When and How to flag a Post

Flags are an important part of maintaining a civil community on CC. Flags allow users to identify questionable or inappropriate content for review, or in some cases, automatically take action as a result of multiple flags. To flag a post, use the little flag icon next to the Reply button:
Screen Shot 2021-04-28 at 11.01.28 AM

or at the bottom of the thread:

Should I flag posts?

Yes! If you see a post that is off-topic, spam, inappropriate or otherwise violates our Forum Rules or Terms of Service, flag it!

Who can flag posts?

Anyone who is not a new user can cast a flag on any post (except staff member posts).

Will anyone know that I flagged a post?

Only staff (mods and admins) will know who cast a flag. The author of the post will not know.

Will something always happen if I flag a post?

An action may occur as a result of your flag, but it is not guaranteed. Keep reading for what happens after you cast a flag…

What happens when a flag is cast?

When you flag a post, it appears in a review queue for the moderators. Staff, as well as category moderators, can then review the flagged content to decide what to do. Options may include agreeing with the flag, disagreeing with the flag, and ignoring the flag. Additionally, staff can hide the post, triggering an automatic PM to the user encouraging them to edit the post; silence the user; suspend the user; or delete the post.

Flags from some well trusted users might perform automatic actions like hiding. If a user has a high trust level and their previous flags have been agreed with often by moderators, their flags will be more likely to automatically hide bad content.

What happens when a post gets multiple flags?

If a post receives multiple flags and does not receive a staff action, an automatic action will occur. There is a threshold for this automatic action - it could be 3 new users, 2 Senior Members, or a mix.

1. The post in question is immediately hidden. The post author sees :

Your post was flagged by the community. Please see your messages.

The community sees:

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden. View hidden content.

Staff sees the actual post, as posted, in a dimmed state to indicate it has been hidden for others.

2. A friendly private message is sent to the author of the post.

The note describes what happened, and lets them know that for that particular type of flag (off-topic, inappropriate, spam) a thoughtful edit of any kind is enough to un-hide the post.

Editing flagged posts

When a post is hidden by flags, users are given the opportunity to edit them.

  • Users must wait at least 10 minutes prior to editing the post. This ensures the user stops and thinks before editing, to minimize any rash changes.
  • If the post author edits the flagged post, the post is un-hidden. The post remains in the review queue for eventual moderator review, but is visible as usual to users again.
  • If the post author does not edit the flagged post, it is never un-hidden, barring moderator action. If a post stays hidden for 30 days, it is automatically deleted.

Re-flagging a post that was hidden and edited

If the same post is hidden by a second round of flags, the flags must now be manually handled by a moderator. The user is not given an opportunity to edit the post, as they already had that opportunity, and the community still sees an issue.

Multiple flaggers in the same thread

Should posts in a thread receive multiple flags (exact number depends on the trust levels of the flaggers) from at least 5 unique users, the thread will be temporarily closed automatically. The thread will remain closed for 4 hours pending moderator intervention. This helps prevent heated topics from going “off the rails” before a moderator can review what is happening.

New users users and spam flags

Brand new users (Trust level 0) are not trusted. As such, should a trust level 0 user’s post receive 3 spam flags, not only will the post be hidden, but the user will be silenced, preventing any further posting until a moderator reviews the user.

The goal here is for the community to be able to protect itself from the worst users, even without a moderator present. As always, our moderators are working hard for us, but it helps to know that by flagging posts, you can help keep our community conversations civil and thoughtful!

Any comments or questions? Feel free to reply below!

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I really appreciate hearing about the flagging process. Appreciate the transparency!

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I like having flagged material hidden so readers can choose to see it if they want to. Going off topic doesn’t bother me, nor does debate. Often I like seeing the hidden material and wonder why anyone would flag it, much less multiple people, but if we need to try to appease both “sides” it’s a happy medium. I can click on “view hidden content” without difficulty.

Spam, of course, I assume will be removed as would foul language and such things.

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