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Members have the ability to flag posts and comments for a variety of reasons by clicking the [!] link by the post or comment. The current options for how to flag something are: double post, noise, derail, offensive content, breaking the guidelines, other or fantastic post.
The text on the flagging page is:
You've just clicked on a 'flag this post' link. This feature helps me weed out the bad stuff from MetaFilter and note the best parts (please limit the good comments to the truly amazing stuff I should note on the sidebar). Please state a reason why and press Flag this post to record it. If you clicked this by mistake, simply hit your back button. Thanks.
Flagging a post sends a message to a queue read by Matt Haughey and Jessamyn and helps to alert them to problem posts and comments early as well as indicate the level of severity of a problem post. The categorization of the post is not mission-critical since all flags go into one queue. Flags are not cumulative; there is no need to flag a comment or post more than once. Flags are generally used for current comments and threads, flagging old posts and comments doesn't usually result in any action.
There is also a user named [!], no doubt taken from the flag feature. Matt Haughey added a feature that allows people to see a list of posts in Ask MetaFilter that have been flagged as 'fantastic post'. You can see that list here
- Flagging does not always result in the comment or post you flagged being deleted.
- The flag queue is meant to bring admins' attention to something. Once you have flagged a comment or two in a thread, you do not have to flag the next ten, even if they are also problematic. They will be noticed.
- If you flag a FPP as a double post, including a link to the original post in the comments is helpful.
- Feel free to flag broken links or HTML that needs to be fixed.
- Breaking the guidelines usually means, including a users\ personal information, an egregious self link, linking to goatse.cx, posting images on the front page, breaking the site; something that needs immediate attention.
- Flagging things that are already being discussed in MetaTalk is probably not going to be particularly helpful, since it has likely already been brought to the attention of the admins.
- Cumulative flag totals are not kept on individual users.