So What Exactly Happens when you "Flag"?

(Adam Gurri) #1

Didn’t want to just go and do it to anyone, but was wondering what the sequence of events was when you flag something. Does something pop up next to the topic link saying that it’s been flagged? Are you notified after you open the topic?

Just curious. Very excited for this.

What happens when you flag a post?
What are Flags and how do they work?
What about the spam problem?
(Jeff Atwood) #3

What happens when you flag something?

For a single flag, the post appears in the staff flag queue. Staff can review the flag and choose which action to take, including hiding the post, deleting the post, ignoring the flag, and more. For full details on flag handling by staff, see the Discourse Moderation Guide.

If a post receives multiple flags before staff can handle it via the flag queue:

  1. “Enough” trust level 1+ users must flag a post. By default this is 3 flags, but 1 trust level 3-4 flag is needed if the post flagged is from a trust level 0 user. Remember that new trust level 0 users don’t have the ability to flag.

  2. The post in question is immediately hidden:

    • the post author sees

      Your post was flagged by the community. Please see your messages.

    • the community sees

      This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden. View hidden content.

    • staff sees the actual post, as posted, in a dimmed state to indicate it has been hidden for others.

  3. A very friendly private message is sent to the author of the post, describing what happened, in the friendliest imaginable language, and letting them know that for {flag type} a considered edit of any kind is enough to un-hide the post.

Also of note: there is a bit of a “cooling off interval” where a post is hidden but cannot be edited by its author. This is configurable, but is set to 10 minutes after reaching the flag threshold by default. As a weird side note, this can open up very old posts, say 5 years old, to editing that would not normally be editable because they are far beyond the default allowed owner edit interval, which is 6 months.

Now some what ifs.

  • The post author edits, the post is un-hidden and nothing else happens: success! No harm no foul, and notably no formal moderators had to be around for this to work!

  • The post author does not edit, does not appeal: the post is never un-hidden. If a post stays hidden for 30 days, it is automatically deleted.

  • Moderator manually

    • disagrees with flags Post is unhidden.

    • agrees with flags. Post stays hidden.

    • ignores flags. Nothing happens. Post stays hidden. Posts hidden for more than 30 days are automatically deleted.

If the same post is hidden a second round of flags, the flags must now be manually handled by a moderator at that point, there is no automatic unhiding through edit possible.

(Note that a repeated set of flags from the same folks over and over on the same user should be discounted. We want a wide range of trusted users to think a person’s post is offensive, not the same people over and over.)

The goal here is for the community to be able to protect itself from the worst users, even without a moderator present. But it works even better with a moderator, as the moderator can accelerate the process by handling the appeals.

Or you could disable it altogether, and go back to a world where every raised flag must be manually handled by an official mod, if that’s how you roll. But this is on by default.

How can I remove a "flag for off topic"
Moderators cannot flag a message after it has been unhidden after a first flag?
Vicious flagging/editing cycle
Directly removing post does not utilize the Trust System?
3 flags of any kind should auto-hide a post
Duplicate/Should Have Searched flags
Any way for a user to find out Discourse site settings?
Cross-Discourse Quoting
(Joshua Rosenfeld) split this topic #5

11 posts were split to a new topic: Should users gain/lose trust based on flag actions?

(Adam Capriola) #16
  1. Is this suggesting that flagging is meant for non-moderators? Should moderators take more direct action?

  2. I really think mods should get a notification when the user edits their post so they can view and make sure it’s ok. I will flag a post + hide a post and think it’s done with, but then maybe I come back later and see all the user has done is add one of these to their post: :stuck_out_tongue:

    The edited post should be part of the flag workflow (flag threshold hit, mods accept or decline, user edits post, mods then accept or decline the edit, etc.). Allowing a post to be flagged a second time seems like an unnecessarily added step to me; let it take one flag and be sure the issue is resolved.

(Wolftune) #17

I actually really prefer the approach where you don’t need mods to step in. That’s the best part of Discourse’s approach to flagging. But the concern about getting notified about edits is spot on. However, it should be the flaggers who flagged in the first place getting the notification IMO, not the mods getting notified:

I opened this: Notification to flagger(s) when a flagged post is edited?

I disagree about that. That pushes against the learn-by-editing approach. The goal is not just that one post is fixed, the goal is that people learn to avoid the bad patterns overall, and if it takes some people more than one edit to learn what’s acceptable, fine.

(Jeff Atwood) #18

Yes, agreed, this has bugged me for a long time.

The sad reality is that so few posts get flagged to threshold, and then edited, that we have precious little signal to work with.