SmokeDetector is currently disabled due to the moderation strike. This means that some specific sites are overrun with spam, and when I go through and flag each of those spam posts, I keep running into the 5-second rate limit.

This greatly slows down my ability to flag as the dialog gets closed even when the submission is unsuccessful, and I have to constantly reopen it each time.

Feature request: Reduce the 5-second rate limit on flags while SmokeDetector is disabled. E.g., reduce to 1 second.

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I do not use any scripts. I understand that the intention behind the limit is to ensure that people carefully evaluate each post, but in this case it's very easy to tell if a post is spam just from the title alone, as shown in the below screenshot:

enter image description here

Screenshot from Anyon posted on https://academia.meta.stackexchange.com/a/5309/452

  • 14
    How exactly you mean to flag so fast? Automatic flags i.e. using script? I think it's bad idea. The goal does not justify any means. Flagging should be something you do yourself, after confirming this is actually spam. Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 20:24
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    @ShadowWizardStrikesBack 5 seconds is very slow. I don't use scripts. No need to think much when looking at i.sstatic.net/0pwBI.png Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 20:24
  • 11
    @ShadowWizardStrikesBack If you open each post in a new tab and then proceed to flag each as spam, rather than load each one individually, you'll run into this limit persistently even as you check each post. If it weren't for the rate limit it'd take less time to flag all of those than loading each post individually. Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 20:31
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    @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog exactly. Some people are quick at accusing others of misusing SE and slow at discovering the benefits of using more than one tab. Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 20:37
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    @Sonic that is fair, but still, five seconds is reasonable in my opinion. Using scripts isn't misusing SE, just something some, including me, frown upon so I'm glad that's not the case. And personally, even with tabs I won't be able to flag so quickly. Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 22:33
  • 5
    @ShadowWizardStrikesBack Some people are just quicker at the mouse than others. It's also really annoying if you frequently have to keep reopening the dialog just because it takes you 4.5 seconds to review something. But yes, to be fair, this is a "special" situation caused by the shutdown of a major community-run project, and based on how things are working internally should be operational again within the next 6-8 weeks. Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 22:39
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    May be the number of flagging limit should also be temporarily increased for these sites, or just for spam flags if possible
    – user13267
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 4:37
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    @user13267 yes, 100% agreed Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 12:55

1 Answer 1


Yes, but for all flag types, and not just while Smoke Detector is down

This limit has always been annoying and does not serve any useful purpose. Users start out with 10 flags per day, which with a five-second rate limit could be submitted in under a minute. Even if someone manages to work their way to 100 flags per day, they could still submit them within 8.5 minutes. It's not as though a moderator is particularly likely to notice halfway through that run and cut them off.

"But Ryan, how could anyone flag usefully that fast?" Simple: making a decision about several pieces of content at once.

As a moderator, I'll often read a comments section, decide which comments are no longer needed, and then delete those. I probably spend at least five seconds total per deleted comment, but I certainly don't spend five seconds between deletions, because I'm just going down the list and deleting the ones I already selected earlier. A flagger raising "No longer needed" flags would likely do the same thing.

For posts...it's less common, but sometimes I'll find a bunch of posts that together form a problematic pattern (usually spam, often disguised somehow), and then flag them all in rapid succession. Again, probably more than five seconds per post of analysis went into finding them, but there's no reason to force me to wait five seconds between submitting each flag.

Also, sometimes spammers post a lot, quickly, and I'm flagging several more-or-less copies of the same post that are extremely obvious from Charcoal reports. Before the strike, I hit the limit doing so quite frequently.

  • 4
    yes, 100% agreed. Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 5:08
  • 5
    I believe that anything without rate limit is potentially dangerous from technical standpoint. Although your reasoning looks convincing, it has a glitch - specifically, moderators don't have 100-flags limit and without any rate limiting at all could damage the system - especially if using a script to assist in their job - and especially if there is a bug in that script. That said, rate limit of 1-2 seconds instead of current 5 (like proposed in the question) is probably not too dangerous
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 8:57
  • 1
    The SOUP script once had a feature that disabled the comment flag submit button if someone was still within their rate limit of flagging comments on the same post. That broke when SE changed the design of the comment flag interface, but was really useful when it worked as it avoided the annoyance of having to reopen the dialog for the same comment. Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 18:39
  • 3
    @gnat Moderators are already not subject to the flagging rate limits either. We are subject to the general request-level rate limits, which would at least somewhat limit how quickly damage could be done by a malfunctioning script. I'm personally aware of approximately one instance of moderation assistance scripts malfunctioning, and it was dismissing flags rather than raising them. I'd be surprised if a moderator even felt the need to write a bulk flagging script at all, let alone one that would be likely to fail in that manner.
    – Ryan M
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 1:30

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