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I noticed the rapid increase in the number of Math.SE Marshals, with three users earning the badge within the span of one week. (Congratulations!) Obviously, there is a lot of stuff to flag these days.

But what really surprised me about the list of Marshals is that t.b., who was last seen on May 18, was awarded the badge on June 25. How could this happen? It's hard to believe that the flag queue was so long that his 500th flag took more than a month to be processed. And the badge-awarding script wasn't on vacation, either: draks ... earned the badge on June 2.

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    $\begingroup$ That's very interesting. The short answer is - I don't completely know, and I don't want to discuss the particulars of any user's flagging habits. But I can say that it is not always in the best interest of the mod team to clear flags as soon as they come up. Some flags pop up automatically, like This thread has received x number of comments in the last 24 hours. We often don't close those flags immediately, as they indicate a thread that is very controversial and we should revisit later. There are other long-term flag possibilities too. $\endgroup$ – davidlowryduda Nov 30 '13 at 4:59
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The history of the Marshal service is this:

  1. t.b. was the prime contender for the badge, but he began drifting away and eventually left. But as far as I can gather he was rather close to getting the badge at that point.

  2. I got the badge about a year and a half ago.

  3. draks got the badge eleven months later.

  4. On June 25th, 2013 there was a global flag recalc where they recalculated the flag weights and everything. I remember even going to post a meta thread about it because at first my available flags dropped from roughly 90 to 60. But shortly after the recalc was over. I now have 100 flags to spend in a single day; and t.b. got his long overdue Marshal badge. (See also: What Happened to Helpful Flags Counter on User Page?)

  5. As time progressed others also got the badge.

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  • $\begingroup$ And just to brag my point, when draks got the badge I already had over a 1000 helpful flags; and within a short time I will have reached 1500 of them. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 30 '13 at 7:56
  • $\begingroup$ (While I'm bragging. That short time has long past.) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 30 '13 at 17:08
  • $\begingroup$ I wonder if the downvote was for my bragging, or just because I knew the answer. :-P $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 30 '13 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ I'm just wondering how anyone, but especially anyone with high reputation, can accumulate so many helpful flags. $\endgroup$ – dfeuer Dec 1 '13 at 5:00
  • $\begingroup$ It's a skill that I have acquired in my three years here. I have learned to spot, find, and watch for flagable posts. I'm practically a moderator, just without the diamond, superpowers and responsibility. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Dec 1 '13 at 6:53
  • $\begingroup$ A marketable skill for sure. Incidentally, the 9th Marshal appeared after I started this thread. Five of nine Marshals acquired the badge since October 27. Competition for being most helpful is heating up. $\endgroup$ – Post No Bulls Dec 2 '13 at 4:44

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