What are Flags and how do they work?

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #1

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"?

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(omfg) #2

From this I conclude I should stop using flags as to-do reminders for posts I need to update.

(Kane York) #3

Yep, you should be using bookmarks or an external tool that helps you keep a list of URLs (you know, like the browser bookmark feature, or Pinboard) for that.


This option, as it says, is not a flag. I implemented this on my current site as “Reply Privately”

I can see the advantage of consolidating this in the Flag menu (to keep the interface elements limited) but I think many people will not find it.

(omfg) #5

I thought of that, but nothing beats the awesome “reminder icon” feature of flags in your Discourse UI :slight_smile:

(Jacob Hoffman-Andrews) #6

Great post, thanks. In my experience, I think flagging a post as a moderator immediately hides it. Is that accurate? Is it true of only certain flag reasons?

(Jeff Atwood) #7

If you press the Take Action button instead of just Flag, then yes, otherwise no.

(Eli the Bearded) #8

TL3 or TL4 flagging as spam immediately replaces TL0 posts with “hidden by community”. That could be what he means.

(Jeff Atwood) #9

I don’t think that applies to moderators, but good point.

(Jeff Atwood) split this topic #10

4 posts were split to a new topic: My posts are being unfairly flagged as spam

(Jeff Atwood) closed #14