I have had a flag pending for 20+ hours now. In the past flags have always been handled in under an hour. I understand that the current turmoil is generating a LOT of work - abusive language is flying and much of it is directed at the very people who are trying to keep things decent. Is this causing flags to be handled more slowly? If so, what should high rep users do about that? Is there a way we can help?

  • 25
    There are only 2 moderators left after one resigned and the other one was fired. Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 12:47
  • Are the meta mods on strike? Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 12:48
  • Only Journeyman turned in his diamond @Randal'Thor
    – rene
    Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 12:48
  • 1
    This isn't just affecting main meta of course. Various main sites only have 1 moderator left active and some are down to none. Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 12:48
  • 2
    @rene I know, but it's possible that the others have downed tools and stopped moderating for the time being. Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 12:49
  • @AnneDaunted I didn't know about that link. Also note that the two remaining moderators are in similar time-zones, so coverage 19:00--08:00 UTC will be very poor.
    – Raedwald
    Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 12:50
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    If you're comfortable with chat you might drop links to offensive comments in the Tavern so it get more eyes. Same goes for links to offensive posts. Please don't make them onebox, so add some context with your link, instead of just the link
    – rene
    Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 12:50
  • Checking, it seems that my flags here (mostly on comments) have been handled in relatively short order in the last few days. Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 12:51
  • @Randal'Thor I can't comment on that, for all I know they did their work in silence most of the time.
    – rene
    Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 12:54
  • Seems like it, I've had one pending for at least 2 days.
    – Script47
    Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 12:56
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    Are the meta mods overwhelmed? Who wouldn't? I guess I spent say a total of 90 minutes each day on MSE/MSO the last days, and heck: I feel overly overwhelmed.
    – GhostCat
    Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 13:05
  • 1
    That being said, coordinating flagging efforts would help, at least on comments. After a certain amount of flags (3 IIRC, 1 if it's caught by some specific regex patterns), it's deleted and probably marked as handled. There's nothing high-rep users can do - there's no commenet moderation tools for anyone aside mods that go beyond regular flags.
    – Zoe
    Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 13:20
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    There may be some factor of moderators keeping their hands out of this mess as well. As a moderator on another site I wouldn't want to put myself into the crossfire around this issue. Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 13:21
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    @Zoethetransgirl It also depends on how many upvotes the comment has. I don't remember for sure, but I think the number of flags needed (if no one-flag-regex applies) is 3 + floor(score/3). Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 14:56
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    There are now a swath of blatantly off topic posts coming into Meta. I don’t know if this is from media links to Meta, or just lack of moderators.
    – Wildcard
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 0:38

3 Answers 3


Even before our beloved Miss Cellio was unjustifiably fired and Journeyman Geek stepped down, I occasionally have flags hanging around for more than a day before being handled, most notably during weekends.

Given the recent wave of protests, I'd assume CMs and the remaining 2 Meta mods are pretty busy at the moment, so it's perfectly normal for your flag to remain unhandled till now, or potentially for even longer.


Based off what I see, and how things were done before all this broke out...

The routine, mundane stuff is actually at the same level as it was before. There was one spam wave (according to smokey), but other than that, things look good

Post volume is naturally up. Stuff's heated.

The problem with times like this is the attracts the best and worst of people.

There have always been certain classes of flags that Mods often wouldn't handle. We certainly tended to leave retags to staff (even if having unhandled flags bothered me). In the current... climate, many of these flags would simply need a certain level of delicacy and careful thought that might preclude rapid handling.

Emotions are heated, and these are strange times in many respects. Its just as important to work towards keeping stuff civilized as it is to. There is no quick solution to squishy topics.

This is what would make this overwhelming . I cannot imagine anyone without nerves of ice water dealing with the situation with even a normal amount of whelmedness. It is not volume though. There's only so much emotional bandwidth one can spend before getting choked up.

The decisions that are made, even as a regular user are hard - Is this post intentionally inflammatory or a valid complaint made by someone overwrought? Can I address this for the greater good, or is it a flaming dumpsterfire that we need to get rid of? The decisions a mod makes have extra weight and people get upset over them a lot.

If its off topic posts - while its not as quick - the tavern on the meta - the main chatroom for this site has a pretty robust way to deal with it.

  • In "We certainly tended to leave retags to staff", does "retags" refer to editing the tags that show below a question? And "staff" to paid SE employees? If yes, then am I right to assume this is about flags that ask for some moderator/staff-only flags? (For otherwise anyone with some editing privilege could edit the tags.)
    – Arjan
    Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 13:31
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    Setting tags to status-complete and such, as there were often flags for that. But for most part I'd say flags were handled pretty quickly Commented Oct 6, 2019 at 13:32

What I've been doing is

  • trying to keep my flags to a minimum

  • being extra careful to be super polite and clear in my writing, to minimize the risk of misunderstandings, and people flying off the handle

  • asking people politely to delete, move or edit something which normally I would flag and ask a moderator to deal with -- and if they don't, I just let it go, because I figure, right now we gain nothing if we start going at each others' throats

  • if I initially feel shock or anger when reading something, I take a break and then reread it later, trying very hard to get into the author's head, to try to understand what they were really trying to say -- perhaps there was some sloppy writing that was getting in the way; in short, trying harder to give people the benefit of the doubt

Re that second bullet point -- I think that it's especially helpful to use quotation marks or italics for terms like "they," when used as a term rather than a part of speech in the sentence.

I raised a couple of flags a couple of days ago, and there was a big delay (over 24 hours) for them to be processed, but they did eventually get processed.

So, I think your guess is on target, I think they have probably been snowed under.

  • 2
    Very much this: trying harder to give people the benefit of the doubt
    – rene
    Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 6:53

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