During some routine flag handling, our staff encountered a situation where a user had his PMs set to a whitelist that did not include moderators. As such, we were not able to privately address the flag with the user without getting a forum admin involved to manually add the user to the private message thread.
Our moderator issued a flag under the “something else” workflow, then attempted to add the user whose post is in question. From there, the moderator go the message “Sorry, that user does not allow you to send them private messages.”
While I understand the value users hold in wanting to keep their inbox free from spam, I believe that moderators should have the ability to override this preference for purposes of settling issues in a private manner.
I propose a flag in forum settings to allow moderators to override PM whitelists.