My answer to this question got deleted as offensive or spam Abuse yield to avoid condition in loop

I agree that my answer was not very useful and I accept the downvotes. I would even consider improving my answer. But i do not agree that my answer is offensive or spam in any way, so i do not accept the locking and deletion and the 100 reputation penalty.

I would like to appeal the deletion and ask someone in the position to review my answer and decide whether it really is offensive or spam. If it is neither offensive nor spam then I would like the deletion to be revoked and my 100 reputation restored.

For reference:

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    Hard to argue with this. It may have deserved the downvotes, but definitely not a flag. – Pekka Nov 20 '10 at 9:12
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    I gave up looking at flagged posts on SO as it was always full of nonsense flags. I think there should be the ability for people to vote against flags so spurious ones get removed from the list. – Martin Smith Nov 20 '10 at 12:37
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    @Martin - actually, we're working on exactly that. We are aware of the issues here, and we have already applied some experimental changes to "chat" that we want to apply to the core system. – Marc Gravell Nov 20 '10 at 14:10
  • The post has been undeleted and the flags cleared (to avoid it getting slammed again immediately). I'll need to ping the core team to see if we can get the points back. – Marc Gravell Nov 20 '10 at 14:11
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    As a follow-up, the rep-penalty has now been removed (via the slightly roundabout route of disassociation) – Marc Gravell Nov 20 '10 at 19:09
  • update: i posted a new, better answer. – lesmana Nov 22 '10 at 9:42

As a follow-on; this example of unusual flagging does highlight something we're already aware of, and are working on: that flagging by itself isn't enough.

In the "chat" system (which we are using as a test-bed for the flagging changes), we currently have some changes; when seeing a flag, people might:

  • see the flag and decide "meh, not excited about that"; we capture this; this is important data that can be used to suggest that it isn't an "OMG, OMG" post
  • see the flag and click to agree with the flag
  • see the flag and click to firmly disagree with the flag

we then use that data to quietly nullify flags (or strengthen them, if everyone agrees), so it isn't a cumulative-only function.

We'll hopefully be looking at applying these changes to "core" real soon.

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    This does seem like a case where people saw that it was flagged and just piled on because they thought it must be offensive if someone else thought so. The ability to nullify flags would work against this behavior. – Brad Larson Nov 20 '10 at 18:01
  • I think it will be really dangerous to nullify flags, since it's hard enough now to get rid of offensive comments, with those who like offensiveness voting for them, it will be impossible. Therefore the only real option will be flagging a moderator (which I have to do every now and then anyway). – Lance Roberts Nov 20 '10 at 18:33
  • @Lance - I don't think we're talking about comments here - but rather posts. We will of course be playing with the ratios to make them sensible - it won't be that one person looking at something negates one person flagging something, for example. – Marc Gravell Nov 20 '10 at 19:15

If we could see our own deleted content, then we could flag it for moderator attention when something bad happens.

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    We can see our own deleted answers, even sub 10k. Questions not so much, but we have enough active requests for that. – Grace Note Nov 20 '10 at 14:01
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    @Grace - I'd like to see a whole section of the profile for deleted content. – user27414 Nov 20 '10 at 14:03

For the purposes of discussion, here is the content of the "answer" in question:

Lacking useful answers I am declaring my (ab)use of yield as a strike of genius.

Well, I could undelete it, but let's face it - that answer doesn't actually add any value, so IMO it is correct to remain deleted. It isn't an answer.

Re the flag... trickier. The moderation tools don't have a button for that. I am tempted to agree that this isn't "spam" in the "advertising junk" sense, and isn't "offensive" in the obvious sense - but I suspect it would take DB-level intervention to restore the points.

The other way of perhaps looking at it is that a large enough number of the community thought is was significantly detrimental. Mob-justice is not always reliable, of course - I'm just throwing that into the bowl for consideration.

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    I keep looking at this and thinking it must be a joke. "I don't have a button for that" is one (stupid, but not your fault) thing, but effectively ratifying an abusive deletion? Are you really serious? I'm tempted to flag your answer as offensive... – Nicholas Knight Nov 20 '10 at 13:50
  • @Nicholas - tell me in what way that post is an answer to the question? The delete actually feels valid. The flags (and penalty) - less so. – Marc Gravell Nov 20 '10 at 13:53
  • @Marc Can't, don't have the 10k rep necessary, but that's not even the point. There doesn't appear to be anyone here who's looked at it and felt the flagging was proper -- even you -- yet you're letting it be rather than letting the established mechanism for this problem -- downvoting -- take its course. – Nicholas Knight Nov 20 '10 at 13:56
  • It does require DB intervention. At least, when someone else got crushed, it did. – Grace Note Nov 20 '10 at 13:57
  • @Nicholas - actually, a small number of non-answers get deleted after being identified by the community and flagged for moderator attention. I'll edit in the post, so you can form your own opinion... – Marc Gravell Nov 20 '10 at 13:58
  • Screw the answer, it doesn't need undeleting. If the OP wants to accept an answer of his own, he can write a new one. But taking 100 points away from him because people misuse the flagging system? That's outrageous. – Pekka Nov 20 '10 at 14:03
  • Seriously? THAT got flagged? AND you're arguing it should just be deleted? It's not the most useful answer in the world, but it does constitute an answer to the question (or one of the questions) posed. However funny it may strike us in this situation, answering your own question is not against policy or guidelines. – Nicholas Knight Nov 20 '10 at 14:04
  • @Nicholas I'm saying undeleting the answer isn't the real issue here. He can just write a new one. He can write a new one with the same words as far as I'm concerned. The spam flags are the real problem – Pekka Nov 20 '10 at 14:04
  • @Nicholas - I'm not arguing about the flagging. I'm saying it isn't strictly an answer. But if you think it is, fine.... good grief... – Marc Gravell Nov 20 '10 at 14:06
  • @Pekka: I don't entirely disagree, and neither, it seems, does anyone else. I'm addressing the issue on which there is a bit of contention. – Nicholas Knight Nov 20 '10 at 14:07
  • @Nicholas - see my second post for more on that topic - it is too complex to fit in one line here... – Marc Gravell Nov 20 '10 at 14:18
  • I find that answer provocative. I would understand if some people view it as offensive. – Tsuyoshi Ito Nov 20 '10 at 19:31

Seems to me that there's another twist worth thinking of here, though not relevant to the OP's situation.

Some people, upon seeing egregious (to their eyes) spam or offense, edit it away.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm one of them.

I suspect that other people tend to trust that initial edit and pile on without necessarily bothering to go back through the edit history.

Perhaps if something looks bad enough to justify such an edit, it should be flagged for mod an let the diamonds decide whether to nuke or unwind the edit.

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