Earlier today I flagged a post, and I was torn between a borderline spam flag and a VLQ flag (or NAA maybe). I decided to flag with a free-form text, and say that I'm torn between these options, asking for guidance.

Shortly after the flag was cleared as helpful saying that the answer is "comprehensive" and does not constitute as spam, and it's not VLQ nor NAA. I downvoted and moved on.

Few minutes ago I saw that the post was deleted by a moderator, and by looking around, I noticed the post on the "Reviewed" list somewhere indicated that someone had flagged it shortly before that deletion.

Do the moderators see previous flags on these sort of occasions?

I'm wondering because I wonder if the moderator who deleted the post knows that someone else on the moderator team thought it was not pure junk, and "not worth deleting" (or even flagging!) and in that case, I also wonder if in these sort of cases moderators talk to each other about these sort of things?

Needless to say that I have no complaints about the post being deleted; if anything, I would complain that someone (other than the user posting) thought it would be a good idea to keep it on the site.

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    $\begingroup$ It is visible, but not highly so, when a post was flagged previously. This says, it would be easy enough to miss it. $\endgroup$ – quid Jan 13 '15 at 22:59
  • $\begingroup$ Hm, thanks. What about the rest, from your experience as a moderator? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jan 13 '15 at 22:59
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    $\begingroup$ If I would note the earlier flag, I would not over-ride the other mods decision and ask the other mod. (I say "would" as I have no recollection of this arising so far; the number of flags on "my" site is 2 to 3 orders of magnitude lower than here.) $\endgroup$ – quid Jan 13 '15 at 23:03
  • $\begingroup$ Aside: it's odd that the first moderator would mark the flag helpful. If they did not consider the post harmful, they should have declined the flag. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jan 13 '15 at 23:53
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    $\begingroup$ @Fundamental: Can a rejection have a custom reply? I don't know. Maybe they marked it helpful so they could "reply" to my query as to what to do. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jan 13 '15 at 23:53
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    $\begingroup$ Certainly, declined flags came with free-form replies from early days of SE. It only recently became possible to attach replies to helpful flags. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jan 13 '15 at 23:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Fundamental: Define recently? I've had the feeling that it's been like that for at least a year or two. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jan 13 '15 at 23:57
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    $\begingroup$ Introduced at the end of Feb'14 $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jan 14 '15 at 0:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Fundamental: Interesting. From a linked post to that linked post, "clearing as [helpful] whenever the user is trying to be genuinely helpful, even if you do not necessarily act on the flag...", by the way. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jan 14 '15 at 0:04
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, so it's not odd then. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jan 14 '15 at 0:06
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    $\begingroup$ @Fundamental: I guess that now we're even! :-) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jan 14 '15 at 0:27
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, we can see earlier flags. We can also see what mods have seen the post. For what it's worth, I think I was the second mod who came around and deleted the answer. I've since chatted with the mod who first acted on the post. It's usually bad form for a mod to overstep another mod, so here the fault it mine. $\endgroup$ – davidlowryduda Jan 14 '15 at 3:59
  • $\begingroup$ @mixedmath: Might I ask if the declining moderator was a new one and/or what was the decision of the said conversation? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jan 14 '15 at 7:42
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila It was an old mod. The conversation consisted largely of me apologizing for being a bad friend, and then us not doing anything because the user in question deleted his own account (we had nothing to do with that) $\endgroup$ – davidlowryduda Jan 14 '15 at 8:20
  • $\begingroup$ @mixedmath: Interesting. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jan 14 '15 at 8:29

Here's an example of what moderator's see when handling flags on a post:

handling flags from the post

At the bottom we have the "flag bar" which gives information about flags. Here already-handled flags are greyed out, although no information is given about who handled the flag, nor exactly what, if any, actions were taken with respect to any specific flag. It doesn't even mention if these flags were marked as "helpful" or "declined" (or "disputed"). It does indicate what actions moderators have taken on the post in general (in this case the question was locked, a post notice was added, two comments were added, and it was closed), though, again, it doesn't mention who took those actions. On the bright side, we can see which moderators have viewed the post.

The circle on the left contains, in this case, two links. The "# flags" link gives a flag history of the post together with a brief post history. It is here that a moderator can see who acted on which flags, whether the flags were "helpful" or "declined", and what, if any, message was given to the flagger. We also have a link to the moderator timeline of the post, which is quite a bit more comprehensive than the timeline regular users have access to. (Were there any deleted comments, a link would also appear here to show all deleted comments.)

It is also possible to handle flags from the "moderator dashboard", but here one gets easy access to less information:

handling flags from the moderator dashboard

(The default options available to the moderators is dependent on the type of flag.)

Basically, in order to get any more information we have to visit the post itself and follow links from there. (For this reason I personally rarely handle flags from here, and is why this section may seem like an afterthought.)

So, yes, it is possible to see what actions have been taken on previous flags, though it's not as straightforward as one might suspect and can be easily overlooked if one is confident in the action they have decided to take.


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