It is possible to flag a message in chat. However, chat flags are handled by users in chat, not by moderators.

But occasionally there might be issues with some chat messages in rooms associated with this site which are serious enough to require involvement by the moderators. Or some chat messages might be related to some problems on the main site and it might be desirable that mods are informed about those chat messages.

What should be done if there is a need to bring some chat messages to the attention of moderators of this site?

NOTE: I have originally posted this answer to a separate question - however that question is about multiple issue. I suppose that if this is posted separately, there is a better chance that this might be useful. (And I should probably have done this in the first place. I apologize for unnecessary noise caused by two separate posts.)

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    $\begingroup$ Flagging in that very chatroom is still IMO a good idea. Even if the handling moderator comes from another SE site, they may choose to contact a Math.SE diamond moderator (after handling the immediate problem). Moderators have ways of doing that via Teacher's Lounge (=a network wide mod only chatroom) or by pinging us. I recall having been pinged a handful of times that way. Mostly the other mod wanted to make sure that math-mods became aware of what happened. $\endgroup$ May 1, 2018 at 17:51
  • $\begingroup$ Nevertheless. that is admittedly unreliable. The message may not reach all the math mods (if a personal ping), or the contacted mod may forget to relay it to others for more opinions. Via TL another mod can ping all the math mods, but they won't always have the time for that. $\endgroup$ May 1, 2018 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


NOTE: I am making this a community wiki, if you have some addition or corrections, please do edit my post further. (Especially some input from mods on the things mentioned here is welcome.)

If you see some problematic messages a chat (especially if they are rude/offensive) the most natural thing to do is to flag the message. But you should keep in mind that chat flags work differently than flags on the main/meta. They can be handled by any user with sufficient reputation and it's quite likely that they do not get to the moderators of the specific site. (So you should not be surprised if your flag is marked invalid. Not everybody has the same threshold on what they consider offensive.) In this context I will also context the recent announcement that moderation of chat is going to become a bit stricter than before: We're More Aggressively Enforcing Self-Moderation In Chat. For a more detailed info on using flags in chat, the relevant part from this post is worth reading: A guide to moderating chat.

However, if you see a message in chat and you think that it is something that should be brought to the attention of moderators, you have several options:

  • In chat, instead of the option "flag as spam/offensive" choose the option "flag for moderators". Such flags are different from the usual chat flags and they are indeed handled by moderators. Still, flags of this type can be handled by moderator from any site, so if this is the issue moderators from this specific site should see, this is not the way to go.
  • You can mention this in Math Mods' Office. Or even ping some of the moderators to get their attention. However, this way is reasonable only if the topic is not too sensitive and you do not mind that your message is publicly visible.
  • If you need to mention something which should not be discussed publicly, further options are flags on main/meta or a private chat with a moderator.
  • You can find a post by the offending user on the main or meta and flag it for moderator attention, include a detailed explanation and link to the chat message. (In general, if there is nothing to flag pertaining to the specific situation, the recommendation is to flag something else - just to get the message to mods. For example, such recommendation was given here.) You should flag a post (question or answer) and not a comment. The reason is that moderators do not have possibility to respond to comment flags. If you flag a post, moderator handling the flag can also include short message (in addition to marking it as helpful or declined).
  • You can ask a moderator for private chat. You can ask such request, for example, in Math Mods' Office. Moderators have possibility to create a room where only you and the mods can read what is posted there. (Keep in mind that moderators are rather busy. So it is possible that they will not respond right away and sometimes not respond at all. But I have seen several instances where a moderator positively responded to such request.)
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    $\begingroup$ It should also be pointed out that one quickly loses credibility when flagging carelessly in chat; I'm aware of far more abuses of flagging than I am of abuses by those flagged. But I may simply not notice how many deleted comments are removed due to flags. The point is, be careful what you do flag. Just because someone says "I think userX's answer is wrong because it fails to address abc", just because userX may not want to hear that doesn't mean userX has grounds to flag the comment. That's just one stupid example. Reading what you don't like hearing is not necessarily offensive. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    May 6, 2018 at 19:46

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