What are Flags and how do they work?

Flagging is an in-built moderation measure in Discourse, intended to dissuade bad behavior and spam, as well as to promote civilised discourse. If you want to raise an issue about a post without derailing the topic at hand, the best course of action is usually to flag it.

By default, clicking the flag button will present a user with the following options:

  • Message @sam
    I want to talk to this person directly and privately about their post.

  • It’s Off-Topic
    This post is not relevant to the current discussion as defined by the title and first post, and should probably be moved elsewhere.

  • It’s Inappropriate
    This post contains content that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or a violation of our community guidelines.

  • It’s Spam
    This post is an advertisement. It is not useful or relevant to the current topic, but promotional in nature.

  • Something Else
    This post requires moderator attention for another reason not listed above.

Marking a post as Off-Topic, Inappropriate or Spam will trigger a moderator notification so moderators may review the issue in their flag queue. Furthermore, this also “casts a flag” on the post, which has other consequences:

  • A user whose posts have accumulated 5 flags can not reach TL3.
    • These flags do not revert, however for TL3 only flags within the last 100 days are counted.
    • Only flags that a staff member agrees with count towards this limit. If a staff member ignores or disagrees with a flag, it isn’t counted as far as TL3 is concerned.
  • A post with 3 flags will be automatically hidden. Users may click-to-view the post.
    • A staff member can use the “Take Action” button, which will cause this to happen immediately.
    • When a post is automatically hidden due to flags, the user receives a PM informing them their post was flagged. After 10 minutes, the user may edit their post and it will be unhidden.
      If another 3 flags occur, the post will be hidden again and editing will not unhide the post.
  • A new (TL0) user whose post is flagged as spam 3 times from 3 different users will have all their posts hidden as a result.
  • If after 48 hours a flag is still in the flag queue without any action taken, an automatic PM will be sent to all moderators.
  • A topic with 12 unresolved flags from at least 5 different users will be automatically closed until the moderators can intervene.

Note: All values mentioned above are the default settings. They can be changed by admins in site settings.

Also worth a read: So What Exactly Happens when you "Flag"?