Raise the required number of flags to hide a post

I believe that the current automatic hiding system is being used no longer as a method to prevent against obviously bad content before it can be moderated by a proper moderator, and more as a censorship tool for a small number of people here who have been encouraged by the low flag count (2-3 if I recall) to use it as their own mini-moderation tool.


Here is an example of a clearly pointless flag - I was trying to tag the author of the code snippet, who (as a result of being tagged) actually provided the final solution. No rule was broken, and I am confident moderation staff will review this to be completely pointless, however there are people who flagged this with the intention of hiding it because they do not agree with that kind of cross-referencing or notification.

It’s ridiculous and there are many more examples, and many more examples of this happening across the forums - I propose it stops here, and propose we raise the flag count required for automatic content hiding to at least 5 members.


Different trust levels could also receive different flag weights, if this isn’t already the case. For example, it may take one top contributor, two members, or four new members to hide a post due to flagging.


Flag weights are a good idea, but the only problem here is that there will be always enough new members who will just flag it.
Maybe it would be a consideration to require at least one flag from a member or higher along with the other new member flags for a post to get hidden. This of course has it’s downsides because when no member sees a post (because it is in Bulletin Board or elsewhere no one naturally looks) then the post will just roam freely there visible to everyone, so maybe make this requirement only in certain categories that members are active in.


I think raising the specific number of flags would be fine, but SimplyData’s suggestion of requiring a specific trust level also flag a post, would lead to no or extremely little posts being hidden at all. I still trust that even if enough new members get behind falsely flagging a post, the forum mods will review it and make an accurate assessment of the content. Also, this isn’t a recurring problem, most of the posts flagged (the one mentioned in the original post was 1 in 1000) are either in violation of the rules, or are just generally low-quality posts that skirt narrowly around the rules. Obviously the one mentioned was false, but again, it should be a common occurrence before we resort to extremes, like requiring a Member also flag the post for it to be hidden at all.


I’m honestly happy with any discussion of solutions considering this has been plaguing the forums for a while now.

The flagging threshold was already increased last week, so there should no longer be any issues with posts being hidden from just one flag.

I asked DevEng about this one for this reason. It turns out this was actually hidden because of a moderator interacting with the post, since it didn’t have enough flags for the threshold. They are looking into why the post ended up hidden.

I see that the post has been restored since writing this, hope that solves the issue.

PS: The flag setting is not “number of flags”, it’s a bit more complicated than that since a recent Discourse update, takes into account credibility of reporter too and weights it based on that. That’s why they had to manually re-adjust the setting last week.