Just a notice to all the high-rep users who have been helping out with keeping an eye on flags. First: thanks for all your hard work! Your opinions are greatly appreciated. Second: I want to mention two of the system flags that are raised by the Community User.

1. The "low quality" flag: your inputs (especially on deeming one such flag invalid) are very helpful. Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether a very short answer is in fact a good answer, or whether it is supposed to be a comment.
2. The "more than 20 comments posted" flag: please don't waste your time bothering with this flag. This flag is purely for notification and asserts an actual fact. We hardly ever need to do anything about those posts (except on the very rare occasion a clean-up of obsoleted comments, and in the case where the exchange is getting heated and we needed to give some users time-outs; in the latter case someone will likely have flagged certain comments as offensive so they are easy to find). So your attention is much better spent elsewhere.

Again, thanks for your collective work in making this site a better place.

• It's been my impression that the vast majority of the "low quality" answers are actually excellent posts that provide a very concise and elegant answer. Whatever valuation is used to determine "low quality" doesn't seem to be very accurate for this site. – Nate Eldredge Apr 27 '12 at 16:26
• @Nate This is one example where our site is different from general SE sites. Namely, because math employs abstraction to the hilt, it is possible to give extremely concise answers, exploiting efficiency not only notationally but also conceptually. So SE quality filtering heuristics that might deem natural language answers too short need not make sense for answers expressed in much more concise mathematical language. – Bill Dubuque Apr 27 '12 at 18:22
• @Nate: Not all, but many are indeed. It is not strange to see top users being flagged by the system repeatedly. On the other hand, there is a lot of stuff that I often can't decide whether or not is actually "answer material". – Asaf Karagila Apr 27 '12 at 21:19
• @Bill: it also depends on how one writes. For example, I have never seen your (direct and to the point) one-liners flagged as low quality, whereas most "low-quality" flagged posts are of similar length to those short hints of yours. So you must be doing something "right" from the point of view of the filtering heuristics. – Willie Wong Apr 30 '12 at 8:20
• @Willie Probably the reason that the low-quality filter does not ensnare high-rep users is that the heuristic limits its application to lower-rep members. This is true for analogous heuristics, e.g. captcha (which, thankfully, I haven't seen much of since the many annoying captchas in the early days). – Bill Dubuque Apr 30 '12 at 13:26

I would love to be able and skip that comments flag, but in all honesty... the red number on the moderation tools, as well the yellow flag count when there are plenty of flag, just drives me insane.

Now if we had three more working moderators to clear these flags when they pop, that would have been a different story altogether.

• Note: a lot of times we mods let a flag sit (and not get rid of it) for a variety of reasons. One example: so that other mods will also be made aware of the problem and can deal with it if we have a repeat offender. Another example: there maybe an on-going discussion about a particular flag so we leave it open as a reminder. In these situations having more moderators may actually make the clearing of flags slower. – Willie Wong Apr 27 '12 at 10:27
• @Willie: So... You are suggesting we fire three moderators? :-) – Asaf Karagila Apr 27 '12 at 11:08
• No, I suggest that you just get used to it. Yellow fever is here to stay. :-) – Willie Wong Apr 27 '12 at 11:18
• @Willie: Are you talking about some of the moderators or about the flagging notification? :-) – Asaf Karagila Apr 27 '12 at 11:35
• "the red number on the moderation tools, as well the yellow flag count when there are plenty of flag, just drives me insane." - them being hard to ignore is quite likely the point... :) – J. M. isn't a mathematician Apr 27 '12 at 12:26
• @J.M.: I know... – Asaf Karagila Apr 27 '12 at 12:32
• Dear Asaf, let me assure you that pressing things are dealt with immediately, as most things are, in fact — as Willie says, it is on purpose that we let some flags sit for a while. For example, in many situations I often prefer to act indirectly on flags, so that certain types of issues are dealt with by users themselves, and having the flag helps record the fact thatsomething is happening. – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Apr 27 '12 at 13:41
• (cont.) «Clearing flags when they pop» is not something that I think is even desirable nor useful, and I don't recall there being more that 15 flags simultaneously ever (and when we have reached those numbers, a good half of that is usually a mixture of automatically generated noise and things we cannot really do anything about) Relax and enjoy the math! :) – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Apr 27 '12 at 13:44
• @Mariano, I'll try. I can't promise anything though! :-P – Asaf Karagila Apr 27 '12 at 15:01