Lack of Effective Flag Integrity Controls

Continuing the discussion from Is diversity of opinion of benefit to community health?:

I would like to see Flagging integrity. Staff & Category Mods should not be allowed to manage flags they are the target of or the originator of said flag.

Definite flaw in the Discourse setup. This needs a technical solution.

NOTR: Very disappointed that a great topic was closed because of it’s broad scope. At a mere suggestion of “sub topic explosion”. This topic could have been allowed to continue & mature with child topics being started linked ti parent topic. Very counter productive imho - For Civil Discourse to be encouraged; diversity in a topic needs to flow unabated when no aggressive conflict exists. Guide flows instead of hard stops.


I have not read the other topic you linked to.

How would that work on all the instances where there is only one staff user? :thinking:


Well if only 1 staff member either a site toggle could be used. Or…
Only 1 Admin can create a 2nd mod user. Only 1 staff member is more of a very unique situation.

Plus a Single Staff member is Admin and can do things no user can do including mod level users. :wink:

1 Like

Great question, believe the answer is: It would not work.

For a community forum where there are disagreements between moderator staff and user accounts, if a moderator is being flagged, they can’t really respond well to that kind of flag generally speaking. As in a police officer wouldn’t usually issue a parking ticket for his own squad car.


With a Single staff Site. The Staff Member is Admin. Admin account(s) have the ultimate level of control abd are not affected by majority of rules.

ie regardless of Category Security an Admin can create/reply/see

A moderator account follows Category security rules. If Moderators are not given access to a private category they cannot see it.

It can be even a good idea to create a separate account for Moderation with your admin account more for direct admin duties vs hybriding

A few times members have dm me due to a tooic I created they couldn’t respond to. :person_facepalming:


Being the target or the originator of a flag feels like two separate cases. Preventing a mod from managing flags that they had created seems like it would impact a mod’s workflow. For example, a mod might flag a post as spam and then go back later to handle the flag from the review queue.

The case of a moderator being the target of a flag feels like a tricky one. I suspect that for cases like this, a site’s moderators will need to consider the situation together as a team. The risk is that flags could be used in an attempt to pit moderators against each other.

The question in that topic’s OP is something I’m interested in. This may be an unreasonable request on my part, but I’m helping to moderate Meta for the next week while a few team members get a much needed break. Instead of questioning the decision to close the topic, could we just accept the suggestion to create separate topics to deal with the various sub issues that were brought up in the topic’s responses?


Pretty much everything I’ve tried to discuss has been closed & sanctioned.

Everything has been discussed with mature, experienced, balance, useful counter poise of opinion working towards meaningful exploration of serious topic by all participants Discussion that would inform design & ethics in software development “for the next generation of digital community” in ways I have current pro-bono involvement in 1) medical ethics/ chronic care & research and 2) corporate governance leading to framing/ refining an iso standard

I’d would welcome some moderation of the moderation

1 Like

I intend to to invite folk to private discussion. I asked for a group with out reply

A simple solution is to restore a Mod/Admin ability ti hide a single post. Now if the Spam in question is from a bot account. Delete and Suspend/delete user works well

The Spam post gets hidden and another Mod team member can review and can validate the flag.

Imho that leaves temptation in play. A really good mod team that is in sync can work…But if a technical solution option is available it ensures compliance.

Mods have a wealth of fools available. ie.

  1. Select posts
  2. Move to new topic
  3. Make topic private
  4. Invite Moderators

If needed give user a temp silence say 3days to a week. Notify user in dm need to wait for other mods on this issue.

Very true the team is in need of a very deserved break. And likely why lately at times moderation here is feeling off/rash at times.

1 Like

Another way of thinking about the problem would be to find a technical solution that allows moderation to be more transparent.

For the community category in general, I think conversations will be more productive if we don’t use it as a place to discussion issues with the moderation of the Discourse Meta forum. The site feedback category would be more appropriate for those discussions. It’s a fine line. I know I’ve crossed it myself in the past.

This is outside of my responsibility.

Edit: this seems like a good example use case for “user created groups.” Users could be allowed to create groups that other users were free to join. That idea has been brought up a few times.


Don’t need to create PMs just create Separate topics that are focused branches of your original topic.

1 Like

But my public topics get turned into PM’s without debate & closed - I’ve more than 1 example.

That is good they have this category here, was thinking of starting a topic there.

For this one topic about the flag system this was initially speaking in general about that not specifically about any one forum.

Meta has a lot of traffic with about 150 posts a day, difficult for anyone to filter through that kind of volume. My overall impression being new here is this is kind of like an auto shop for taxis, and for talk about how to run a taxi service. Not at all like the backseat of a taxi cab like other forum pages may be.


I think it’s important to create topics which allow people to contribute meaningfully to a discussion, rather than ones which try to cover too much ground.

For instance, this topic is a mixture of several different elements all introduced in the OP which I don’t think allows anyone to contribute to any of them fully. It’s a community topic, but which appears to be floating the idea of a new feature for flagging. Though the quoted text is concerning an agreed/disagreed flag score which doesn’t seem connected to that [1]. It also goes on to criticise a moderation decision on the site. And because the replies are interwoven with a little of each within the same posts, it’s also impossible to split out or bring back on-topic in any meaningful way. :person_shrugging:

I think when creating a topic, it’s important to decide what you want it to be about, as a topic can’t be about all things at once without leading to a fractured and ultimately unproductive conversation.

Obviously, all sites are different and may have different approaches to this, and should be free to do so. :rainbow:

We tend to make our decisions as a team here on Meta. :+1:

As for the feature request itself, I think you have to trust your admins and mods to make the right choices. They do have a good sense of what is or isn’t expected, and will often work as a team to achieve this. There’s also some good reports on the dashboard you can use as oversight too, depending on the size of your team (or you can create bespoke ones if you have the data explorer if they don’t suit).

So, what do we do with this topic? Recategorise and retitle it to properly reflect what it’s about? There doesn’t seem to be an obvious choice for that. There also doesn’t seem to be a good split point for making it two (or more topics). Or do we close it and encourage the feature to be made into a feature topic and the ux into a ux topic, and draw a line under the fact that sometimes topics need to be closed at a moderator’s discretion to handle these situations?

  1. (and which, slightly tangentially, already exists. Though recently downplayed in the flag UI as we didn’t think anyone was using it. Potentially a good ux review-queue topic :+1:) ↩︎


Maybe recategorize. Perhaps ux maybe as this could likely be made as a theme-component that can always if the team feels could eventually be part of core much like pm bubbles did.

It might be an idea if you to select posts not related to idea. To be put in a separate community topic on ideas how to manage broad topices.

Ie Could be made as parent discussion that idea points become child new topics. But that would be more a starting point…

As for trust vs a control. We know how well trust works with for example Speeding in community safe zones or speeding itself. We are at a tech level where cars can be made with controls to limited to potentially eliminate unsafe driving related to speed.


How does that relate to flagging score? A mod who flags members posts boosts their flagging for helpful flags. Sure it is great to simply say choose your mod team wisely. In some scenarios it is a company head that decides who has moderator level; so a simple option to ensure integrity thst does not rely on rhe human condition can be preferred. “lead not into temptation

1 Like

One challenge is that there is a difference between what is moderation and what is editing/indexing for a historical record.

Many rivers meander while still on course to the sea.


If this is related to exploding subtopics; Lets move it here

1 Like

I would recommend a new title for this topic thread, unless you stand by your claim that there is no integrity system for flags. That is a bold claim I don’t agree with that.

There is a limitation to the flag system, yes, but to proclaim there is no integrity seems foolish. If that were true, this would not be the place to report that.

Integrity system tbh my opinion on this is still true.

I had a mod that was bumping his flagging score because he would flag posts unrelated honestly to moderation…Of ppl he simply disagreed with their pov. (Very clear example of mod abuse).

When a flag is not validated(agreed) and disagreed with the Flagger’s scores % droppeds.

This metric is in place I believe in part to give the mod team an idea if a flagger is maybe one who might be abusing flagging system.

But will modify title to suit better.


This topic reminds me of meta-moderation. And that reminds me of George Santayana’s

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

I would recommend

  • looking into slashdot’s metamoderation
  • looking into moderation of hacker news
  • looking into kuro5hin’s deliberate experiment of abandonment
  • looking to metafilter’s moderation and culture
  • looking into reddit’s moderation story and history

Some of those can be said to have failed, some of them offer valuable lessons, a couple of them continue to function very well after very many years.

I imagine there will be other histories too, which I’m not familiar with. Digg, perhaps. Lobsters? Delicious? And of course we have the Fediverse, with Mastodon instances, Diaspora instances, and others. There might be lessons from Google+ especially the Communities feature.

However, I might note that all the above are sites with the intent of scaling up and being self-governing. Discourse sites, I think, are more contained, and are governed and curated.

1 Like