Please distinguish flags for "bad" things from organizational and "please help" flags

Apologies if this is already discussed — it’s hard to know what to search for.[1]

Right now, although users can select why they are flagging something, all flags seem to be treated equally in the review queue — and they all go on the “permanent record” of the person whose post got flagged. I mean, I know you can filter by “Type”, but they still notify staff in the same way.

I would like to encourage people to flag posts (including their own) which could benefit from curation but aren’t problematic per se.

That is, for things like:

  • Please move topic to a different category, or add or remove tags[2]
  • This (and possibly replies) should be split to new topic
  • This topic is a duplicate – please merge into this other topic[3]
  • I can’t edit my own post anymore but need to make an important update
  • other similar things that I can’t think of right now

… I’d like:

  • A different notification indicator (different color and shape)
  • No permanent record
  • Won’t hide the post or anything like that
  • Not treated as a negative for TL

We could try to train people to not flag for these things, but instead post in our Help category or send a PM, but that feels like more trouble for users and less likely to be used.

  1. and the new AI search didn’t find anything either ↩︎

  2. bonus feature – allow suggested tag and category changes, allow review/action at a configurable TL, and automatic action based on enough agreement at even lower TL ↩︎

  3. I’d really love first-class mark-as-duplicate support, a la Stack Exchange ↩︎


hmmm. why does an unaccepted flag (answering NO in review queue) to delete the flag still count as a flagged post against the user?

i tend to agree with this - i get users flagging duplicate topics or posts that need to be moved. these cases need a moderator yes, but not an actual negative “flag”.


I agree as well—this is a great suggestion. Tangentially: I find the flag system very confusing in general. For example, when it says “so-and-so has X helpful flags” in a user profile, is that other people flagging that user’s posts as helpful? Or is it that user flagging posts for moderator attention and those moderators responding affirmatively to those flags? I know it is the latter, but every time I read that phrasing I have to think for a moment again to remember what it means. Maybe a feature like this could also provide some space to tweak how flag-related information is presented in general?


you can change the text to something you prefer in the text replacement console via admin-customize-text. the two strings you want to edit will be in:

or you can search “helpful flag” in the search field there.


I do too. It’s perhaps the only aspect of Discourse where I feel this way. When I’ve dealt with a flag, I set it to ‘Ignore’ because that feels like it should have fewest side-effects.


Agreed, we use flags to allow users notify mods of exceptional replies and then we award them a custom badge, but flagging doesn’t make sense for this in it’s current state. And yeah, I dislike the flag system as well. Very confusing!


We have been going down a giant rabbit hole here trying to understand all of this… and it goes so deep.

Only way to count flags for trust level is for spam_count or inappropriate_count to be larger than 0. So this whole topic started from a bit of a misunderstanding…

  • when a post is flagged as spam/inappropriate count goes up.
  • if mod says … oops this was a bad flag… count goes down.

You always could do whatever you wanted with “something else…” flags, and it would not count towards TL or anything. Only impact was in the UX on the user page. Where you actually may want to find this information…

Which also opens the hornets nest that was being opened in the OP.

something else... this post is terrible and abusive
something else... this post is fantastic person needs a badge

In both cases the flag is helpful
in the first case the flag is an indicator of a bad post and arguably should be a TL penalty.
in the second it is not.

I get this is all massively complicated, overly complicated, but I am not sure about the OP here. It is proposing adding even more complexity on top of this complexity:

Arguably our TL algorithm is broken at the moment… Admin said

Hey, something is wrong with this post per big red box

But we just did nothing with that info.

The incoherence here is around:

  • Is the review flag and actions on flags about the post being bad vs good


  • is the review flag and actions on flag about the flag and the flag being useful or not

Breaking it down a bit more:

  1. What should count as penalty for TL?
  2. What hyperlinks should we show on a user page? (every time a user was flagged regardless of outcome? every time a user flagged regardless of outcome? outcome based links flag is good vs bad?)

The more you peel this onion the more layers there are and the more complex all of this feels.


So I guess after reading through this code and looking at weird and wonderful things like “user accuracy bonus” which is given based on “how good you are at flagging”… my proposals would be:

  1. Change all something else... flags so they don’t count for auto hiding. (currently, pile on something else… flags can trigger a hide afaik)
  2. For something else... flags change the text “Is there something wrong with this post?” to “Was this flag helpful?”. That is more coherent with flagging system.
  3. Don’t make changes to add nuance for TL counting around something else…
  4. Allow mods to trivially reach the list of good and bad flags a user made from the profile
  5. Allow mods to trivially reach the legitimate things other people flagged that was theirs, possibly split “something else… / offtopic” legit from spam/inappropriate legit… for parity with trust levels
  6. I wish I understood ignore.

Its a very complicated series of changes … for sure.


This is what my mods keep saying too. :laughing:


Funnily enough I use “ignore” because I don’t feel confident I understand the implications of anything else.

A very useful distinction, above, I think, about helpful vs unhelpful flags, on the one hand, and good vs bad posts on the other.


This is something I have been thinking about for a while to some degree.

For the forum, I mod on a lot of flags that shouldn’t stop somebody’s TL. For example, duplicate topics are flagged for be closed or merged. But than there are something else flags that should (like sometimes people use something else for spam or inappropriate).

So mabey have the option to count it towards TLs or not so the mod can change it on a per-flag basis

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A little toggle box labeled “Count against TL3” or similar would work there I think.

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I think when a person clicks the flag icon, there should be a modal or drop down that asks if the flag is for content violation or to ask for help. Then the flag system should route it appropriately from that point.


Some things have changed since I first posted this, but, I think (in addition to some of the behind-the-scenes stuff you discuss), the biggest improvement would come from splitting “Something Else” into “Something Else Problematic” and “Something Else (Message Staff Privately)”.

The former would go into the review queue; the second into moderator messages. The message option could even be moved to the top, near “message the poster directly”…

This is because (as I think I said somewhere up in the OP), I want to encourage people to flag posts that need curation or other attention.

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