Flagging and You! - A Guide to Flags


#1

There has been a lot of talk lately about flagging and the forums and how things work. We’ve been working on a few things to try and help with this, and one of them is trying to make it clearer for people on HOW the flagging system works. Most of this is available from the Discourse FAQs (https://meta.discourse.org/t/so-what-exactly-happens-when-you-flag/275/3) (https://meta.discourse.org/t/what-are-flags-and-how-do-they-work/32783) however some of it is out of date (eg the trust system was never fully implemented by Discourse), and in other cases we’ve tweaked the numbers a bit. Also quick terminology clarification, I’ll be using moderators a lot in this post, and this refers to anyone who is a moderator or above, so this will include admins and devs.

To start with, what happens when you flag a post?
Visibly nothing will happen if you are the first person to flag the post. However the flag gets added to the moderation list.

If x or more people flag a post then the post it automatically hidden and the message “This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.” is displayed. Other users are able to view it by clicking “View hidden content”, while moderators will see the whole post, albeit dimmed to signify it’s hidden.

If your post gets hidden by the community you should be sent an automated message informing you. At this point you have an opportunity to edit your post to correct it, at which point it will be unhidden. If it get’s flagged again, then a moderator will have to manually handle the flag.

Now for the moderator side of things. Flags get added to the flag queue and are sorted in a FILO (First In Last Out) or a push stack order, so more recent flags are at the top. A moderator has to look at each flag and decide to agree or disagree with it. If they agree, then the flag “sticks” and is counted against the user (this can affect things such as obtaining and maintaining Regular status). If the moderator disagrees with the flag however, the flag is discarded, and not counted against the poster in any way. If the post was hidden due to flags, it is then unhidden when the moderator disagrees with the flag.

Flag Types:
Send the user a message: This lets you privately message the user about the post, and should generally be your first choice when dealing with a post.

It’s Off-Topic: This is for posts that are not relevant to the original post and should probably be discussed elsewhere.

It’s Inappropriate: It’s offensive, abusive, or otherwise against community guidelines.

It’s Spam: It’s either an advertisement, vandalism, or a spambot.

Something Else: This requires attention for a reason not covered by the above flags. Allows you to specify the reason. Please don’t use this for topics that fall under the above flags.

Also please do not flag a post just because you disagree with what was said in it. Just because the posters view doesn’t align with your’s doesn’t make the post Spam, Inappropriate or Off-Topic.

There is an inbuilt Discourse feature where threads will auto lock themselves if there are a large number of unhanded community flags. After a set period of time (4 hours in our case) threads will unlock themselves again. However if no moderator has had a chance to look at the thread in those four hours the thread will relock itself as the initial condition of too many unhandled flags is still true. There has been a misconception on the forums that once a thread opens after an unlock that it needs more flags to relock itself, this is not necessarily the case. We have increased the threshold for the number of unhandled flags before a thread autolocks, so we shouldn’t see it happen as often.

And to clear up some common questions: Yes moderators can see who flags a post and for what reason. And yes we can still see posts hidden by the community (as well as any edits made to a post).

Salty will also be updating the Community Guidelines later today.


#2

If you flag me i flag you :stuck_out_tongue:


#3

Does the “Send the user a message” add to the flag queue of the moderators or is it just a way of getting in touch with the author of a post?


#4

It is just a way of getting in touch with the author.

Also Moderators can see that this has happened (Someone sent a message to the user), but not the contents of the message.


#6


#7

Both reasons are completly subjective… Once I have to argue with someone to proof that what I said wasn’t out-of topic… Same for offensive: there are some people here that are over-sensible and feel that the World is against them…

In all cases, flags seems a too much powerful tool in the hands of players… Is it not more reasonable to remove flag effects by putting very high number for the thresholds?

There are also nothing about the “close thread” issue because of flags :wink: .


#8

Salty just posted about flag abuse.


#9

Here you go!


#10

This is the first forum I’ve belonged to in a long time where I wasn’t able to edit or delete comments in a thread I’ve created. Give us that privilege and a lot of the flags will go away. If someone feels so strongly about making some point you want deleted from your own thread they can make their own topic to discuss.
edit if its a public topic created by Dev’s etc of course you have no control and have to use the flag system implemented above


#11

I’ve been a member of many game forums and none of them worked like that. That sort of power would be easily abused by people deleting posts just because they don’t like a particular post or the poster. An open forum shouldn’t become an echo chamber.

Beyond that, this forum is built on Discourse. I doubt they offer that capability. They don’t even provide a “real” mute feature.


#12

Well if they wanted to slow the flagging it would work immediately. I don’t care if “my thread” becomes an “echo chamber” as your state as don’t many others not everyone is posting to have a “town hall” meeting, often times it to have a direct message we want some control over. Like a guild recruitment post, that shouldn’t be allowed to go into 16 pages of babbling by trolls because the mods don’t have any issue with it (just an imaginary example but something that can and does happen in many thread that are derailed by members for pages and are never cleaned up).
Think of like Facebook that is exactly what they do for anything you post it is “yours” if perhaps you are worried about something being “an echo chamber” than the quick fix to that is create your own thread and don’t monitor or control it. Problem solved (although I don’t see the OP having control as a problem).


#13

This isn’t Facebook. It’s an open discussion game forum. This is how most of them are structured and for good reason. Once they ban a couple of silly people for abusing the flagging system, the flagging abuse will die down considerably. This forum didn’t even have this problem a few months ago.


#14

I, personally, don’t believe in using the Flagging System for Off-Topic. Mainly, because, as with most forums, threads derail all the time.

@Ozball Is there anyway to look at if Off-topic should be a flag-able offense?

I know I’ve only flagged a few (under 5?) posts in two years. Basically a couple where an argument was going way off the rails past civil to hostile (The Match Makers - Anonymous post), some profanity, and one other.

My rule of thumb is if I wouldn’t be willing to interrupt a coworker to address something, than its not worth a flag.

Heck, the mods here are WAY more tolerant than I would be.