10k users have always had visibility to some of the flags in the system, in particular they could see spam/offensive and comment flags in the tools/flagged route.

The trouble was that these are the easiest flags for us mods to deal with. The trickier ones to deal with are all the rest.

We just made a change that gives visibility to all the moderator flags that come with canned messages and stripped out comment and spam flags. This means that if a post is flagged:

  • As a dupe
  • To be closed
  • Not an answer
  • Very low quality

It will now be visible in the tools/flagged list. As soon as a user deals with the flag in any way it will vanish from the list. (If they vote on the post or flag it)

Any feedback on this change? How can we improve it?

  • 1
    I just noticed this... and I LOVE it already. It's much more useful to be able to see the flag reasons so I can better decide if I agree with it. Though I kinda miss the blue numbers that showed the flag counts (when it appeared), it stood out better. The removal of showing spam flags was a nice step IMHO. I assume this applies to offensive flags as well? Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 8:51
  • @Jeff correct, offensive and spam are just way too easy to deal with. Have already noticed this is helping a lot.
    – waffles
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 11:35
  • p.s., The links page should have the posts flagged as offensive or spam link removed or at least renamed since these flags no longer show up in the list anymore. Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 11:47
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    The only thing I've noticed is it is harder to handle duplicates in this new workflow. Takes 2+ clicks (and wasn't immediately obvious).
    – user7116
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 13:56
  • 2
    Do they vanish from the list for that user or for everybody? (if a mod deletes a flagged post the flag disappears for all mods, does this work like that? If so, is a mere downvote reason enough to clear a flag?)
    – juan
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 14:07
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    The sidebar still states "Posts flagged for moderator attention are in strict confidence.", which doesn't really apply to the flags shown to 10k users. They can anyway not see who flagged it. Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 21:28
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    @Juan the list is personalized, moderators still see everything under all conditions
    – waffles
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 23:22
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    How exactly does this help the moderators? 10k users can't clear flags from the list, so a moderator is still required to go through all of the items, marking them as either valid/invalid and taking the appropriate action. Is the hope that 5 users will come along and close the question as a duplicate, meaning it no longer requires mod attention? And in such a case, is it removed from the queue altogether? And how does that work for flag reasons other than duplicate? What do 10k users do about "not an answer"? Commented Jun 4, 2011 at 5:27
  • @Cody, it helps heaps, the pile on flags for not an answer help validate it is not an answer, which allow mods to deal with them more quickly. Close et. el. can be handled by 10k users without needed mods. So if you see a flag that is valid, adding another flag helps us. I still need to think through the workflow for invalid flags, you could add a flag with a message saying it is invalid, but it complicates the flag weight stuff.
    – waffles
    Commented Jun 4, 2011 at 5:42
  • This is a great change. The link text at /tools?tab=links probably needs to be updated, however. Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 11:29
  • After using these for a few days, I find they're quite a lot of work. Which means we're now doing more stuff that the moderators used to do. So it's a good thing. Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 0:32

10 Answers 10


This appears to include the canned messages that come from Community User.

For example, on Meta, there's a flag for "Consecutive closures".

Image of the flag as shown

I imagine that the other ones for things like rapid edits, comment streams, and other similar things are also noted.

There aren't really actionable by normal users, not even at 10k, since the required actions are typically one of: "Do nothing, lock stuff, protect stuff, send warnings to users, pass out suspensions."

I would suggest that Community's flags not be shown on the list.

  • 6
    Yup, just now there's one for “More than 20 comments posted”. That one's even counter-productive, even 10k users have been known to participate in comment wars. Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 18:06
  • @Gilles sure, but comment wars are a red flag, they often indicate the question itself needs TLC or needs to be closed. Additionally adding a flag to it helps us validate there really is a problem. Having multiple flags on a single post helps us a lot.
    – waffles
    Commented Jun 4, 2011 at 5:43
  • this is still experimental, I will review the data in a few days and adjust if needed, piling on flags is a really good thing. eg... for comment war... a 10k could add a mod message that says: "please delete all these comments, they are noise" or "there is nothing to see here move along" ... it is not a prescription but helps us mods figure out what is going on.
    – waffles
    Commented Jun 4, 2011 at 5:44
  • The community flags do seem to be useful for 10k users - you can look at them and flag "invalid" (e.g. if it's "possible vandalism" but all the edits are sensible) or add an "other flag" that explicitly states the problem (or spots related problems).
    – Flexo
    Commented Oct 24, 2011 at 14:04
  • @waffles Just ran into the "consecutive closed questions" flag on Gaming, and I have no idea what I'm supposed to do with it. While there might be a case for 10k users to double-check the other auto-flags, this one seems like just noise for non-moderators.
    – user149432
    Commented Dec 3, 2011 at 1:45

I miss the old interface.

It was easy to handle the flags on the old interface -- the decisions were frequently clear-cut, and sometimes if someone's reputation looked low enough that they're very new here, a corrective paragraph was usually easy to write. Silly comment flamefests were easy to deal with.

It felt like an excellent way to help improve the site when my brain was no longer prepared for actually answering questions. (And also guaranteed that spam posts never survived more than ten minutes after being flagged.)

With the new interface, I don't feel like I have the tools to address the problems being flagged: I can't delete not an answer answers. I have no idea how to address Possible vandalism of own posts; multiple deletions in a short time;. Some of these problems feel 'out of my pay grade' (I'm only 17k).

The tools available on the page seem mismatched -- the Flag button feels like the dead-wrong approach for low quality question. Vote to close would be more useful. Add comment would be more useful.

And, I have no data to back up this concern, but how much of "the community will take care of comments flagged abusive / obsolete / .." or "the community will take care of questions / answers marked as spam" was due to 10k+ users on the old page?

Consider an abusive comment on a post that receives so few weekly views that a flag raised by an insulted newbie may expire before a second person stumbles on the abusive comment and casts a vote -- an offensive comment might remain to insult future viewers, never gaining enough visibility to be pruned. Under the old 10K+ flag page, it would be visible to many members of the community who're invested in the success of the community.

The new page might be more useful to the ♦-sheriffs in town, but I just don't see myself using this new page as often as I used the old page.

  • 2
    when you click flag -> does not belong here ... you get the standard close dialog. I dislike the idea of making it easy to add a comment, that is likely just to add to comment wars or poor posts. Keep in mind ... the old page was showing you a bunch of stuff we needed no help with.
    – waffles
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 23:20
  • @Waffles, ah! Thanks. I might yet make some use of the new page. Seems like a lot of clicks though. :)
    – sarnold
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 23:22
  • @Waffles, I would hope the 10K users would leave more constructive posts than participate in comment wars. Did I misjudge us? :)
    – sarnold
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 23:23
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    well one of my main tools of dealing with a comment war is simple nuking all the comments, its very effective and not really available to 10k users. the tools you have for dealing with comment wars are very limited
    – waffles
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 23:24
  • @Waffles too true, the five-second-delay makes it pretty horrible.
    – sarnold
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 23:25

I would like the flags sorted by reason. At least, I'd like three groups: duplicate, off-topic, and low-quality (I don't mind if not-an-answer, not-a-real-question, subjective-and-argumentative and other just-get-rid-of-this flags are lumped together). I'm in a different frame of mind when evaluating the three kinds, and it would help to switch less often. (Similarly, when I go through the close list, I usually sort by close reason.)

(If SO moderators don't get this, it would surely be nice for them as well. I know other sites don't, but only SO has so many flags that it matters.)

  • it's currently in random order to ensure a good distribution of eyeballs Commented Jun 4, 2011 at 7:28
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    @Jeff: I understand the goal; but I'd still like at least exact duplicates separate (especially since I consider them the first priority, to avoid duplicate work in answering them). Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 19:06

I feel it's an error to place items voted to be closed/deleted in this list (I actually have a bug report filed on this matter).

When I look in the tools/flags page and see items that are to be closed/deleted and click on "flag", it gives me the option to flag it again.

The problem is that in doing so, the moderators get a flag message and see that it's something that the community is going to handle themselves (through close/delete votes) and then ignore the flag.

And then flag weight goes down. In the case of close/delete votes, I feel it's wrong to include it in this list, as it leads the user down a path that harms their credibility for trying to do the right thing with the tools presented.

  • 2
    when you click flag -> does not belong here ... you get the standard close dialog
    – waffles
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 23:18
  • @waffles: I'm not sure I understand, the standard close dialog does not come up, if you see the images that I posted on the link above you will see that the flag dialog comes up (click on a the flag button for anything that is "not a real question" and you'll see what I mean).
    – casperOne
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 23:26
  • yeah ... will fix
    – waffles
    Commented Jun 4, 2011 at 0:56

A change in the definition of flag weight is surely in order. At the moment, browsing the flag list and piling onto “not an answer” flags is a sure way to make your flag weight skyrocket, even if you don't bother reading the answers. That goes against the goal of flag weight, which is to indicate that you're good at distinguishing the gold from the turd.

Proposal: If you have 10k and flag with a canned message (not an answer, low quality) that someone has used already, your flag weight shouldn't change.

(The obvious abuse is to gratuitously flag with a non-canned message. It's an obvious abuse, as in easy to detect, so expect moderator ire in addition to losing flag weight.)

  • My sentiments exactly. It's like all of the problems with having spam/offensive flags listed (as pointed out in my reactionary post) transferred to the (now visible) canned responses. Commented Jun 11, 2011 at 9:19
  • @Jeff: For spam, I don't think it was actually a bad thing, because the flag pile-on served a purpose: deleting the answer without moderator intervention. For NaA, I might throw in a second flag to confirm, but the sixth NaA flag isn't contributing anything. Commented Jun 11, 2011 at 10:17
  • As far as the spam goes, I think it works better if people have to "find" the spam instead of seeing it listed in the queue. If 2 or more people finds the same post to be spam independently, then it's more likely they could be right. With enough people finding it, it will be deleted eventually, otherwise a mod will get around to it and probably delete it themselves. By having a "directory" of possible problem posts, I think those who actually made the discovery should get the credit for the find, and not necessarily the people that agreed with them. Commented Jun 11, 2011 at 10:24

Something that would help me disposition them would be a more prominent indicator of "question" versus "answer". I have different standards of low quality for each and a visual cue other than looking to my right to see the "asked X hours ago" or "answered X hours ago" text.

Also, when trying to vote duplicate/off-topic I often get the following (Chrome ∞-1): enter image description here

This slows me down :(

  • wait ... can you explain the exact bug?
    – waffles
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 23:21
  • @waffles: Sure so after I click "It doesn't belong here" and disposition with one or two of them it'll just no longer bring up the second menu. Chrome 10.0 (can't upgrade at work, our proxy sucks).
    – user7116
    Commented Jun 4, 2011 at 0:54
  • k, will fix this up
    – waffles
    Commented Jun 4, 2011 at 0:56
  • @waffles: Tentatively looks fixed.
    – user7116
    Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 20:22

I'd like the ability to dismiss/hide posts where I disagree with the flags. So that if I go in and look at that page again before a mod has had time to clear it out, I won't have to look at the same posts where I've already disagreed with the flags.

Possibly this could also be shown as a counter or similar to the mods, so that they can easily tell that a post has been flagged by only one user but a lot of other users disagree with the flag which could indicate that it's probably an invalid flag. Or if the amount of flags are similar to the amount of people that have dismissed the flag, which could indicate that it's something that needs to be looked at a bit more carefully.

  • Yeah, right now there are over 50 flagged items! I cannot keep track of 50 and so end up feeling discouraged and don't participate at all.
    – Kirk Woll
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 16:46
  • 1
    @Kirk Those are only a fraction of all the flags...
    – badp
    Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 8:13
  • @badp, be that as it may, it's still a huge usability issue, IMO. And ho1's suggestion would go a long way toward addressing it.
    – Kirk Woll
    Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 14:55
  • this is now possible; simply flag as "disagree with this flag" Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 4:06
  • Don't see that option at the moment, but probably I have to wait for the next build. But this is awesome news, thanks @Jeff!
    – Kirk Woll
    Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 4:18
  • @kirk it has been there for 48 hours or more, look closely in the flag reasons. Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 4:19
  • @Jeff, ack, it's there. Sorry to waste your time. And thanks! :)
    – Kirk Woll
    Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 4:32

I think it would be beneficial for mods and 10ks if for certain flag types, it would highlight additional supporting factors for the flag.

e.g., Suppose there was a flag stating a post is off-topic and belongs on some other site. Chances are, it came from a user who doesn't have close voting privileges. So it could be useful to know that there are currently x close votes for the same exact reason.

So far the only additional statistics we see are the question title, the post's score, a snippet of the post, the post owner and when they joined, and if an answer, when the question was asked. I don't think it would clutter up the interface too much if it were to show actual close counts.

Also while we're on the topic, we're 10ks and we already have the ability to vote to close. Wouldn't it be better to show a link to the close dialog instead of a link to the flag dialog?

  • 1
    Side question(s): What determines whether a listed flag is "blurred?" As shown in this image. Here's the linked question. Does it mean they were dismissed or some action was taken? If that's the case, should we be able to see that? Why would the newer flags be blurred then and not the first? Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 9:20
  • I guess I found my answer to my side question: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/81025/… It was dismissed (though it looked wierd the newer one was dismissed and the older one wasn't). Commented Jun 7, 2011 at 20:37

Personally, I think it might be better to change the layout a bit so that it is easier to agree or disagree with existing flags. For example, to agree with a flag takes one click, a popup and another click, similarly for disagreeing. I think agreeing and disagreeing are the most common actions for "tools/flagged" so it would be easier to have buttons like:

[ agree ]   [ disagree ]   [ flag... ]

Although... now that I think of it this may lead to a number of 'shotgun agrees', but maybe a time limit between agrees could help?


I would like to ask for processed flags(i.e. the ones I have taken some action upon) to either get hidden or get moved to the buttom of the queue. Actually ideally they should move to another queue that is specific for each user and is called processed. Otherwise if I process 10 out of 15 flags it gets really hard to find which ones I haven't processed yet.

My style of dealing with the flags is to first process the ones that are obvious(some simple cases of not an answer for instance) and only then get back to more complicated cases.

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