I would find it useful if the site that pops up when you click on your "flag weight" summary link showed what flaggings were deemed valid or invalid by the moderators.

I think the flag summary page would also be an ideal place for the mods to give some short feedback.

For example, my friend Bob accidentally voted for reopening a question. Bob noticed that he did a mistake, and asked a mod to undo his vote (by flagging). The next day Bob noticed his flag weight dropped.

Bob would have liked to know whether that was because of that flag, or because of another flag, and would have liked to know how good or bad his previous flaggings were.

  • I can't state what happened to your flags, but for the record, moderators cannot remove votes. We can clear spam and offensive flags, but nothing about votes like closing. Do note that close votes age away harmlessly after 4 days, though. – Grace Note Apr 25 '11 at 12:35
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    In before fifteen hundred "why was my flag dismissed as invalid" questions on meta. – user1228 Apr 25 '11 at 13:16
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    @Will no. I'm not asking that question. The question is "Please show what flags were deemed good or bad [would you please implement that?]". Since by design I cannot read other people's votes, I had to take a vote of my own as an example. Your comment is a random, negatively associated interpretation of my feature-request. I'm disappointed. Just for staying neutral: If your comment was addressing another question, and you accidentally commented on my request, please remove it and state it at the correct place, thanks! – Johannes Schaub - litb Apr 25 '11 at 13:21
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    @JohannesSchaub-litb: The fact is that if your feature request were [status-completed], it would result in people coming here to ask why this or that flag was dismissed as invalid. My comment is not random, and is not "negatively associated interpretation," whatever that means. It is an accurate depiction of what I believe the logical result of such a feature will be. – user1228 Apr 25 '11 at 13:43
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    @Will well then, I suspect I misinterpreted the meaning of "In before fifteen hundred...". I thought you said this is the fifteenth hundred question about "why was my flag dismissed?" (I'm sorry, I'm not a native speaker, and the dictionary didn't help). In any case, to prevent any associations, I reworded my example in terms of Bob. To all following 1500 posters: Please don't regard this as a question about that one flag of Bob. – Johannes Schaub - litb Apr 25 '11 at 13:47
  • @Will my intuition is that users, if they really want, will notice in any case that some flag (or one of a few of flags) was voted negatively because their flag weight drops. For example, Bob too noticed his flag was voted negatively. I think what implementing this feature changes is merely that people don't have to remember this, but can look back into history and see "ah, those were good flags, and those not!", and that people don't have to remember their old flagging weight to know when and when not flags were deemed bad. – Johannes Schaub - litb Apr 25 '11 at 13:52
  • @JohannesSchaub-litb: Thought that might have been the problem. I was using an internet-forum-specific colloquialism which means essentially "I can see into the future and there will be many posts as a result of this and the subject of these posts will be," and in this case they will be about why their flags have been dismissed as invalid. The tone of the phrase is generally taken as partly humorous and flippant, partly serious. – user1228 Apr 25 '11 at 13:52
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    @JohannesSchaub-litb: I'm down on the whole flag weight thing. While it has generated some active interest in cleaning up the site, it has resulted in a lot of flags that could have normally been avoided through other means. For example, the moderation queue is normally full of "low quality" flags, the majority of which could simply have been avoided by the flagger editing the question or answer. I'm just cynical in the respect that I don't believe revealing more information about a user's flag weight would better the situation. I believe it will just add more noise. – user1228 Apr 25 '11 at 13:56
  • @Will, hmm, I see. I wasn't aware of these insights, but I can imagine how this happens. Feel free to add status-declined, until the problem of people flagging just for the purpose of increasing their flag-weight is solved. – Johannes Schaub - litb Apr 25 '11 at 14:06
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    @JohannesSchaub-litb: Heh, I'm just a janitor. I don't do anything around here except annoy people with my comments. – user1228 Apr 25 '11 at 15:50

We do have this information - and for the record I can confirm that it was marked "invalid" by a moderator - but this information (at current) is only available to the development team (not ♦ moderators - although they can see what flags you raised).

Re providing more verbose feedback - unfortunately the numbers make that prohibitive. There are enough flags going through the system that asking moderators to annotate each and every flag is not practical (it would be asking too much from ♦ people who already give a lot).

We do, however, show many other additional actions that have happened following a flag - deletion, (public) moderator comments, etc - so you can usually see that a flag has been followed up on.

We could probably include the "valid"/"invalid" (which we only store against flags-for-moderator-attention, btw) - but I'm a little in two minds whether this is beneficial.


After discussion, we have decided to defer any decision on this for now; simply, we don't want flagging to be a distraction. As soon as you start showing this on a flag-by-flag basis, we can expect to start having to defend each and every decision. That really isn't somewhere we want to go, on something that a: tends to be subjective, and b: is an overhead on our much-valued ♦ moderators; even picking from a drop-down of explanations would be (in our opinion) unacceptably expensive on other people's time.

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  • I think showing "valid" / "invalid" for stuff that influences your flag weight would be very helpful. How else do you get to improve your flagging ability if you don't even know what if your flags were good and what bad. – Johannes Schaub - litb Apr 25 '11 at 13:05
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    @Johannes Look at what resolutions happened. It'll usually tell you a lot better whether your flag was good or bad. Keep in mind, we dismiss a lot of flags as "valid" even if they state an incorrect close reason or other course of action, as long as we still do take action. Context helps a bit more than just the raw resolution, and is usually very easy to derive the consequent flag resolution. – Grace Note Apr 25 '11 at 13:11
  • As an aside: is a long list like Edit Tags, Added Comment, Added Comment, Added Comment, Added Comment, Edit Body, Added Comment, Edit Tags, Added Comment, Added Comment, Added Comment, Added Comment, Added Comment, Added Comment, Edit Body known behavior? (Or even: expected?) – Arjan Apr 25 '11 at 13:12
  • @Arjan Yes. See here for even longer. In that example, moderators had left a bunch of comments, and made various tag and body edits. The list of actions being long is a bit more expected than the necessity of that many actions being taken. – Grace Note Apr 25 '11 at 13:14
  • But, @Grace, I think the list grows if in the future a moderator performs additional actions on the post I once flagged. Those actions then are not related to my flag. Of course, I don't care. Just want to be sure that Marc et al know what mortals like myself see! ;-) – Arjan Apr 25 '11 at 13:16
  • @Arjan I would imagine it is still expected. Flag history shows all actions that occur once a post has ever gotten flagged. It's helpful especially to us, when a post gets flagged at a later date, to see what resolution had previously been done. I imagine it's probably simpler to just store one "Actions taken" element per post, and just update it as new actions are accrued. – Grace Note Apr 25 '11 at 13:18
  • Thanks, @Grace. Still, just to be sure, One More Thing: in my example about the recent feature changes, moderators and especially Rebecca will also make edits or post comments that are not related to any flag. So, those are not truly resolutions, but just moderators doing "normal" user stuff. (Again, I obviously don't care, and I assume you can tell the difference too.) – Arjan Apr 25 '11 at 13:23
  • @Arjan I don't believe the system really has any method of determining what is done "in a moderator capacity" versus what is just "normal user stuff". How would it, after all? So to be on the safe side, it'll just track all moderator activity. – Grace Note Apr 25 '11 at 13:25
  • @Grace @Arjan - see update – Marc Gravell Apr 26 '11 at 13:48
  • (You should totally post the update first, then send the comment notice.) Also, @Arjan who didn't get pinged. ♪ – Grace Note Apr 26 '11 at 13:50
  • @Grace I expected it to take less time ;p – Marc Gravell Apr 26 '11 at 13:52
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    Ooh, thank you for that update. Fully in agreement with the deferral decision and the reasoning behind it. So many dismissals are just one-off incidents that it'd be tiresome to have to deal with them every time. It's worse than explaining a downvote, because when it comes to singular bad flags, it's really so miniscule of an impact even in the short run. – Grace Note Apr 26 '11 at 13:54

The flag weight page (linked from the flag weight, only for you not other users) in your profile will now show which flags were valid/invalid.

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