MetaFilter's site and server can always use upgrades of hardware, software, and bandwidth, as well as more stable funding for continued support of its small but high-skilled moderation and backend team! If you'd like to chip in, you can donate to Metafilter.


From Mefi Wiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

Members have the ability to flag posts and comments for a variety of reasons by clicking the [!] link by the post or comment. MeFi has a few FAQs on flags and flagging.

Flagging a post sends a message to a queue read by the moderators, and helps to alert them to problem posts and comments early, and indicate the level of severity of a problem post/comment. The categorization of the flag is not mission-critical since all flags go into one queue. Flags are not cumulative; you can only flag a comment or post 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.

Flagging a post

The current options for how to flag a post are:

  • fantastic post
  • double post
  • HTML/display error
  • offensive/sexism/racism
  • it breaks the guidelines
  • flag with note...

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.

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 a comment

(Linking to screenshots; will embed them soon if possible.) The [!] symbol is on the same line as the author's name, the date and time of the comment, and the [+] symbol to favorite it. Here's a screenshot of a comment, highlighting the [!] symbol with an arrow and "Click here to flag". After selecting the flag symbol, you get a dropdown menu; open it to see flag reasons and select one.

You can cancel this interaction (instead of selecting something) by choosing the [x] to the right of the dropdown menu, or by clicking elsewhere on the page.

Picking a reason The comment flagging dropdown menu says:

  • pick a reason to flag:
  • fantastic comment
  • HTML/display error
  • offensive/sexism/racism
  • it breaks the guidelines
  • noise/derail/other
  • flag with note...

If you select any reason to flag OTHER than "flag with note..." then you have now flagged the comment. The dropdown menu will disappear and the [!] symbol for that comment will be replaced with [Flagged]. (Yes, even if you choose "pick a reason to flag".) You will not retain any record of what reason you chose, and you won't be able to re-flag that comment.

You can cancel this interaction (instead of selecting something) by choosing the [x] to the right of the dropdown menu, or by clicking elsewhere on the page.

Flag-with-note If you choose to "flag with note" then you get a text area for the "Flag Reason" and two buttons, "Add Note" in yellow and "Cancel" in red.

If you write something in the textarea and click "Add Note", then you have now flagged the post or comment. The text area/dialog box will disappear and the [!] symbol for that comment/post will be replaced with [Flagged]. You will not retain any record of the note you wrote, and you won't be able to re-flag that comment or post.

"If you accidentally submit an empty note, that's fine; it'll show up as a plain "other" flag and we'll look at the flagged thing regardless."

You can cancel this interaction (instead of selecting something) by choosing the [x] to the right of the dropdown menu, or by clicking elsewhere on the page.

Flagging tips

  • 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 problematic in the same way. They will be noticed.
  • Moderators very rarely contact you to ask for an explanation of why you flagged something or tell you whether they took any action on your flag.
  • Feel free to flag frequently:
There is nothing wrong with flagging. All flagging does is brings something to mod attention. We're fine at ignoring flags that don't seem to make sense and we rarely even look to see who flagged something. -- jessamyn, June 2012
Flagging early and often is helpful. At no point in MeFi history has "too much flagging" been a serious problem, we really appreciate it. Just picking a flag reason if they all seem equally so-so is fine, to put the flag through. Flagging as "flag with note..." and typing/tapping in a few words is also okay as a way to work around that indecision, and giving us a quick "thing x is a problem" heads up that way can help us knock down problem comments and dynamics faster. So, yeah, go for it! On the rare, rare occasions that we have someone individually going overboard with flagging, we just toss them a nice gentle note letting 'em know what tweak will help. -- cortex, August 2019
(on giving a flag-with-note on a comment that is othering/ableist): Yes, this is an intensely helpful thing to do! We might not be aware a word or argument is problematic or a dogwhistle, in which case telling us that is suuuuuuper helpful; or we're parachuting into the middle of a thread that hasn't been problematic to look at a sudden problem (or a new mod has just come on shift and isn't up to date yet), and you have immediately provided us context for the troublespot, which makes it much faster for us to get up to speed.
Some things we can just delete on sight, but many more things are context-dependent so you read back two comments ... and realize you need to go further back to understand what the dispute is ... and then further back, and then you give up and go to the top of the thread to read it all in order, and by the time you get back to the problem and understand what's going on, it's 10 minutes later and there's four enraged responses. So giving us context is VERY helpful! -- Eyebrows McGee, August 2019
  • 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" as a flag reason usually means, including a user's personal information, an egregious self link, linking to, posting images on the front page, breaking the site; something that needs immediate attention.
  • Flagging posts that are already being discussed in MetaTalk is less useful, since a MetaTalk post has likely already been brought to the attention of the admins. However, it's useful to flag MetaTalk comments.
  • You cannot unflag a comment or post after you have flagged it.
  • Cumulative flag totals are not kept on individual users.