feels like we take two step backwards for one step forward.

As a result a lot of the time- even if featuring posts was part of my role as a moderator, it feels like the requests for some of these posts to be feature would cause more harm than good.

Personally I'd rather work towards seeing stuff fixed for the long term than shorter term s*itstorms.

In these specific cases - the folks who should be looking at these issues are aware. Featuring these posts networkwide isn't going to make change more likely. As such - I'm even disinclined to even ask for the post to get featured - as all it does is potentially cause more drama.


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