Flag, you're it. August 19, 2011 8:12 AM   Subscribe

Is there a way to see which comments have been flagged by other people?

I could see how this might lead to other people flagging something just because other people had already flagged it, but it might be a good way for people to see what does not a good comment make until it is/isn't deleted, or maybe help other people notice a comment that doesn't really belong.

I think that personally I've got a pretty good idea about what I should/shouldn't post, but if I see something that I posted getting flagged to oblivion, it would be a learning moment, for sure.
posted by Fister Roboto to Feature Requests at 8:12 AM (86 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I think that this would emphasize groupthink and would not be good. Favorites, though I love them dearly, already do this to an uncomfortable degree for many users of the site.
posted by Aizkolari at 8:13 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nope, flagging is something that's mod-only visible and will be staying that way. If you've got questions about your own comments, we are more than happy to tell you if they've been attracting flags [though not by who] and we can loo at a user's aggregated flags-over-time with a little sparkline thing which we use to see if maybe someone's having an out-of-charachter bad day or something, but we feel pretty strongly about flags just being a "hey look at/fix this" indicator to the mod team and not something that becomes part of the public side of how this site works.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:17 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nope, flags are not user-visible in any way and we don't plan to change that. If you're curious about what has happened with a specific comment or post, you're welcome to drop us a line to inquire, but we very much don't want discussion-of-flagging-stats to be a casual part of folks interactions with the site and with each other.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:17 AM on August 19, 2011


Fair enough. Thanks for the answer.
posted by Fister Roboto at 8:24 AM on August 19, 2011


There would be meta shit storms if this were allowed. "this comment has been flagged 50 times. Why wasn't it deleted?" "My comment was only flagged twice and it was removed?" "Who are the assholes that keep flagging my Ron Paul comments?" "Hey, my comment got 100 flags and it wasn't sidebarred! All 100 said it was fantasic, right?"

I could go on. This site would blow if you allowed this. About the only idea worse than upvoting/downvoting if you ask me.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:29 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I think one should be able to see the flags on one's own posts and comments and what the specific flags are, without seeing which members see the flags..

Yeah, it's never, ever going to happen, but it would be nice to get feedback like that on a user level, to see what works and doesn't, at another level.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:44 AM on August 19, 2011 [13 favorites]


It seems to me that people are fearful of posting because it might get flamed or deleted. If you have interesting links to great stuff on the web, write up a good post and give it a go. If you posted a double, it'll just get deleted. Something you think is a good post might not work out, but the way to learn to post well, is to put in the effort to check for double-posting, read the wiki on what makes a good post, and then post. There has never been an over-supply of great posts. Some terrific posts to great sites get few comments, but I'll bet if we saw the click-though it would be significant. Some great posts have a narrow topic, but are still really worthwhile. You'll get plenty of snark if some people dislike your post, or are bored, but if you have questions about why a post didn't work out, the mods are really helpful so use the contact form. It's only a website, and the snark may be sharp, but doesn't actually harm.
posted by theora55 at 8:45 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Glad to hear flags will be staying mod-only. I understand Brandon's idea and the desire for feedback but I think my ego can only stand the positive news.
posted by immlass at 8:48 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


It seems to me that people are fearful of posting because it might get flamed or deleted.

I'm more feeling what Brandon is feeling. It would be interesting and probably useful to know that a post of mine stayed up, but got a bazillion flags. Something could just be interesting to a few people, and get a few comments and be fine. Or it could be something that everybody hated, only got a few comments, and barely survived deletion.

On a side note, I wish you could have this in real life. I have little doubt that I have been flagged for driving through the wrong neighborhood, being at the wrong place at the wrong time, and similar situations. I wish you could get a number for how many times someone (police or civilian) called in your plates.
posted by cashman at 8:52 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't see FPPs very often that get a bazillion flags that also don't get deleted. A lot of stuff gets one or two flags, some stuff (particularly politics/religion/other touchy subject type posts) get 5-10 flags just because they're inherently touchy but not actually deletable, but post-wise if the post stays up it probably didn't get flagged super heavily. There are definitely exceptions but for the most part mass flagging runs pretty much parallel to mod deletion guidelines.

Comments are different - the scale tends to be smaller, and we delete less aggressively because the conversation tends to absorb stuff that isn't awesome and pulling it too far after the fact makes the thread all choppy, but in terms of posts I wouldn't worry too much that everyone secretly hates you.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:58 AM on August 19, 2011


Because that's Eyeballkid's job.
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:59 AM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have mistakenly flagged at least a dozen FPPs as doubles, if not more. I don't need to be reminded of my derpery.
posted by elizardbits at 9:06 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I think one should be able to see the flags on one's own posts and comments and what the specific flags are, without seeing which members see the flags..

Yeah, it's never, ever going to happen, but it would be nice to get feedback like that on a user level, to see what works and doesn't, at another level.


I just assume if it got deleted, it didn't work and if it didn't it was ok even if it was sucky. When I flag, I usually just put "other" since I heard it was the flag itself that mattered not the reason so not sure what feedback you would get from one of my flags.

I sort of feel about my posts and comments the way Jerry Garcia felt about recordings of his live shows. "Once we play it, it is yours to do with it as you see fit." Once I write it, I let the others decide.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:17 AM on August 19, 2011


Honestly, I think one should be able to see the flags on one's own posts and comments and what the specific flags are, without seeing which members see the flags..

Nah, this would play to self-consciousness, conformity. Like being in a social situation and having a way to access what people were thinking about everything you said; not specific individuals, just an overall sense of, "wow, that thing I just said about kittens being responsible for most of the wickedness in the world really pissed off at least three people in this room of five hundred people." It's too much information, too picky.

For me anyway.
posted by philip-random at 9:29 AM on August 19, 2011


People might flag something because it's already been flagged.

Conversely, people might not flag something if they see it's already been flagged.

That's two flavours of wrong, and while they're contradictory, I have a feeling they won't cleanly cancel out.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:31 AM on August 19, 2011


I would only use the power for good. Can't vouch for the rest of ya'll.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:34 AM on August 19, 2011


When I flag, I usually just put "other" since I heard it was the flag itself that mattered not the reason so not sure what feedback you would get from one of my flags.

Whenever I hear this I like to imagine a situation where like cortex accidentally deletes some long heartfelt deconstruction of violence and the glamorization of warzones by Dee Xtrovert or someone because everyone was flagging it as fantastic and cortex didn't have his coffee & giant donut that morning.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:08 AM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I think one should be able to see the flags on one's own posts and comments and what the specific flags are, without seeing which members see the flags..

Yeah, it's never, ever going to happen, but it would be nice to get feedback like that on a user level, to see what works and doesn't, at another level.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:44 AM on August 19


Flagged as Hey spouse, why are you posting on Mefi instead of helping with the chores? Also don't forget to pick up the dry cleaning hon.
posted by babby╩╝); Drop table users; -- at 10:11 AM on August 19, 2011


Whenever I hear this I like to imagine a situation where like cortex accidentally deletes some long heartfelt deconstruction of violence and the glamorization of warzones by Dee Xtrovert or someone because everyone was flagging it as fantastic and cortex didn't have his coffee & giant donut that morning.

Not that I think that precise scenario has ever actually played out, but it is for this sort of polarized-flagging reason that we actually do have "fantastic" flags segregated from the rest of the flags in the admin flagging hotspots queue.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:38 AM on August 19, 2011


What I do is every time I flag a comment I M/email and post to twitter a personalized message explaining how dumb the author is.
posted by BeerFilter at 10:48 AM on August 19, 2011


I think it might be useful to have a little sparkline of what your own posts and comments were doing. So you could judge the room, as it were. But I could see how that would also be nectar to trolls.
posted by crunchland at 10:59 AM on August 19, 2011


If we added this new visibility to flags, people would start flagging in different ways, to send a message of "I hate this comment," which would make flags less useful for moderation purposes.
posted by John Cohen at 11:02 AM on August 19, 2011


I do wonder if most flags come from a smallish group of MeFites. I tend to think of myself as being flag-happy and I wonder if most folks flag or not.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:22 AM on August 19, 2011


crunchland: "I think it might be useful to have a little sparkline of what your own posts and comments were doing. So you could judge the room, as it were. But I could see how that would also be nectar to trolls."

A Mefite Popularity Index?
posted by zarq at 11:29 AM on August 19, 2011


Flagged as Hey spouse, why are you posting on Mefi instead of helping with the chores? Also don't forget to pick up the dry cleaning hon.

Check the schedule, I swapped with #47 for a day off.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:36 AM on August 19, 2011


Brandon Blatcher writes "Yeah, it's never, ever going to happen, but it would be nice to get feedback like that on a user level, to see what works and doesn't, at another level"

That's great if used for good. But it could be used for evil just as easily and that bad would outweigh the good. It's bad enough we have favourites.
posted by Mitheral at 11:37 AM on August 19, 2011


with a little sparkline thing which we use to see if maybe someone's having an out-of-charachter bad day or something,

You buried the lede. This is one of those mundane details that says everything about Metafilter for me. Obviously it's not a huge tech achievement or anything but the fact that the mods here have a tool they use to determine whether bad behavior is out of character for a user -- that captures perfectly what I like about this place: just enough technology to help the humans get along with each other, and no more.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:39 AM on August 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Flagging in real-life story:

So, we were driving to Tampa to drop off my son for his first day of college this week. At one point, traffic was really bad, just bumper-to-bumper. I was riding in my son's car with him, my husband was in our van in front of us, loaded up with son's stuff.

Son (maybe because his mother and his girlfriend were in the car with him) drove very carefully and properly left a little room between his car and Dad's van in case he had to stop suddenly or something. And it was a good thing, because another van roared up the right exit lane past about a half-mile line of cars and cut Dad off, nearly hitting him, just before that right lane ended.

Dad has bluetooth in our van so I call him and say, basically, "Jeez, that guy was a real asshat, good thing you were paying attention."

And he says, "Hey, there's a 'How is my driving?' number. I'm going to call it." And hangs up. So I'm thinking, whatever, it probably won't make a difference but he'll feel better getting it off his chest.

So he calls me back in a little while and says, "Guess what? I called that number, and I'm all set to give the van ID and complain, right?"

"And then I see the driver of the van in front of me, and he has a cellphone in his hand (not illegal in Fl, though it should be) as he is driving, and it hits me that the guy in the van? Hee started talking into his cell phone at the same time I did."

Uh-oh.

"So I ask if this is a landline and where the company is based. And the guy cheerfully says, 'I'm the owner, but this isn't a landline, this is my mobile. Right now I'm driving on I-4. How can I help you?'"

Yep, it's the same guy.

"So I said that I was right behind him. On I-4. In the loaded-up van that he had just cut off."

I'm groaning, thinking I probably would have said, "Sorry, wrong number" and hung up. At this point, I'm worried we're going to have a road rage incident right in front of college son and he'll have to jump in to rescue old Dad, but no:

"He was really apologetic about cutting me off and said he wasn't paying attention and he shouldn't have done that. Just this nice guy who did a dumb thing, and we sorted it out."

Whew.
posted by misha at 11:53 AM on August 19, 2011 [15 favorites]


How's my commenting? 1-800-FLAG-ME #ID 131560
posted by babby╩╝); Drop table users; -- at 12:06 PM on August 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


This is one of the reasons we don't have a phone line at mefi HQ.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:12 PM on August 19, 2011


Nope, flagging is something that's mod-only visible and will be staying that way. If you've got questions about your own comments, we are more than happy to tell you if they've been attracting flags [though not by who] and we can loo at a user's aggregated flags-over-time with a little sparkline thing which we use to see if maybe someone's having an out-of-charachter bad day or something, but we feel pretty strongly about flags just being a "hey look at/fix this" indicator to the mod team and not something that becomes part of the public side of how this site works.

Do mefites know you're using charts/graphs to asses their behavior?
posted by hal_c_on at 12:15 PM on August 19, 2011


Do mefites know you're using charts/graphs to asses their behavior?

They do now!

I would love to see my own sparkline. Sparklines are cool! Maybe we could see the sparkline for cortex or jessamyn as a demo? Pretty please?
posted by grouse at 12:17 PM on August 19, 2011


No, because we never discuss how we handle moderation and administrative stuff in public. If only Julianne Assange hadn't hacked Jessamyn's account and leaked that comment, our secrets would be safe.

Seriously, the sparkline is a wee graph visualizing flagging volume over time, something we've looked at ever since flags existed, specifically because it's one way to put a current episode of weirdness or grumpiness or whatever into context: does this person generate a lot of flags consistently? Do they have a bad day once in a while while otherwise being generally pretty stable? Is there a past spike or two we should look at to try and figure out if there's some precedent for this?

It's very much a tool for helping us get our heads around a situation when it comes up. We're not sitting around doing sabermetrics on mefites in our spare time just for the fun of assessing them or whatever, and the role that "charts/graphs" play in the work we do is so utterly minor—the sparkline is probably the only thing that really even fits that description—that there's not a whole lot to talk about there. It's like talking about the font we use on the admin pages.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:22 PM on August 19, 2011


This is one of the reasons we don't have a phone line at mefi HQ.

Didn't Matt set one of those up for a while? Whatever happened to that?
posted by shelleycat at 12:23 PM on August 19, 2011


It's like talking about the font we use on the admin pages.

So, uh, what font do you use on the admin pages?
posted by grouse at 12:24 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


We're not sitting around doing sabermetrics on mefites in our spare time just for the fun of assessing them or whatever,

Maybe Theo Epstein could hire some better mods for us then?
posted by Jahaza at 12:25 PM on August 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


grouse: " I would love to see my own sparkline. Sparklines are cool! Maybe we could see the sparkline for cortex or jessamyn as a demo? Pretty please?"

Seconded. :)
posted by zarq at 12:26 PM on August 19, 2011


Do mefites know you're using charts/graphs to asses their behavior?

People who care enough to do a close read on the things we say here or the talks mathowie or I give usually know these things, yes. We are not a HR department and we are not the government. We have a lot of tools at our disposal, most of which we made ourselves, to help us keep this website running smoothly. We've been pretty forthcoming about all of them. People have seen screenshots of the admin pages and we're usually pretty happy to send people the back-end data that we have on them. If people have other questions, they are more than welcome to ask, within the boundaries of what we can reasonably answer and still have time to run the website, etc.

And at the end of the day, the "assessment" as you call it doesn't really do much for us except determine if someone is having a bad day versus if someone is having a hard time "reading the room" or otherwise interacting here generally. Our approach when dealing with different users is always contextually different. So knowing that someone is getting a lot of flags and getting comments deleted and also that they just had a bunch of dental work done, is good information for us if we decide that we need to talk with them. Some people always seem to get flags late at night [though we don't have a tool to determine that, it's a thing that's really clear if you're looking for patterns] some people get flagged in certain types of threads, some people make the same general "errors" over and over again and some people get flagged for different things all the time.

If someone who never gets flagged for stuff suddenly starts acting in a way that is out for character for them, we'd approach that differently than if that was someone who we'd already spoken to several times and who was just doing that same thing again. It's nice to be able to have some latitude to try to do things that are appropriate to the situation and not just a one-size-fits-all set of responses.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:34 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe we could see the sparkline for cortex or jessamyn as a demo? Pretty please?

Here's what my graph looks like, with the start of the raw flag list as well. Worth stating for the sake of pedantry that "sparkline" implies something smaller and less adorned that even this simple graph, but the spirit of the thing is the same—it's a handy at-a-glance thing for us to get a general idea about a situation rather than something we chew on for five minutes.

Didn't Matt set one of those up for a while? Whatever happened to that?

Right, the call-in voicemail thing. He may still have it. If so, we should do another call-in thing for the podcast some time.

So, uh, what font do you use on the admin pages?

Verdana 10 and 12, except for the "Days Since A Bannin'" sign, which is in Comic Sans.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:39 PM on August 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


We're not sitting around doing sabermetrics on mefites in our spare time just for the fun of assessing them or whatever

That is totally all I would do if I was a mod. I would be the Billy Beane of MeFi. Favorites are overvalued! I'm looking for commenters with good Comment Per Page View ratios (CVP) and a decent subsite-adjusted Flagged Comments Deleted percentage (xFCD).
posted by Rock Steady at 12:40 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rock Steady is right. I'd be running trend analysis all over the place. It would be awesome.

I love the tiny details about how this place runs.
posted by winna at 12:50 PM on August 19, 2011


Here's what my graph looks like...

Looks similar to Lunar Lander.

"You landed hard. You're hopelessly marooned on cortex's stats"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:53 PM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there rough threshold on the number of flags a comment recieves will trigger a mod to mosey on over and have a look at what all the fuss is? I understand that, as with chimps, one flag is no flag.
posted by longsleeves at 12:57 PM on August 19, 2011


*that will trigger*
posted by longsleeves at 12:58 PM on August 19, 2011


We check out every single flag in AskMe [and smaller sites like Projects, IRL and Music] and usually something will have to get a few flags in MeFi before we're concerned [threshhold is higher for posts than for comments] and something's got to be much higher than that in MeTa since we rarely do any mod actions over here other than closing threads.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:59 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


My understanding is that every flag gets eyeballs because they all have to be manually cleared. Whether those eyeballs are glazed over thinking 'That fucker shakespeherian is yelling at someone about contemporary art again,' I don't know.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:01 PM on August 19, 2011


What jess said, though there's the "unless it's a slow day" provision, in which case cleaning out the busy stuff in the flag queue and checking out stuff that's only got one flag is definitely part of my routine.

To some extent, checking-every-flag doesn't happen in contentious or already-had-a-problem threads because by the time one or more of us is camping in a thread looking for trouble, we'll see the problematic stuff as it comes along. At that point we mostly clear flags coming in for stuff in that thread because we've already had to make a call on whether to clean any of the extant comments up.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:04 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also I know we've mentioned this before also, but we have an optional "admin view" of the site now that shows us flags inline [i.e. a comment will say "flagged 3 times" after it. So as cortex says if we've commented in a thread and are keeping track of it, we'll see flags as they come in pretty speedily (thought not in recent activity). All that will show us is that there are flags, but not what they are. We have to click/hover another link to see who has flagged it and for what.

And yeah we manually clear all flags and the admin page shows "hot spots" which are the most flagged things. It's very very rare that the ten most flagged things on the list even have more than a few flags each because once we see the flags we either deal with it or remove the thing from the list [though the flags still are attached to the comment if that makes sense]. We rejiggered this a little by making that "top ten" list be splittable into the subsites [all, ask, mefi, other] so that if there are a lot of things on the list hovering in the 2-3 flag range, we can click over and see the things that may have only been flagged once in AskMe.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:25 PM on August 19, 2011


Soooooo. If I was to start flagging comments seemingly at random but actually in a seekrit codelike fashion with the intent of rewarding the code cracking mod with a real live pony upon discovery, that would really only be fun for me, right?
posted by elizardbits at 1:57 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


and presumably the pony, who would receive many carrots in the interim.
posted by elizardbits at 1:58 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I do wonder if most flags come from a smallish group of MeFites. I tend to think of myself as being flag-happy and I wonder if most folks flag or not.

Yeah, this is always what I've wondered about. There could be an unpopular user that gets a nice little peanut gallery to follow them around and start flagging them regardless. Or perhaps user vs user but since it's all behind the curtain it's never corrected except in instances of back talking. It probably happens on a very small scale but I've always wondered about it since the mods have always stated they don't really attach names to flags unless they go on a specific frenzy.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:59 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


who else borrowed on thier allowance to play Lunar Lander.
just.one.more.THRUSTERS.
posted by clavdivs at 2:13 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's one of those things where if anything, a consistent flagging agenda would become conspicuous when someone was getting flagged way more often than seemed to make any sense based on what they were saying.

The miniscule biases of e.g. someone just being slightly more likely to flag a person they're annoyed by than any baseline mefite are hard to test for but also hard to see manifesting as a serious informational issue with flagging as an aggregate feedback mechanism, so to some extent we're left to wonder and accept that as a little bit of the background radiation of the system.

It's part of why there's no automatic threshold-based systems for processing flags, so even in the case where someone or several someone's were being weird, we'd be looking at what was going on with the flags based on the weirdness of the activity. A sufficient pile of odd flags would be conspicuous in its own right more than it'd be an effective way to hush someone up, since humans, not robots, are on the processing side of the equation.

I keep meaning to do another analysis of flags, maybe I'll do one next week. When I've looked in the past, the overall pattern of behavior is a power curve—a few people flag a lot, a larger group flag a middling amount, and a long tail of users flag only a little, with all in all the flagging population being somewhere on the order of a thousand folks.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:14 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Given that, do you suppose that, in theory, if sitewide culture around flagging changed, the ways that the mods interact with the flagging system would likewise change? In other words, I've been trying to flag things more often in the last few months, because I think it's better for the site (i.e. better than letting threadshit stand or contributing to a derail by commenting) and I have a general notion that the more people on the site participate in the flagging system, the better it functions and (again, in theory) the better & cleaner the community works. But if you go from 1,000 members flagging to 10,000 or 50,000, would you change the must-manually-clear-all-flags system or anything like that?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:18 PM on August 19, 2011


I think more people flagging is generally a good thing in terms of getting our eyes on stuff to decide if it needs attention or not, yeah.

If we saw a serious change upward in the sort of flag volume we were dealing with, we'd probably deal with it by tweaking the existing tools to e.g. show a larger Hot Spots list or otherwise make it easier to sift through the flags. In general, the overall "how" for dealing with flags is something that works regardless of the volume, mostly the impact it'd have on us is in those tool-side assumptions about what presentation serves our ability to process them best.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:23 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Right, I'm just spitballing. Also it's a Friday afternoon and there's nothing to do at work.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:24 PM on August 19, 2011


shakespeherian: "Right, I'm just spitballing. Also it's a Friday afternoon and there's nothing to do at work."

If you like, I can delegate a few projects to you. I wouldn't mind being able to leave to go lay down at the beach.
posted by zarq at 2:26 PM on August 19, 2011


Do you want a report on FINRA licenses by branch? Cuz that's basically all I did today.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:34 PM on August 19, 2011


And zipcode also. If you could have that on zarq's desk before COB today, that'll be greaaaaaaaaaat.

And we're gonna need you to come in over the weekend, so go ahead and plan for that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:40 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Zipcode is no problem, it's already part of the database. What I'm worried about is why they're asking the guy who orders business cards for this information-- shouldn't, like, the respective managers or Compliance or HR know this?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:42 PM on August 19, 2011


Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of having you sort several thousand photos and identifying the celebrities pictured.... ;) What's a FINRA?
posted by zarq at 2:46 PM on August 19, 2011


I think more people flagging is generally a good thing in terms of getting our eyes on stuff to decide if it needs attention or not, yeah.

Put out more flags!
posted by villanelles at dawn at 2:47 PM on August 19, 2011


What's a FINRA?

Twenty bucks, same as in standard securities regulatory examination fee structures as specified by the SEC per form 8732C.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:49 PM on August 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


FIN-RA
posted by SpiffyRob at 2:53 PM on August 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did I mention I was an English major.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:35 PM on August 19, 2011


Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of having you sort several thousand photos and identifying the celebrities pictured.

Is this a real thing? I can't decide if it sounds fun or horrible. Are they all contemporary celebrities? Do you ever run across a Timothy Dalton?
posted by mmmbacon at 6:00 PM on August 19, 2011


Hey, Josh, what's a lot of flags and what's a middling amount? (I'm curious.)
posted by bluedaisy at 6:08 PM on August 19, 2011


I went looking at stats again a bit this afternoon, in an attempt to get started on doing a more comprehensive look at overall flagging behavior, so I actually have a ready answer or two!

A lot of flags for one person to have given is anywhere in four digits, say. That covers the top 25 or so all time flaggers; the person who has flagged the most has flagged 3,539 things all told. Number 25 has flagged just over 1000 things.

There's been 8,650 people who have ever flagged anything at all since flags showed up back in 2005, and about 346,000 flags ever submitted, so you could say the average person-who-flags has flagged just about 40 things ever. I'd say at a glance that there's 2-300 people who have flagged at least a hundred times; there's a couple thousand who have only ever flagged one thing.

So you can get kind of an idea of the spread of behavior, from the folks who flag the most to folks who flag more occasionally on down to folks who don't really flag much at all.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:33 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


The miniscule biases of e.g. someone just being slightly more likely to flag a person they're annoyed by than any baseline mefite are hard to test for

Which is why I flag two Mefites at random every day, just to make my agenda impossible to trace. See if you ever find that Congressman's penis.
posted by yerfatma at 6:34 PM on August 19, 2011


Thanks, Josh, that's interesting. Is your general impression that people who flag a lot are generally helpful members of the community or more like power-hungry, geeky hall monitors?
posted by bluedaisy at 6:44 PM on August 19, 2011


asses their behavior?

I get it!
posted by BurnChao at 6:48 PM on August 19, 2011


I'm really curious, actually, whether there's a lot of overlap n the flaggers and flagees. My general feeling is that the people who get flagged a lot are also the people who do a lot of the flagging but that may just be confirmation bias or just another way of looking at people who are just heavy site users generally.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:49 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Question: Have the mods ever flagged anything?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:18 PM on August 19, 2011


Oh yeah I'll flag stuff if I'm not sure about it but want someone else to take a look at stuff. I'm less sure of my own judgment in MeFi proper, so sometimes I'll just flag something and move on figuring if it gets flagged a lot in the aggregate maybe it's deleteworthy but if I just don't like it and other people like it okay, it should stay.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:21 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


If only Julianne Assange hadn't hacked Jessamyn's account

I knew it.
posted by homunculus at 8:37 PM on August 19, 2011


I don't really flag stuff because, as much as Jessamyn's notion works in principle, it'd leave me feeling all crazy about why I was sticking a flag in front of myself that later on I'd have to check out and maybe clear and OH GOD IT'S A VORTEX HELP HELP.

So I'll mostly just send an email to the team or IM someone if I want a second opinion.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:14 PM on August 19, 2011


Being the mod who has slightly more bright-line on-duty and off-duty times, I'll flag stuff occasionally when I'm off-duty, but if it's egregious enough to make me do anything it's probably egregious enough for me to just hit the [x] already.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 11:52 PM on August 19, 2011


OH NO NOT THE CORTEX VORTEX OF FLAG NAG
posted by iamkimiam at 12:21 AM on August 20, 2011

cortex: A lot of flags for one person to have given is anywhere in four digits, say. That covers the top 25 or so all time flaggers; the person who has flagged the most has flagged 3,539 things all told. Number 25 has flagged just over 1000 things.
That seems to call out for a "vexatious litigator" bit; 3,539 flags?! Either they really love this site, or really hate it.
posted by hincandenza at 12:52 AM on August 20, 2011


For what its worth, I do sometimes flag something even when I'm on duty that I know that I don't like but I'm not sure whether I'm just an outlier - similar to why jessamyn does it.

Flags in ask mefi tend to have more weight, in that just one flag will get me to go take a look at it. Given that, I think more people flagging is a good thing. Something you flag won't necessarily invoke a deletion but, conversely, I think there is plenty of stuff still out there that should have been removed but nobody bothered to flag it.

On mefi, I'm active in removing double posts or ones that break the guidelines. I can count on one hand the number of times I've touched a mefi comment (other than to delete a double comment, etc) One, I recall, was because some user launched some vicious attack on another user and the flag count was going through the roof. But that was exceptional.

I dont know if it was mentioned above, but it takes an extra click to see who the flagger was. I'm pretty lazy and so I cant really say I have any idea who the most frequent flaggers are since I rarely bother to take that extra step.

I'm pretty sure I've never touched anything on metatalk, by the way.
posted by vacapinta at 12:55 AM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, do I understand correctly that the important part of flagging is the moving on, thereafter?
posted by paulsc at 2:07 AM on August 20, 2011


That seems to call out for a "vexatious litigator" bit; 3,539 flags?! Either they really love this site, or really hate it.

That top flagger is someone who has been around for ten years, and is a likeable enough regular who appears to spend most but not all of their output in askme. Amortized over ten years, they've got about a flag a day, though really it's more like six years that flags have been around so more like 1.6 flags per day. Fairly regular reading and an active disposition toward flagging makes that really, really doable without anything odd going on, basically.

The most notable things about the folks who have flagged the most is that they've been around for a while and are moderately active users; no obvious trends in devilish (or angelic) disposition, just a mix of established users who are around and apparently opt to use the flag button regularly while they're reading.

One of the many interesting questions about flagging is how it relates to participation in a thread: are people more or less likely to flag something in a thread where they've been commenting? Conversely, are people more or less likely to comment after they've flagged something in a thread?
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:47 AM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there any way to un-flag something you've flagged? I have flagged an Ask question after only reading the question but went on to read some answers and they have sort of made the question reasonable through their answers.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:20 AM on August 20, 2011


There's no way to unflag, but a stray erroneous flag here and there doesn't cause any serious problems since, if it's on something that doesn't need to go, the thing won't go. Totally not a big deal.

Every now and then I see things with a flag for no fathomable reason and I presume at least some of those are misclicks rather than really idiosyncratic objections, and in fact we get an email now and then saying "OH SHIT IGNORE THAT FLAG" and we write back a cheerful little No Worries note along the lines of that previous paragraph.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:30 AM on August 20, 2011


Thank you.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:37 AM on August 20, 2011


I would like a non-favorite way to give a user a pat on the back for a good comment (I use favorites as bookmarks. Sorry). I sometimes wish they could see the fantastic comment flag (and only that flag, and only on their own comments). Sending a MeFiMail for every great comment you see in a day seems like a bit much (I still do it sometimes and I appreciate receiving).
posted by Eideteker at 10:23 AM on August 20, 2011


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