Unnecessary Flagging

I think people need to stop flagging literally every post. Recently I’ve been getting flagged on stuff that doesn’t fall into any of the flagging categories or has anything malicious in anyway. I was just recently flagged because I told someone that the permissions on something I was selling was set to public because he told me it was private.


While this may come off as…“hostile”, it is not my intent.

If you’ve been flagged enough to hide the post, more than one person disagreed with your post. I believe the threshold is something around 3 people by default (though admins can tinker with the thresholds). Flags go to the admins, so if the flags were unjustified, they can be reversed easily.

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We’re actively looking into ways of addressing uses of the flagging system that we disagree with. It’s a difficult issue to address, particularly because of current limitations by the forum software that we’re working on overcoming.

We’ve been creating focus groups to discuss the culture of the DevForum with some users who have voiced concerns and given great feedback, so rest assured we’re looking into the issue of hostile/confused flagging :slight_smile:

As a side note, I restored the post you’re talking about in particular and I’m following up to figure out some rules that could be a bit clearer (for the sake of posting and flagging alike).


Facts, I literally was gonna make a post haive this, I swear but I thought I would get flagged. And when it gets flagged as spam, but you were the first person to make the post, it so annoying.

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This was happening to me a lot! I was posting constructive criticism comments but they just keep getting deleted! It is really frustrating not being able to express your opinion, even though you followed the rules. The flag is being abused.

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Flagging is good – you should flag things you think are inappropriate to the forum, even if unsure.

The problem is that Discourse’s threshold for automatically hiding posts based on flags is way too low. It’s not set up properly for large, hyper-active communities like this one.

We’re working on some plugins and other stuff to fix this soon™, so that it takes way more flags to hide a post. That way, false flags don’t have as much impact and the problem should be resolved.

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Now that I think about it, a flag quota would be good. You get, say 2 flags a month, up to like 5 total. If you flag something, you loose a flag. If the post breaks the rules or the cause for concern was reasonable, you get the flag back as soon as an admin reads it. If it was obvious that it doesn’t break the rules, then you loose the flag and have to wait until you get more to replenish it. It would be difficult to do because of discourse, but it could work.

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That seems rather complex. I think 95% of the problem will be solved by just having a much higher auto-hide-flag-threshold, it’s a simpler solution to the problem and we’ll be shipping this to the forum very soon (hopefully within 2 weeks). If people constantly flag maliciously then staff can reprimand them for that.

2-5 flags a month is way too few – I typically use 10-15 flags a week (correctly) myself. Flags are just to bring a moderator’s attention to the post, so you should use them as often as you think is needed. The posts being auto-hidden too quickly is really the issue here, not the fact that people flag at all.

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In my opinion, a should-flag-be-hidden logic should think…

  • Is the poster trusted?
  • Does the poster have a moderation history
  • Do the flaggers have many helpful flags?
  • How new is the poster?
  • The poster’s previous posts— have they had agrees flags?

The trick is that if the flag itself is reasonable (like, it breaks the rules, or it is understandable that you would flag) then you get the flag back. Only if it is an unreasonable flag (like, flagging off-topic in #bulletin-board) would you loose it. What it really does, is add a cost that would make people think, is this really breaking the rules. The issue isnt the threshold. Its that people are flagging in the first place.

If I am perfectly honest I don’t think your idea will solve the real issue with flagging as the real issue is that posts get hidden too quickly. As @buildthomas said, increasing the auto hide flag threshold should solve the issue and it is a much simpler solution to implement. If they decided to go with your solution I feel it will defeat the idea of flagging.

Remember each flag is reviewed by a forum moderator and they ultimately decide what happens to the post/user. If a moderator feels a user is misusing they flag system I am assuming they notify the user. I would need some clarification on this though.

I would like to add my little part to this issue. I think another cause of unnecessary flagging is that users aren’t properly educated on what is right and wrong when they first join the forum. People are only advised to read the rules and guidelines before posting and not forced to.

This brings me onto say that I think users should be required to read some form of rules before they are even promoted to new-member making it more of a requirement. This will make sure everyone is familiar with how the forum works and the expectations before they are even allowed to post and flag.

As mentioned in my previous post this is a little too complex. It would take too much development time for little benefit over simpler solutions. Increasing the auto-hide flag threshold will solve most of the problems related to flagging and is a few-liner plugin change compared to writing a whole new system to handle flags as you suggest.

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