Testing Inline Flag Notes May 2, 2016 1:17 PM   Subscribe

We're testing out a new way to flag posts and comments that lets people include a note to moderators if they'd like to. It's enabled for this thread only so you can see how it might work.

The first change you'll notice is a flag icon in place of the exclamation point. We think this will make it more clear what the link is for.

Click the flag and you should see a window open with flagging options. You can select the reason and click 'Flag' to add a flag as usual. You also have the option to click the triangle next to "Optional note to moderator" to bring up an area to write a note. Clicking 'Flag' will add the flag and the note.

If you decide not to flag something you click the Cancel button to dismiss the window.

Keep in mind that this new flagging option is only available in this MetaTalk thread until we get the bugs ironed out.

Let us know here or via the Contact Form if you run into any trouble.
posted by pb to Feature Requests at 1:17 PM (269 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

Here's a comment you can flag! If you like that sort of thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:17 PM on May 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


I already flagged the post as fantastic with mod notes, so I used cortex's comment to test canceling a flag. Success!
posted by infinitewindow at 1:19 PM on May 2, 2016


But yes, this is mostly so we can catch any weirdness that hasn't come up from the mods testing it behind the scenes; if you run into unexpected behavior or display problems or anything else bug-like, let us know and also let us know what device/OS/browser you're using so we can try and track down edge cases.

If there's no big showstoppers with the test, we can move onto more properly rolling this out later this week, at which point I'll make a post with more detail about the whole thing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:23 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, this is so great! I'm delighted!
posted by sciatrix at 1:24 PM on May 2, 2016


This is a good hybrid of the flag and the email-the-mods form.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:24 PM on May 2, 2016 [13 favorites]


I like it.

I do still think we could use a "not this again" flag reason, but even having this inline comment option will probably improve reporting (and by extension, make moderating easier/better).
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:26 PM on May 2, 2016 [8 favorites]


Here's a comment you can flag! If you like that sort of thing.

Flagged as "butts lol".
posted by grouse at 1:26 PM on May 2, 2016 [19 favorites]


The styling of the modal dialog doesn't match the user's selected theme. Or at least it doesn't for the Classic theme. Not the end of the world, but it's a little jarring.
posted by jedicus at 1:26 PM on May 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


I flagged EVERYTHING and did not move on.
posted by bibliogrrl at 1:27 PM on May 2, 2016 [18 favorites]


Functionality is good, I don't like how prominent the flag icon is but that might just be because it's different. I do get how it's more clear what it's for.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 1:27 PM on May 2, 2016 [13 favorites]


The flag icon is a little loud, yeah.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:28 PM on May 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I love this! I worry slightly that people might misuse it, but people haven't been doing much of that with stuff like the edit window, so that worry may be misplaced.

The mods can see who wrote what note, correct?
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:29 PM on May 2, 2016


I think this is a great addition.

In the Classic theme on this page I do find the big bold flags rather distracting. I do appreciate that it's much clearer than [!] but it seems to take a disproportionate amount of visual attention.

Would you mind sharing what the mod interface looks like when there are flag notes?
posted by grouse at 1:29 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I’ve been wanting this feature for years, as i HATE e-mail thus never have contacted a mod even when the reasons for flagging something are not obvious without explanation.

But, while i like the concept of using the flag glyph, typographically i find that relatively large blob of pixels (compared to other characters) to be visually distracting.
posted by D.C. at 1:29 PM on May 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm going to flag my own comment with "check out how handsome this dude is"
posted by Greg Nog at 1:30 PM on May 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


The mods can see who wrote what note, correct?

Yep. The note is just stored as an extension of the flag, so everything that's been true previously about the admin-only-but-not-anonymous nature of flagging remains the same.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:30 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


The flag icon shows as a Unicode 2691 box on my PC at work: Firefox 45 on WinXP.

Similar in Chrome 40 on WinXP, flag icon shows as a box placeholder. And further in this combo: the "flag/cancel" modal is not rendering, shows as just a white box.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:30 PM on May 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh this is awesome, but just chiming in that the flags are a bit too prominent on the classic theme.
posted by griphus at 1:31 PM on May 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Looks fine to me but please don't make there be some little triangle to click to open up the comment box, just have it be open already.

It's one more difficult click for people who may not have awesome motor skills and it's not really necessary to have it be hidden/shown. Otherwise love it so far.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:31 PM on May 2, 2016 [71 favorites]


Now I can make horrifyingly racist and sexist comments in the flag comment section, and MeFi users can't see them - so they can't report me to the mods and have me banned!!! The perfect cri--no wait a minute. I didn't think this through. Shit.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 1:32 PM on May 2, 2016 [19 favorites]


Also on classic theme on mobile Safari, the flags seem to be rendering a distance away from the [+]. Not sure if that's on purpose or not.
posted by griphus at 1:32 PM on May 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


Would you mind sharing what the mod interface looks like when there are flag notes?

Not at all, though that'll be for circumstantial reasons easier to do once it's a live system, unless pb has a couple screenshots from testing sitting around; right now we've got the new flag system decoupled from the old one because I need to actually moderate the site still and a billion test flags would get in the way. So proper show-and-tell might wait a little bit till we properly launch the feature.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:33 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maybe the flag icon could be just the outline, so the flag bit isn't solid? Agree it's kind of noticeable, although that's partly just the change, I think.

This DOES invalidate the old [!] t-shirt, though.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:33 PM on May 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Seems functional. Agree the view clashes with classic theme, but I don't expect to be opening it often.

Can we get a view where all the flags' text fields are displayed as an anonymous chat log? I think it would improve the level of respectful meta-conversation on the site.
posted by michaelh at 1:35 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I love the little flag icons.

Also now I finally have a way to articulate those frequent moments of "This person might not technically be breaking any rules but I want you to know I think they're being kind of a dick."
posted by Sokka shot first at 1:36 PM on May 2, 2016 [22 favorites]


This DOES invalidate the old [!] t-shirt, though.


Or does it make them COOLER like a concert t-shirt for a band that's no longer around?

I don't mind the flag icon size in the Modern theme but that's probably more because I'm constantly still accidentally clicking it.

I do still think we could use a "not this again" flag reason, but even having this inline comment option will probably improve reporting (and by extension, make moderating easier/better).

There's no way I won't use it this way.

I also hope the mods don't mind recieving a comment that's just says "Ugh" since that's usually what I mean when I click other.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:37 PM on May 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


"ugh", "This person might not technically be breaking any rules but I want you to know I think they're being kind of a dick", tomato, tomahto.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:38 PM on May 2, 2016 [9 favorites]


This is great and all but for full functionality make sure every eighth flag or so has a bomb under it.
posted by selfnoise at 1:40 PM on May 2, 2016 [48 favorites]


Maybe try ⚐ (U+2690)?

Or make it slightly transparent in CSS.
posted by effbot at 1:40 PM on May 2, 2016 [16 favorites]


The flag icon is a little loud, yeah.

Definitely a little loud by intention. Loud compared to, specifically, the thinnest of all possible click targets that we're all used to. There's a tension between keeping things familiar and communicating better to new or new-to-flagging users, and while I will always love [!] deep in my heart, making flagging a little bit more visually and semantically obvious on a site where flagging is a really important part of community feedback feels like a rip-the-bandaid-off move worth making, basically.

Looks fine to me but please don't make there be some little triangle to click to open up the comment box, just have it be open already.

We've gone back and forth on this a little, yeah. The big driver for the default-hidden presentation here is to not put people in the position of seeing a text box and feeling obliged to put something there; the tradeoff there is an extra click, which isn't nothing for sure. I'm wondering if an easier to hit click target would be a good compromise on that front.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:41 PM on May 2, 2016 [12 favorites]


I think the flag icon looks fine on classic and seems to be more in line with what people would expect to see with a flagging feature.

Also I hate to be a jerk about this because I know you guys work so hard on this, but I'd love a way to turn this off and just use "normal" flagging.

Put another way: inline flagging 100% works for what I want to do with it and this pop-up is messy on mobile (I am using the mobile view, it's actually better on standard than mobile, in Classic view) and actually discourages flagging (for me) because it's a bunch more steps, a few more clicks, and involves side-scrolling. I totally understand that it gives people more nuance when flagging which addresses certain issues usefully but it also increases friction for every flagging interaction in a possibly unnecessary way?

Again, I know you've all thought about this quite a bit, but I feel like you're building a new interface which is for a small set of instances and changing the tool for everyone in order to implement it. I'm sure I'll eventually get used to it, I'd just love a smoother way to be able to build this desired feature (adding a note) into the way the flagging interface currently works not create a new interface.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:41 PM on May 2, 2016 [12 favorites]


I love the little solid flag icons. Do not make them an outline. I WILL FIGHT YOU.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 1:42 PM on May 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


I can't make my opinions heard on mobile.
Don't you want to hear my opinions?
They're pretty good opinions.

(I like this! And the wee flag is cute!)
posted by phunniemee at 1:43 PM on May 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


I feel like I now understand why this didn't happen earlier.
posted by grouse at 1:45 PM on May 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


Classic theme, I do not think that the flag is too loud. Or too soft, either. It's just right.

Wow, pb is going out with a bang! :)
posted by Melismata at 1:45 PM on May 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


and involves side-scrolling

That's definitely unintended weirdness, can you toss us a screenshot or more details?

I can't make my opinions heard on mobile.

Blurg, yeah. What device/OS is that?
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:46 PM on May 2, 2016


Oh I like this. Cancel and move on! And my optional note to the mods will be an F-sharp, dotted eighth.

Wecome
posted by Namlit at 1:48 PM on May 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I feel like I now understand why this didn't happen earlier.

Ah, web development. The joys of adding new features, and watching them all collapse...
posted by qcubed at 1:48 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: I'd love a way to turn this off and just use "normal" flagging.

I don't understand... surely you can still flag the way you always did?
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:49 PM on May 2, 2016


This gives me the "dead goat" flag I've been yearning for for DAYS now! Thanks!

Also, I love the little solid flags. Change is good.
posted by kimberussell at 1:50 PM on May 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't understand... surely you can still flag the way you always did?

I'm pretty sure jessamyn means the original flagging interface: [!] -> dropdown list, done.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:50 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I love the little solid flags! Agreed with jessamyn that it's a bunch more clicks, and I'd like to be able to click out of it without having to choose a button.
posted by lalex at 1:53 PM on May 2, 2016


See, I had to go to a different thread to remind myself what it looks like... I'd already forgotten. Maybe I should flag more.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:53 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


The flag should be a skull and crossbones
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:54 PM on May 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


The arrow to expand the note-to-moderator text box is difficult to hit on mobile (I actually thought it was broken because the first few tries I guess I missed the target). Maybe make the entirety of the text clickable to expand the text box, instead of just the arrow?
posted by snap, crackle and pop at 1:55 PM on May 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


After you flag it should have hover text with the type of flag and the optional note
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:55 PM on May 2, 2016


THIS IS SO GREAT THIS IS THE GREATEST THING THAT HAS EVER GREATED I AM LEGIT EXCITED.
posted by corb at 1:55 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


can you toss us a screenshot or more details?

Screenshots sent. In short: the little popup is still show up up as a fractional part of the screen on mobile, so it's teeny, and then when I click to make a choice from the pulldown, it gets so big that I can't see it all without side scrolling. Mobile view, Classic theme, iPhone 5.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 1:57 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maybe try ⚐ (U+2690)?

This also doesn't work on my Firefox/XP or Chrome/XP setup, FWIW.

(Not deliberately trying to be difficult, and not sure much effort should be put into supporting what is now a pretty ancient OS, but: [!] works everywhere and has some MeFi cultural weight on it.)

The heavy black border on the Flag popup makes it feel a bit funereal to me.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:00 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


This new web/db admin seems to be right on top of things.

Oh, wait.
posted by yhbc at 2:01 PM on May 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty sure jessamyn means the original flagging interface: [!] -> dropdown list, done.

When I dreamed of the feature I thought it was going to be

[!] -> dropdown list, text field, done.
posted by grouse at 2:02 PM on May 2, 2016 [11 favorites]


Agreed with jessamyn that it's a bunch more clicks, and I'd like to be able to click out of it without having to choose a button.

The extra clicks thing is the one unavoidable thing that I wish I had a route around with the new scheme, yeah. We've tried to keep the extra friction minimal, but that's part of what I'm curious to see how people variously feel with it in practice.

To talk briefly about the thinking for that process:

For normal, no-comment flagging, the extra clicking should be pretty slight once motor memory stops being an issue: instead of three clicks to (1) click the flag !, (2) click the pull down list, and (3) click the desired flag, the new system is four clicks to (1) click the flag glyph, (2) click the pull down list, (3) click the desired flag, and (4) click the "Flag" button to confirm.

Downside: extra click. If I had a way to avoid that that I was happy with, I'd go for it, because extra friction is the thing I am most concerned about user-side with this.

Upside: now possible to try again if you hit the wrong flag reason, vs. being stuck with it and us fielding contact form messages about that.

For adding a note, you also have the additional click to open the text box, and then the larger extra work to input a message. But that wasn't a possibility at all before, and as long as it's significantly less friction than actually going to the contact form then we're on the right track.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:03 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Why not keep the same interface as before but add 'add note' at the bottom? Choosing the 'add note' option will bring up the new interface.

This will be the same number of clicks for people who don't want to add a note.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:07 PM on May 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


But alternate schemes we've played with, before settling on this one for testing:

1. Text field always available. Saves a click for when folks want to add a message. I'm concerned that might (a) indirectly discourage flagging by making people feel like they're obliged to fill the field, "optional" note bedamned, and (b) communicate the idea that folks should use this all the time rather than just when it makes specific useful sense to. But there is the upside of less fiddliness and a constant shape to the window.

2. Text field only for "other", and selecting any flag from the drop down auto-submits the flag. Gets rid of the extra click for standard flagging, but creates a specific kind of behavior ("must select 'other' to leave a message") that is a little clumsy in its own right.

3. Like above, except triggering off the old dropdown interface, so the modal only comes up when wanting to leave a note. We started work on the current iteration we're testing based on an always-available text box, and so being focused around the modal window made more sense.

Another note: the current setup does have a subtle lower-friction option of just hitting "flag" immediately without selecting a reason, since we default to other; that saves a click, but I'm not sure it's something there's a great way to communicate nor does it seem like a big win in general.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:09 PM on May 2, 2016


This is the best pony ever! (With apologies to Angel, my actual childhood pony.)
posted by Ruki at 2:14 PM on May 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


Why not keep the same interface as before but add 'add note' at the bottom?

This is very clever actually. Keep the flag glyph because it's a great idea, just add "add note"to the end of the flagging options. Most people's interface remains the same.

"must select 'other' to leave a message"

Unless you have user testing that implies that there is a really large percentage of users who want this extra utility, that seems like the way to go.

Again, I appreciate the work and thought that went into this, and I think having some sort of "add note" feature is a huge boon for power users who want the ability to be more granular with their flagging. But realistically if it makes flagging more complex for every single user, I don't think that's an improvement if there's an option to just have those users who want more nuance to do the extra work for it.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:14 PM on May 2, 2016 [13 favorites]


I really like this.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:16 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I love this. I ALWAYS want to add more detail to my flags.

I think jessamyn makes some good points about the added clicks / ui complexity, but the detail is worth it surely.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:18 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not deliberately trying to be difficult, and not sure much effort should be put into supporting what is now a pretty ancient OS, but: [!] works everywhere and has some MeFi cultural weight on it.

Nope, totally useful to hear regardless. There's always going to be some degree of "well, in this weird/ancient edge case..." stuff for this kind of thing but part of testing this out is trying to figure out what degree that is, and the fact that some environments may not support that glyph is something I wanted to get a feel for in practice.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:20 PM on May 2, 2016


hmm, it's not just the extra clicks, it's that I have to do more moving and aiming of my cursor to complete the flagging process. A lot more friction for me for sure.
posted by lalex at 2:24 PM on May 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Tabbing on the modal seems to be broken. Instead of cycling you through the buttons on the modal box it moves to assorted places in the greyed out background window. And when it does that you can't see the modal box and the greyed out back ground looses its vertical scroll bar. And escape doesn't escape the modal box. So if you over tab you end up in a place where you can't get out with out tabbing just the right amount of times back to the modal box.

Esthetically the huge border is clunky looking and seems unneeded considering the background dims.

UI design wise it would be nice if there was an X in the top right hand corner that would duplicate the cancel button functionality.
posted by Mitheral at 2:30 PM on May 2, 2016 [9 favorites]


And/Or if clicking outside of the popup would make it go away.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:35 PM on May 2, 2016 [10 favorites]


I like this SO MUCH. I don't flag much but when I do I usually wish I could drop a quick explanation.

I do suggest you keep the potential flag comment length down via a character or word limit.
posted by bearwife at 2:37 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd make the whole "optional note to moderator" clickable, not just the arrow (bigger target area), and I'd move the arrow before the "optional note to moderator" as a nod to traditional expand/collapse signifiers.

But those are minor quibbles. I really appreciate that you guys have been working on this.
posted by julen at 2:38 PM on May 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Yeah, agreeing with Too-Ticky. Most of it's fine, but I'm really used to clicking outside of a popup to make it go away from other websites. From trying it out here I clicked on a flag icon and automatically clicked outside of it to dismiss it. I actually clicked a few times and thought "hmm, is it broken?" before I figured out "Oh, I have to actually hit the Cancel button".
posted by benito.strauss at 2:39 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


We'll try and clean up that tabbing situation, yeah.

Or if clicking outside of the popup would make it go away.

We went back and forth on that a little; the downside of click-outside-to-cancel is it could kill a flag by accident, including potentially the note in the field if someone was typing or had typed one. But I can see both approaches, yeah.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:40 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Please tell me there's a collection somewhere of all the test flag notes we've submitted.

I like the new feature a lot, but I agree with others that the new flag icon is a little too bold for something that should be rarely used.
posted by zachlipton at 2:45 PM on May 2, 2016


We're MetaFilter. We can afford to be... quite bold.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 2:47 PM on May 2, 2016


I won't do it unless and until it becomes established and acceptable, but mod comments noting deletions will now attract notes applauding or condemning the deletions.
posted by jamjam at 2:48 PM on May 2, 2016


Trust me, we get those already.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:50 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


And escape doesn't escape the modal box.

Oh, yeah, you definitely need to fix that. Also the tabbing, but escape is a necessity.
posted by jedicus at 2:58 PM on May 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


So I understood; care to guess at a percentage increase?
posted by jamjam at 2:59 PM on May 2, 2016


I really like the idea of a contextual popup based on the old drop-down functionality; retains the ease-of-use of the existing flag interface, and adds the necessary functionality for free-form comments for those who need it.
posted by scrump at 3:06 PM on May 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Will mods be able to see a list of all of a user's previous flagging comments on their view of the user profile?
posted by double block and bleed at 3:07 PM on May 2, 2016


Can I use this to fiix typos.
posted by and they trembled before her fury at 3:09 PM on May 2, 2016


let me just apologize in advance for all the random useless notes i am leaving for the mods on every username i recognize in this thread
posted by poffin boffin at 3:12 PM on May 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Omg, I can't exit out of it if I accidentally click on the flag button, could you fix that? Maybe if I can click out of the pop-up, in the area around it, that would work, or put an x on the pop up. Also, agree with jessamyn's suggestion.
posted by yueliang at 3:13 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm both someone who really wants this feature (especially for the offensive flag) and thinks that this makes flagging a lot harder in every circumstance except when you want to leave an explanation. I do like the idea of having 'leave note' be a flag which opens the modal instead of submitting the flag. That might be a little wonky for new users, but it seems like the best suggestion anyone has come up with for splitting the difference.
posted by hoyland at 3:13 PM on May 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


"When I dreamed of the feature I thought it was going to be

[!] -> dropdown list, text field, done."

I second grouse. Not sure why we need an actual 'flag' button, when the exclamation point is already well-known to users as the original flag button.
posted by yueliang at 3:14 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm on mobile Safari, too.

(1) the left side of the border of the dialogue box is clipped.
(2) about the right third of the dialogue box is clipped, including the fact that I'm looking at a flag google.
(3) I can't read the "reason" and "optional note to moderator" text very well, because it's too light gray.

However, I can still select my flag and type in the reason.

I'm on the modern dark theme, iOS 9, safari, small phone.

I took a screenshot if you need one.
posted by leahwrenn at 3:15 PM on May 2, 2016


thanks leahwrenn, seeing the same thing. we'll work on that.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:17 PM on May 2, 2016


Here's a comment you can flag! If you like that sort of thing.

Flagged as: 🏁📫⛳️🇨🇦
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:18 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


is there a character limit because there should definitely be a character limit.
posted by poffin boffin at 3:20 PM on May 2, 2016


At the moment there is no character limit; current plan is to keep the text box itself small as a hint and then resort to rolled up newspapers for anyone who seems to be habitually not taking that hint.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:23 PM on May 2, 2016 [14 favorites]


Eep.

1392 characters =/= newspaper, I hope??
posted by aroweofshale at 3:24 PM on May 2, 2016


I've always wanted this feature. Yay!
posted by Aranquis at 3:26 PM on May 2, 2016


well then i would just like it noted that i did not put the treaty of westphalia in the box instead of asking first
posted by poffin boffin at 3:27 PM on May 2, 2016 [14 favorites]


Wait, am I not supposed to be flagging every comment in this thread with a Hamilton lyric?
posted by zachlipton at 3:30 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


BUG: I can only flag things once.
posted by boo_radley at 3:39 PM on May 2, 2016


Yup, Esc and clicking outside the dialog should dismiss the modal.
Also, "Optional note to moderator" should be clickable, instead of just the dropdown arrow.
posted by zamboni at 3:39 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I like this, but I have one thing to add.

Could we either add some blank space inbetween the favorite and flag symbols, or perhaps even move the flag button to just after the username?

For example:
posted by *mefite* at 17:30 on May 2 [+] ...... [⚑]
(ignore the periods, as the 5 -7 blank spaces are removed automatically when I hit post)
or
posted by *mefite* [⚑] at 17:30 on May 2 [+]

I frequently find myself accidentally hitting the flag button rather than the favorite button. Most of the time this is on mobile devices, but it happens on my desktop sometimes too.

It's not a big problem, but since changes are being tested out, this seems as good a time as any to mention it.
posted by chambers at 3:42 PM on May 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Agreeing with chambers and I would also like to suggest this as another possibility:

posted by *mefite* at 17:30 [⚑] on May 2 [+]
posted by aroweofshale at 3:47 PM on May 2, 2016


bug: unicode black flag character doesn't even have one black rectangle.
posted by zamboni at 3:49 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Omg, I can't exit out of it if I accidentally click on the flag button, could you fix that?

there should be a big red "cancel" button (oh, or do you mean the button that says "Flag" rather than the icon? but then it closes anyway...)
posted by andrewcooke at 3:51 PM on May 2, 2016


Flagged as the entirety of the WikiTalk article for 'September 11th.'
posted by beerperson at 4:00 PM on May 2, 2016


Can you please make the whole "Optional note to the moderator" line clickable for my chubby little fingers on my phone? Thanks!
posted by Jacqueline at 4:04 PM on May 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Or maybe just make it "Add optional note to the moderator" clickable text and get rid of the triangle?
posted by Jacqueline at 4:05 PM on May 2, 2016


Is a very good pony, especially after it's conditioned just a bit more!

I'll add a me-too to jessamyn's request to lose the 'click triangle to open up the text field' functionality; I was briefly confused because I assumed that just putting the cursor into the "optional note to moderator >" line would be the entry field, then realized that the arrow was a button. Maybe make that entire line the open-text-input click target if you don't want to have a little optional input box that doesn't actually need to be there if a flagger doesn't want to use it.
posted by Drastic at 4:14 PM on May 2, 2016


You guys are going to get some really good and helpful flag notes from me.
posted by nom de poop at 4:23 PM on May 2, 2016


The flag is cute, and I like the functionality (except for not having escape work yet), but I feel like [!] is such a MeFi culture thing. I like the simple use of punctuation to denote those things. Could we include an option in one's preferences to keep the old [!] if desired as part of this pony?

🐴
posted by limeonaire at 4:27 PM on May 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


I like the new icon, and the text box. I'd rather the text box was pre-opened.

More importantly, I'd much rather the form be inline, instead of in an overlay. If the overlay is covering the comment I want to flag, it makes it hard to write a good explanation of why I'm flagging it!
posted by vasi at 4:31 PM on May 2, 2016 [10 favorites]


I will flag more with this new functionality.

It's fine on my (mac still on yosemite, chrome, professional white classic) laptop at home.

It's also fine on my android (samsung galaxy note 8, running android 4.4.2, classic theme with colors), although on the classic dark background on a mobile device... it's a black flag against a dark gray background. Pretty hard to see; the ! would be easier because it would change color according to the scheme.

Also worked ok on my iphone 5s (modern style, dark, iOS 8.4).
And here the flag is gold so I can see it fine.
posted by nat at 4:41 PM on May 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Did you change it already? Because the first thing I thought was "where's the flag?" and then I read all the comments about how big it is. It's really tiny on my screen in classic, and I would never know that was a flag if you didn't tell me.

It seems like a flag might make sense to people well acquainted with the site, but the exclamation point might actually be more intuitive for newer users.
posted by bongo_x at 4:49 PM on May 2, 2016


pb you are a boss.
posted by MoonOrb at 4:55 PM on May 2, 2016


Possible bug? iOS 8.0.2 (sorry, my iTunes is still borked, and I'm lazy) iphone 5s (also too broke for new phone): I tried to flag cortex's opening comment, but when I tried to enter a reason to flag, the pop up went away, and I couldn't get back to it.

As a large thumbed person, I've always had problems with accidental clicks on mobile (which has become my default for browsing the site), and I'm a little nervous about an accidental click becoming a no-take-backs sort of thing. I haven't tried again, yet, just wanted to point this out first because flagging seems, well, weighty to me, and not something to do idly, even if that's the point of the thread.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:55 PM on May 2, 2016


Hmm. Seems to work now. Interesting, but I can see the mods ending up swamped with notes rather than just the clear bat signal esque flag report.

I mean, I think this is pretty cool, and definitely a sign that you all listen and try to respond to us, but honestly? I kind trust your judgement. I figure if I flag a comment with a reason, you'll see the flag and understand why without needing me to explain. It seems like the potential for a lot of work for an already heavy load.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:01 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Realistically the only time the note matters is if the mod on duty can't figure the problem from looking at the comment.
posted by Mitheral at 5:05 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


"It seems like a flag might make sense to people well acquainted with the site, but the exclamation point might actually be more intuitive for newer users."

Yeah, it's kind of begging the question if you expect new users to recognize what an icon of a flag means. It seems to me that the exclamation point is (moderately but perhaps not sufficiently) more self-explanatory than the flag character. Sure, if someone has learned that we have "flagging" then they will recognize the significance. But by that point, they probably would already know how to do so, regardless.

I'm really feeling jessamyn's perspective on this -- her reluctance to criticize what is clearly a carefully thought out and carefully implemented new feature in the context of, well, believing that this isn't the best way to do this. I'm actually quite puzzled by the willingness to make such a significant UI addition when the status quo plus a text field would have sufficed.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:11 PM on May 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


I only see 2 brackets and no flag. Just like the old flagging icon but without the !

This is on a Verizon Ellipsis 8 tablet with chrome. When I zoom in I can see a little yellow line connecting the bottom of the 2 brackets. The flag looks fine on iphone 6.
posted by futz at 5:16 PM on May 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I like the flag: size and all that are fine with me. I also like how you've got it spaced a bit farther to the right so it's separated from the favorites thingie.

And I thought WE were supposed to give pb a goodbye gift, not him gifting us!
posted by easily confused at 5:59 PM on May 2, 2016


poffin boffin: "is there a character limit because there should definitely be a character limit."

Based on some informal testing of my own, tt would appear there is not.

On the other hand ... mods, if you've never read "Mother Earth Mother Board", "The Great Gatsby" or "Lorem Ipsum's Greatest Hits": you're welcome.
posted by barnacles at 6:02 PM on May 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


limeonaire: "Could we include an option in one's preferences to keep the old [!] if desired as part of this pony? "

I would support a preference option to select from a range of possible flagging icons. 💩 will be a favorite, I'm sure.
posted by barnacles at 6:03 PM on May 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


I am so excited this feature is finally here! I will second everybody who says that it would be nice if this worked with the old flagging system rather than in a popup window, but if that isn't doable, this is better than nothing.
posted by capricorn at 6:09 PM on May 2, 2016


On modern dark (in Chrome) I am noticing a weird, slightly distracting shift of text when I click the flag - it's like everything shifts one space to the right when the flag dialog is up, shifts back afterwards or if I hit cancel.
posted by dismas at 6:14 PM on May 2, 2016


Why not keep the same interface as before but add 'add note' at the bottom?

This is very clever actually. Keep the flag glyph because it's a great idea, just add "add note"to the end of the flagging options. Most people's interface remains the same.


That is what I had always imagined this feature would look like. I like how this looks and functions on my phone, but visually it is jarring on my computer where I am using the dark setting.

Personally I think the "!" is a lot more intuitive than the flag thing, but I'm probably the person here with the least amount of user interface experience, so I'll defer to others on that.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:21 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Sweet, I love an opportunity to start rumors. Hey guys, I heard the plus was changing to a heart next.
posted by ctmf at 6:24 PM on May 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Seems to work fine, Safari on iPhone 4, iOS 7.1.2.

The flag pop up box could be a bit larger though (pic). Love the extra space between the favorite and flag links.
posted by clorox at 6:25 PM on May 2, 2016


This is a great idea, and thanks for implementing. I don't like pop-up boxes though, or anything that reminds me of pop-up boxes. So, for me personally, I will probably flag a bit less. Not a bad thing.
posted by Roger Dodger at 6:27 PM on May 2, 2016


This is good. Thank you.
posted by mintcake! at 6:32 PM on May 2, 2016


I like this idea. Too often I think something needs to be looked at, but none of the flag options fit, but hitting the contact form is too much effort and perhaps elevates the issue beyond what it deserves. So in those cases I either flag and wonder if a mod will understand why, or I ignore it and move on. I think in the times I've hit the contact form in the last two years every single time could have been felt with by an inline comment.

I kind of wish you could add a reason like "Read My Coment" though, so I don't have to flag something the doesn't fit into a category just so I can then explain why in the comment. I mean, if it fit a category in the first place we wouldn't need the comment field.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:33 PM on May 2, 2016


I agree with others that my ideal version of this would have been the same method as before, with an extra click to create a character-limited text field inline, but I presume that that would be significantly more work than it sounds like. I'm just not a big fan of popups in general, but compromise solutions like popovers are kind of a mobile nightmare. I'm not totally convinced that either the [!] or the flag icon matter too much beyond aesthetics, as "flagging" seems to me to be like "pony": a piece of site jargon which we're all used to but which I don't really see outside the context of this community.

I'd prefer to be able to click / tap outside of the modal to cancel it in addition to the cancel button. I'd also like the text field open to begin with; I initially opened the flagging modal without reading the instructions and assumed a) that the grey "optional note to mod" text indicated a clickable text field, and b) that the sideways triangle indicated a "send" action (a la "play" icon), rather than a "tapping" dropdown. I spent a small amount of time avoiding a click on the triangle (not wishing to "send" yet) and clicking fruitlessly on the grey text (thinking that it might not be working) before checking the instructions. I don't recall that triangle indicating an expandable drop-down elsewhere on the site, but I could certainly be mistaken about that.

Thank you very much for your hard work on this so far and in the future.
posted by Errant at 6:44 PM on May 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


👍 for this feature
posted by lampshade at 6:48 PM on May 2, 2016


Flagged as Childe Hassam.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:06 PM on May 2, 2016


Wonderful. Would much prefer inline though, or if that is off the table then at least make the comment box open by default. And a Classic Theme version would be ideal, if it's going to be a modal; I thought Classic Theme was going to be fully supported indefinitely?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:10 PM on May 2, 2016


poffin boffin: "well then i would just like it noted that i did not put the treaty of westphalia in the box instead of asking first"
Them clothes got laundry numbers on them. You remember your number and always wear the ones that has your number. Any man forgets his number spends a night in the box. These here spoons you keep with you. Any man loses his spoon spends a night in the box. There's no playing grab-ass or fighting in the building. You got a grudge against another man, you fight him Saturday afternoon. Any man playing grab-ass or fighting in the building spends a night in the box. First bell's at five minutes of eight when you will get in your bunk. Last bell is at eight. Any man not in his bunk at eight spends the night in the box. There is no smoking in the prone position in bed. To smoke you must have both legs over the side of your bunk. Any man caught smoking in the prone position in bed... spends a night in the box. You get two sheets. Every Saturday, you put the clean sheet on the top... the top sheet on the bottom... and the bottom sheet you turn in to the laundry boy. Any man turns in the wrong sheet spends a night in the box. No one'll sit in the bunks with dirty pants on. Any man with dirty pants on sitting on the bunks spends a night in the box. Any man don't bring back his empty pop bottle spends a night in the box. Any man loud talking spends a night in the box. You got questions, you come to me. I'm Carr, the floor walker. I'm responsible for order in here. Any man don't keep order spends a night in...

...the box.
posted by Treaty of Westphalia at 7:13 PM on May 2, 2016


And a Classic Theme version would be ideal, if it's going to be a modal; I thought Classic Theme was going to be fully supported indefinitely?

Can you give a little bit of detail on what's happening (or not happening)? We're very much supporting Classic along with Modern for this, so it sounds like something isn't working right on your end.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:43 PM on May 2, 2016


Yay! I got a pony I didn't even openly ask for (I don't think . . . .), although I've wanted it for a while. Thanks, pb & Team Mod.

My only (minor) gripe would be that as formatted it wasn't very clear at first that the arrow was an arrow I needed to click to open the comment box - with it just kind of hanging out at the end of the sentence it seemed like either I was supposed to click my cursor after the arrow & then start typing, or maybe the whole "optional note" sentence was where I was supposed to begin typing, with the text being over-written by my comment. I mean, I get it now, but I think some of the format variations suggested or already considered would make it clearer where to add an optional comment.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:53 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


cortex: "Can you give a little bit of detail on what's happening (or not happening)? We're very much supporting Classic along with Modern for this, so it sounds like something isn't working right on your end."

I thought it was a modern theme modal. The box is very white here on the grey. Though I notice now that the buttons are the square ones from the classic theme.
posted by Mitheral at 7:59 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I like the comment box, but the triangle is way too small to easily click -- I expect the entire text (add optional note to mods) to be clickable, and it surprises me that it doesn't open up the box. I do want to be able to esc out.

But I really don't like the flag image, which is too heavy and focus pulling. No letters have huge rectangles of text colour, so the flags are excessively weighty.

What will happen on recent activity? Same as here?
posted by jeather at 8:06 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


poffin boffin: well then i would just like it noted that i did not put the treaty of westphalia in the box instead of asking first

Should have read the thread first. Why didn't I read the thread first.
posted by jjray at 8:09 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ok, this might be too late, but what if the flag feature stayed as-is and you added a separate "write to mods about this" control? Does the note to mods need to include a flag?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:15 PM on May 2, 2016


Pfft. Westphalia is so gauche at this point. All the cool kids are posting the text of the 1763 Treaty of Paris.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:17 PM on May 2, 2016


My opinion without reading most of 130 comments: The sideways triangle to open the box is not the most obvious thing to click on. I think just about everyone will figure it out, sure, but is there a slightly more conventional UI appearance that conveys "more if you click here"? Can the entire string also be clickable rather than the tiny tiny triangle? Cheers.
posted by sylvanshine at 8:19 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


fleg
posted by nom de poop at 8:34 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


It would be super awesome if you could move the pop-up around and get the page to scroll behind it (same as the inline video function works).

I also support the new flag icon (opposed to the !), the suggestion to go back to drop-down menu and have 'other' generate a note box pop-up, and the weird glitch where the whole page shifts a pixel to the right when the pop-up occurs.
posted by carsonb at 8:40 PM on May 2, 2016


Even without the comment box, I like this version much better. Not only was the original flag target hard to click, that dropdown menu was tiny and I misclicked reasons all the time. Then, the menu would instantly close, and it'd say "Flagged – you're DONE" and I'd be like noooo!

This feels way more comfortable.
posted by ignignokt at 8:57 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Looks good, I haven't tested it on mobile yet. I'd drop the brackets surrounding the flag icon in the bylines, it'd look a lot less cluttery as a simple standalone flag on that line.

I'd also agree the click target for expanding the textarea is a little bit small and feels too finicky, almost difficult for me to do the first time. Might as well just show it expanded, and grey it out with the word Optional in it, until people click into it.
posted by mathowie (retired) at 9:16 PM on May 2, 2016


You could just put the word "flag" in that space and it would be easier for some to click and more obvious in it's meaning.
posted by bongo_x at 9:16 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Can we have the flag be more of a pennant, please?
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:48 PM on May 2, 2016


Testing this with VoiceOver on iOS 9.3, iPhone 5s, a couple of issues:

I expected that double tapping on "optional note to moderator" would activate the keyboard. It's not at all obvious that I have to navigate to the right and double tap on the item labeled "black right-pointing arrow." It would definitely be better if double tapping on the 'optional note to moderator' brought up the keyboard, or, at minimum, that the black right-pointing arrow be given a descriptive label.

The popover does not hide elements underneath it from voiceover, so touching between the visible elements announces elements behind the pop-over, i.e., bits from the post being flagged. This is confusing, the pop-over should hide these elements from VoiceOver navigation while it is active.

Navigating left from 'Add Flag' starts cycling through elements from the bottom of the page, the first item to the left of "Add flag" being "All posts copyright their original authors." The popup should only let me navigate to what is active on the screen and not what is being hidden.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:50 PM on May 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Just want to say thanks for the ongoing feedback and testing, everybody. No new changes overnight, but we're hearing all the suggestions.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:06 PM on May 2, 2016


One more thing: the flag link is announced by VoiceOver as 'black flag'. Some way of making VoiceOver say 'flag post' instead would be much better. But that goes equally for how the add favourite link is just read as "plus" and not "add favourite".
posted by Space Coyote at 10:10 PM on May 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


The expand to open text box isn't just a problem for big fingers on mobile. It's an accessibility UGH. It's late and I'm wiped out, and if more detail is necessary I can fill in tomorrow. But briefly: making anything mouse dependent means that there are people who won't be able to use it. If you can't control via keyboard it's a barrier for many.

Maybe split the difference and have (Optional) in the description for the text box? Or make the text box even smaller so as to suggest two or three lines?

Please to be optimizing for accessibility. Disabled folks are marginlized and if making flagging more functional so people can say things like "this is super dog whistle abelism not cool" could not have an additional barrier that would be really excellent. You are doing testing now, you have the opportunity to do right here. Please consider other ways around your fear that people will interpret it as mandatory, rather than doing this easy thing that makes it less accessible.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:16 PM on May 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


Using the plain white theme, Windows 7, Chrome, the dialog box has no action buttons to flag or cancel.
posted by maggieb at 10:24 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm looking forward to best-of lists.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:25 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I feel like I will use this more often than not. The text box should just be there. No need to make me click the thing to get it first. Just mark it as optional. Bonus points for getting the TAB order right.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:26 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


The flag shows up as an exclamation point in "recent activity", and you don't have the option of entering a note if you flag things from there. This may be by design, but I thought I would mention it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:28 PM on May 2, 2016


At the moment there is no character limit; current plan is to keep the text box itself small as a hint and then resort to rolled up newspapers for anyone who seems to be habitually not taking that hint.

I apologize for the experimental 100 copies of the treaty of Westphalia that I just threw at it to see what it would do. Turns out it just sits there and takes it and then I see the note about rolled-up newspapers.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:46 PM on May 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


stoneweaver: "But briefly: making anything mouse dependent means that there are people who won't be able to use it. If you can't control via keyboard it's a barrier for many. "

I didn't articulate it but this is why I mentioned tabbing up screen. Has anyone tried the new flagging system in Lynx?

Joe in Australia: "The flag shows up as an exclamation point in "recent activity", and you don't have the option of entering a note if you flag things from there."

New flagging only works in this thread while testing and feedback is in progress.
posted by Mitheral at 10:56 PM on May 2, 2016


(It doesn't work for posts in this thread viewed from the Recent Activity page.)
posted by clorox at 11:00 PM on May 2, 2016


Rephrase: It only works on this specific page out of all the pages served by the site.
posted by Mitheral at 11:08 PM on May 2, 2016


Did we discuss flagging for "fantastic comment"? (one of the drop down reasons) That seems to be a strange option to me since flagging is supposed to signal BAD. And "fantastic comment" is also very close to favorite, and I'm not sure why mods would need 800 people telling them this.
posted by RaRa-SpaceRobot at 11:16 PM on May 2, 2016


Unless that option is only for this Metalk... which would make sense.
posted by RaRa-SpaceRobot at 11:22 PM on May 2, 2016


Flagging is not supposed to signal BAD. Flagging signals 'this needs some attention'.
The "fantastic comment" flag is, as far as I know, used for picking noteworthy comments for the sidebar.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:45 PM on May 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh, I see. Thanks for the clarification!
posted by RaRa-SpaceRobot at 11:48 PM on May 2, 2016


Flagging for "fantastic comment" is great. I use it (very sparingly) to basically say "this should be sidebarred," or at least "this comment gives me great joy and makes me so glad I'm part of this community."
posted by zachlipton at 11:50 PM on May 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


I had a comment sidebarred once. It was glorious. I felt like it was my birthday.
posted by Too-Ticky at 11:58 PM on May 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


2. Text field only for "other", and selecting any flag from the drop down auto-submits the flag. Gets rid of the extra click for standard flagging, but creates a specific kind of behavior ("must select 'other' to leave a message") that is a little clumsy in its own right.

I do not see the problem with #2. Other (specify) is a vastly more comprehensible system, in some ways, than "HTML error" and then adding a note.
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:01 AM on May 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Classic theme on Android Chrome, nothing showing up for flags - just a set of square brackets and a space where the exclamation mark used to be (the whitespace is not clickable). Emoji work fine on here 90% of the time.
posted by Dysk at 1:10 AM on May 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


The little unicode flag is fine, although the outline flag might fit in better & not be quite as loud perhaps?

The pop-up dialog needs some design love though. I seem to have light grey on white text which is awful & the design clashes with everything else about the site at the moment.

Would it be possible to extend the previous design flow which fitted in nicely with the metfilter design aesthetic? Something like: Click on the flag icon -> get drop down to choose flag reason + X to cancel -> choose flag reason -> get pop up text box with an X to cancel button -> type whatever you like, including nothing at all then hit enter to submit the flag. Simple flow & no bright colourful buttons.
posted by pharm at 2:15 AM on May 3, 2016


Thanks for this! It will make my grumps and rants so much easier to foist upon the mods so I think we can all agree it's win-win.
posted by billiebee at 2:48 AM on May 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


hey i just thought of this thing

make flag notes readable by everyone

everyone can read flag notes

and you can flag flag notes and leave notes on those too

boom! i just invented threaded comments

you're welcome
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:53 AM on May 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


A little late getting back on the Classic Theme thing, but basically I would say what Mitheral already said: when I opened the flag dialog on Classic Mobile, I thought it was a Modern theme modal. The whiteness and the fat, light-gray border made it look like it belonged somewhere else, and I guess I just assumed that it was designed to go with Modern. If I were making this to go with Classic, I'd take cues from the popup box that we get with inline Youtube videos: make it color keyed to the subsite, with a thin border of MeFi gold. The buttons don't make me think "Classic Theme" either, since one of them is red which is a color we don't often see. (I get it now, but that's not how it read to me when I first saw them it.)

Overall though, I love this new feature! This is the biggest improvement to MeFi since the edit window, as far as I'm concerned. I really appreciate all the work that's going into this, and I feel optimistic that it will translate into better community feedback, less work for the mods, and an improvement to the already excellent moderation that happens here. Seriously, this is great.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:41 AM on May 3, 2016


All the way to the bottom of the page and NOT ONE dreadful false flag pun?
MeFites, I don't even know you anymore.
posted by taff at 5:18 AM on May 3, 2016


(And for reference, I am only getting an unclickable space where the exclamation mark is normally on modern on Android Chrome as well.)
posted by Dysk at 5:26 AM on May 3, 2016


Where are we on Flag Editing? I'd hate to think you folks were stuck reading my typo-ridden flag comments.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:41 AM on May 3, 2016


While I appreciate all the work that has gone into this, and I fully support the idea of optional notes on flags, I am surprised by how much I dislike this implementation. I thought the previous inline flagging system was so elegant and well-integrated, and this seems so clunky in comparison. I'm also very sad to see the exclamation point go. As an infrequent flagger who has the privilege to feel pretty well served by the existing system, I realize I am not the target audience for this change, but this will probably make me flag less in all honesty.

Again, I sincerely appreciate the work and the willingness to make changes and to test those changes with the userbase, and I think flag notes are an excellent and helpful idea that will improve the site overall, but I'm not in favor of this version of it. I hope this comment doesn't come off as needlessly harsh. Sorry gang.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:49 AM on May 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


What's the thinking on not visually displaying an indicator next to comments which have been flagged?

The count of Favorites -- a positive message -- is visible by default; why not also the count of the negative flags, even/especially if the names of the flaggers are not revealed?
posted by wenestvedt at 6:26 AM on May 3, 2016


wenestvedt: i don't like that idea at all. i realize favorites have become a way people keep score here for some but I don't think that should be encouraged more than it is if possible. and as a practical matter, I flag for all sorts of reasons which are not necessarily negative - HTML stuff, "I think the mods should keep an eye on this argument because it might turn into a mess" but not "this is a bad comment and you should feel bad for making it."

like I can't imagine what good would be achieved by keeping track of flagging as an antifavorite.
posted by dismas at 6:34 AM on May 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


I like the idea of being able to expand on a flag when necessary but I really think you need to put a character limit on it, for the sanity of all the mods. Maybe it would be possible to have a note come up, after a certain number of characters, that longer comments should be submitted via the contact link?
posted by h00py at 6:36 AM on May 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


I like this a lot and definitely prefer it to what we have, but would also prefer it to be inline if that's a technical possibility.
posted by Stacey at 6:43 AM on May 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Wenestvedt, I think the idea is that publicly displaying flags would end up greatly contributing to the phenomenon of public shaming and dogpiling which is something that the mods already work hard to keep down to a bare minimum, to the benefit of all. One of the persistent criticisms of the favorites system is that it contributes to the echo chamber phenomenon and turns participating on MeFi into a competition for public approval. Making flags publicly visible would essentially create the negative version of that same phenomenon, which would probably be much more deleterious to quality discourse than the current positive-only version.

Basically, it would turn flags into downvotes and lead to a serious increase in overall bad feelings. Flags are intended as a way of alerting the mods of a potential problem, not a way of publicly expressig disapproval. I really hope that I'm right in saying that making flags public is probably off the table as far as the mods are concerned.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:57 AM on May 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


Again, I sincerely appreciate the work and the willingness to make changes and to test those changes with the userbase, and I think flag notes are an excellent and helpful idea that will improve the site overall, but I'm not in favor of this version of it. I hope this comment doesn't come off as needlessly harsh.

After sleeping on it, this is really where I am as well. Here is my short list of reasons

1. It adds friction to flagging generally which discourages flagging
2. It changes the flagging experience for the entire userbase in order to add a (desirable) feature which may not be necessary
3. It moves focus away from the comment/post in a way that isn't elegant the way inline flagging is

I know you worked hard to come up with this. I'd personally really appreciate an attempt to look at an inline approach so that most people could flag the same way they always have and people who wanted to leave a comment could take an extra click to do that.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:23 AM on May 3, 2016 [10 favorites]


On desktop (Chrome), the existing text on the page moves around slightly when the modal pops up. It's not a deal breaker, but it's disconcerting.

In general, I agree with Jessamyn that it discourages flagging, which is not the intended consequence.

Inline flagging that only pops up a modal if 'other' is selected seems like a nice compromise?
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:29 AM on May 3, 2016 [1 favorite]



I only see 2 brackets and no flag. Just like the old flagging icon but without the !


Me too and no matter how much I mash my finger nothing happens. So the whole flag functionality is just gone. I'm using the default built in "internet" browser on android which is how I do more than 80% of my metafiltering these days.

Also there are many places where the signature line takes three lines for no reason, like this:

posted by futz at 1:16 AM on
May 3
[2 favorites +] [⚑]


This is annoying because I'm on a small screen so am stuck scrolling more to get to the same content. It should just be one normally-spaced line that wraps naturally where it needs to for each screen rather than spread out and with forced line breaks.
posted by shelleycat at 7:30 AM on May 3, 2016


One more thing is that I expect when I click outside the box, the box will close up automatically, but it does not.

I haven't noticed weird bugs or text moving on Chrome desktop (windows) or mobile (android).

(Although I slightly prefer the inline flagging, I don't have anything against the popup. But I really don't like the icon.)
posted by jeather at 8:01 AM on May 3, 2016


shelleycat: "Also there are many places where the signature line takes three lines for no reason"

This is the default behavior on mobile browsers to make the [+] easier to tap.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:02 AM on May 3, 2016


visible by default; why not also the count of the negative flags...?

Yeah, making flags public isn't on the table. For years, people have occasionally asked for "downvotes" or similar and we've been saying no. Basically, it would add a negative dynamic to the public side of the site, for no real benefit. Mods-only flagging is low-stakes, low-drama, low-public-negativity.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:09 AM on May 3, 2016 [8 favorites]


Weird that I didn't notice it before then, because this seems a lot worse today. It really doesn't need to be three lines, if your fingers are that fat make the text bigger, and does explain why I'm always scrolling scrolling in metafilter to the point I occasionally give up. I'm often on the train and I get jostled a lot then I accidentally touch the wrong part of the screen while I scroll and the whole page jumps somewhere else and it's frustrating. It's not nothing when extra cruft gets put into the page, it has usability downsides that need to be considered as well.

But what's really important to me is that this new flag change makes the whole flagging functionally disappear. It would be nice if it at least degrades gracefully if the icon doesn't show up so that the functionality might be ugly for some but is at least there for everyone.
posted by shelleycat at 8:11 AM on May 3, 2016


Thanks for all the feedback, folks. We're taking a look at all of this and both tweaking bits of the current test functionality (fixing up tabbing/focus, making the whole "optional note" field clickable, allowing click/esc to exit, trying to resolve some of the zoom/scale issues, etc) and looking at how we'd handle an alternate lower-friction inline-centric flow with just a modal for the "other, specify" option.

A little late getting back on the Classic Theme thing, but basically I would say what Mitheral already said: when I opened the flag dialog on Classic Mobile, I thought it was a Modern theme modal.

Ah, I get you then. Yeah, some further design nudging on the look/styling of the modal is likely to happen; we were more interested in testing out the functionality and usability than trying to get that stuff perfect at this point or we'd have spent more time on it up front. But the explicit feedback about it is useful for when we get that far. Was worried that it was just literally not working at all for you, glad that's not the case.

On desktop (Chrome), the existing text on the page moves around slightly when the modal pops up. It's not a deal breaker, but it's disconcerting.

I am seeing the same thing, in Modern Dark! Just a tiny nudge to the right when it opens. Which is interesting because I hadn't even noticed it until someone brought it up in here yesterday. Taking a look.

I only see 2 brackets and no flag. Just like the old flagging icon but without the !

Hmm, yeah, it sounds like there's a couple environments where that flag glyph isn't working correctly. That's a bummer; a unicode glyph is really the nicest light-weight solution to using something non-ascii there, and the failure is a client-side thing that we don't have any good way to fail gracefully away from to a different default to on render for clients that don't render it correctly.

I can think of a couple alternate ways we might handle that—possibly explicitly identifying a list of trouble clients by user-agent string and serving alternate char/glyph there, possibly serving a small image instead of a glyph (though that makes a slightly heavier page), possibly allowing an explicit ! vs ⚑ preference that can function as well as a safety fallback for folks from whom ⚑ just doesn't render correct in their environment—but it's not immediately clear to me what our best option would be there.

The count of Favorites -- a positive message -- is visible by default; why not also the count of the negative flags, even/especially if the names of the flaggers are not revealed?

This is an "over my dead body" sort of deal, yeah; folks have covered the basics pretty well, but in short I foresee basically zero upside and lots of downside to the idea of exposing flagging information in any way other than the existing the-user-can-tell-that-they-have-flagged-a-given-item state change. It's not a system for public voting or opprobrium.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:14 AM on May 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


Flag glyph works fine for me on Android 6 for both current Chrome and Firefox releases. Might be a font thing with old versions of Android maybe?

Yeah, clicking outside the box should probably close it, also it would be better if the whole of "optional note to moderator " text was clickable to open the textbox, not just the triangle, but I’d still prefer an inline flagging UI over a modal popup.
posted by pharm at 8:59 AM on May 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


No functional issues on my end. Agree that in-line would be much better. But I'm not much of a flagger so that's not a huge deal for me.

The flag glyph is driving me nuts though. Assuming that's not going to change: This script works just fine for me if I add this line in the appropriate section:

'⚑' : '!',
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:31 AM on May 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


I realize you may be shifting things around, but I would recommend not having "Other" as the first reason on the list -- it's odd to be offered that as a first choice without having seen the other options first. If you're trying to put something as default that will work in 90% of cases, then "It breaks the guidelines" seems like a better option. (And please put "Other" last in the list.)
posted by lazuli at 9:48 AM on May 3, 2016 [9 favorites]


"The flag glyph is driving me nuts though. Assuming that's not going to change: This script..."

Oh, good idea. I just used Stylish and some CSS to change all the site's flags to little steaming cups of coffee. Because I can pretend that if I flag something, I'm sending the mods a nice, cozy hot cup of coffee. Or hot chocolate.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:12 AM on May 3, 2016 [7 favorites]


I can't imagine what good would be achieved by keeping track of flagging as an antifavorite.
...and...
Wenestvedt, I think the idea is that publicly displaying flags would end up greatly contributing to the phenomenon of public shaming and dogpiling which is something that the mods already work hard to keep down to a bare minimum, to the benefit of all.

Those reasons hadn't occurred to me (I was thinking more along the lines of people seeing a shitty remark that was as-yet-unflagged, and flagging it), so thank you.

Yeah, making flags public isn't on the table.
Never miiiiiind. <Emily_Litella>
posted by wenestvedt at 12:05 PM on May 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


possibly allowing an explicit ! vs ⚑ preference that can function as well as a safety fallback for folks from whom ⚑ just doesn't render correct in their environment

Personally I'd be perfectly happy with a user-preference option like this and I imagine it would be less work for you guys than trying to find what weird browsers some of us are using.
posted by shelleycat at 12:10 PM on May 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't think there's any need to worry about flagging something that's already been flagged. As I understand it, the mods actually use that to help them gauge how urgent a situation might be. As the theory goes, a comment with one flag might just be an error or something odd that's bugging that one flagger, whereas something that's on fire with a dozen or more flags is probably about to start a flame war and needs to be dealt with immediately. All flags get addressed since (last I knew) they need to be individually marked as resolved in order for the on-duty mod to get them off their desk, but flag volume is one way that they differentiate between "huh" and "whoa!" type situations.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:22 PM on May 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just noticed on my iPhone 6 that there is no flag or cancel buttons. They just aren't there and there is no way to navigate to another page. I'm stuck and have to close out the tab. Weird.

Also, on my Verizon tablet (mentioned above) when I am in viewing in landscape which is the only way I use it, the keyboard hides the open flag box. I can't see it at all.
posted by futz at 1:33 PM on May 3, 2016


And (sorry) when the flag box is open on my tablet I can scroll up and down to see other comments but on the iPhone I can't. I am stuck until I choose cancel.

Edited to add a key word.
posted by futz at 1:37 PM on May 3, 2016


One more strongly in favor of doing it inline. I know having to move the mouse around doesn't seem like a very big barrier in the scheme of things, but it draws your eye away from your place on the page, and then you have to find it again when you're done. In the old system, you could just flag as you came to the offending comment and then seamlessly keep reading. Like, I think this literally makes it less intuitive to "flag and move on."

Great idea to have a comment option, though!
posted by ostro at 1:39 PM on May 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


OMG. I am sooo sorry to make multiple comments but my last comment is wrong!

It is the exact opposite.

I cannot scroll at all on my tablet but can on my phone. Sheesh.
posted by futz at 1:44 PM on May 3, 2016


Don't know how this behaves with NVDA or JAWS, but from an accessibility perspective, Voiceover on iOS reads the flag as:

"Black flag. Link. Flag this post"

There seems to be a colour attribute that's causing the "black flag" to be read aloud. I mean, I like Black Flag as a band, but that attribute can probably go. It should just read as "Link. Flag this post."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:20 PM on May 3, 2016


Black flag is the name of the unicode character so VO is reading the name of the character.
posted by pb (staff) at 3:22 PM on May 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


Ah. Very punk rock!

Also, the triangle beside the add moderator note option reads as "right pointing triangle," rather than describing what it does. In dragging through the flag pop-up box, as I drag my finger onto the reason scroll bar, it will switch focus to the text on the thread that's immediately undrrneath it. That makes the UI a little confusing since it's reading off content that's under the box itself.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:28 PM on May 3, 2016


I just noticed on my iPhone 6 that there is no flag or cancel buttons. They just aren't there and there is no way to navigate to another page. I'm stuck and have to close out the tab. Weird.

That is weird. On my iPhone 5 it seems to be behaving normally, though it did take me a moment to find the cancel "X" button, as it was still in the blue section and not in the flag scroll menu itself. I assume that's probably some weird aspect of Safari's current version of webkit or something of that nature that is making including the X button within the menu box difficult.

Even with that little awkward moment of looking for the 'cancel' button, as long as I had not made a selection the 'done' button worked just like clicking the 'X' above it. I didn't want to mis-flag a post just to test the 'done' button, so I tried the menu's 'back' button. Interestingly, rather than sending me to the previous page, it just sent me to the comment box at the bottom of the page.

I'd just like to say "Thanks, pb!" for adding the little extra space between the favorite and flag buttons on mobile devices. No matter if those few blank spaces between them ends up staying as a permanent thing or not, I appreciate you taking the time to experiment with it.

And also, in regards to the flag menu, even from my limited experiences with trying to maintain functionality and at least vague uniformity on how things like that behave across multiple platforms, browsers, and versions, I have a reasonable idea about how much a pain in the ass those can be sometimes. So with that in mind, I realize I'm overdue for a donation to the cause, so what better time to do so than now?
posted by chambers at 6:58 PM on May 3, 2016



Hmm, yeah, it sounds like there's a couple environments where that flag glyph isn't working correctly. That's a bummer; a unicode glyph is really the nicest light-weight solution to using something non-ascii there, and the failure is a client-side thing that we don't have any good way to fail gracefully away from to a different default to on render for clients that don't render it correctly.

I can think of a couple alternate ways we might handle that—possibly explicitly identifying a list of trouble clients by user-agent string and serving alternate char/glyph there, possibly serving a small image instead of a glyph (though that makes a slightly heavier page), possibly allowing an explicit ! vs ⚑ preference that can function as well as a safety fallback for folks from whom ⚑ just doesn't render correct in their environment—but it's not immediately clear to me what our best option would be there.


I mean, I understand that you like the glyph, but that sounds life a plan that's both a massive headache, and likely to cause all sorts of issues because cataloging and identifying every problem platform every time is hard.

I realise all the unicode stuff is a Web standard now, and everyone is very much in love with it and so on, but the actually existing ecosystem just does not handle it well, consistently, or in many cases at all. Relying on it for a fairly important functionality like this strikes me as a really bad idea, if you actually want your site to be accessible.
posted by Dysk at 12:59 AM on May 4, 2016 [5 favorites]


Further information: The flag does not appear on my Stock Android Nexus 7 2012 running Android 5.1.1

So I would guess that the black flag character only exists in the fonts that ship with Stock Android 6. Samsung et al may have shipped more complete fonts with their own Android releases of course.

You can test to see whether your browser / machine combination can render U+2691 BLACK FLAG at unicode-table.com.
posted by pharm at 2:09 AM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


🏴 :sɹǝsn uɐıʃɐɹʇsn∀ ɹoɟ sƃɐʃɟ ǝɥʇ ƃuıʇsǝ⊥

⚐ :ƨɘiɔnɘǫɒ ɘɔnɘǫillɘƚni ni ǫniʞɿow ƨɿɘƨu ɿoʇ ƨǫɒlʇ ɘʜƚ ǫniƚƨɘT

Everything seems fine.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:24 AM on May 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Don't let him leave
posted by infini at 11:42 AM on May 4, 2016


The flag system worked for great, even with all teh noscripts and what not. Its the originator of the same that won't be working

*dissolves into tears*
posted by infini at 11:43 AM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just looked at this on my computer where it works and yuck. Where is the little drop down box right where my mouse pointer already is and what is that big, ugly, non-matching box over there? Making me move the mouse around the screen for no reason is pretty unacceptable to be honest, I have shoulder problems and try to keep my mouse-dragging as low as possible (something which is not at all unusual). This box popping up in a different place is a real negative from an accessibility point of view and was clearly thought up by someone who never has to work with physical limitations. I will never use the flagging system as set up here simply because of this thoughtless implementation, which is a pity because the current system works very well.

Plus the unicode image looks frankly quite tacky. It will be completely dated in about six months. Why make all these extra changes? They don't add anything and cause a lot of problems. Just expand the drop-down that was already there to include the actually useful extra functionality and stop getting carried away.

This is like that ridiculous microsoft ribbon, an invention which has literally caused me so much pain since it's implementation for zero benefit. Don't be like microsoft.
posted by shelleycat at 1:03 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


The box is also really slow to appear and even slower to go when I drag the damn pointer over to hit cancel. And that little triangle is really small and it's very unclear that that's what I need to click. I shouldn't have to drag my mouse around looking for the thing that needs to be clicked waiting for that tiny flash as it turns to a hand and back again.

This is so gimmicky and, just, why? What was wrong with the flagging interface that we already had?
posted by shelleycat at 1:08 PM on May 4, 2016


it didn't allow people to add a comment explaining what was wrong. there was quite strong feeling in several recent meta threads (iirc), that allowing comments would help people share experiences and viewpoints that the mods themselves might not be aware of.
posted by andrewcooke at 1:26 PM on May 4, 2016


So what? Add that function at the bottom of the existing list like I said in my other comment before.

I've been thinking about this more and this is how I really thought it would work when I clicked this thing:
-list opens as before
-same list as before, but now when you click 'other' a new text box opens up right below it
-type in the box (or not) and hit enter

This is how it works everywhere else on the internet. This is how it worked even on paper before the internet. This is how the census forms I filled in more than twenty years ago were, tick the option that fits or tick other and fill in the box underneath. It is standard, expected behaviour. I do not get at all any reason why it is not like this here.

Now instead we get a box slowly appearing in a different place, adding an actually very large barrier to anyone with even small mobility problems like mine, a tiny little thing to click, also adding large barriers to anyone with eyesight or mobility issues, a gimmicky icon that doesn't work on a lot of browsers, and an ugly new interface that doesn't visually match the rest of the page (I use the classic dark theme). All for literally zero gain over the normal, widely used behaviour as I outlined above.
posted by shelleycat at 1:41 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Please go back to the drawing board and figure out an inline solution. You have the chance to do this right. Please.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:19 PM on May 4, 2016


How often do you guys flag stuff that this is so critically important?
posted by zachlipton at 2:23 PM on May 4, 2016


Just an update since I guess it isn't clear -- it's crystal clear to us the version we were testing in this thread doesn't work as well for everyone as we had hoped. We've heard you already and are already working on a different version to address the concerns people have raised in here. It's just taking a while. We'll bring the next trial version out as soon as we can.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:24 PM on May 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


Again, we've taken everybody's feedback on this into account and are working on this further and will do another test when we're happy with a second iteration; along with the good points about the specific display/focus/click details with this initial modal test, pb's exploring variations on an inline-centric implementation so that we can give that a try and see if it feels like a better compromise fit.

I agree that making sure its something that continues to work for basically everybody is a key thing; that's part of why doing this test has been so useful, so we can identify in practice where users are running into issues beyond just our internal testing with our tiny team.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:26 PM on May 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


We're also working on not replying simultaneously to stuff but there's a couple bugs there still.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:27 PM on May 4, 2016 [13 favorites]


Same-time reply is another thing on the docket.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 2:27 PM on May 4, 2016 [11 favorites]


How about making the flag look more like a pennant?
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:32 PM on May 4, 2016


There needs to be a mechanism by which all staff post identical comments simultaneously across all open threads.
posted by beerperson at 2:32 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


pb's exploring variations on an inline-centric implementation so that we can give that a try and see if it feels like a better compromise fit.

If anyone can do it he can! Thanks for being so responsive. This place is the absolute best.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:37 PM on May 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


From what I understand, in the normal scheme of things a flag is anonymous unless the mod specifically checks, is that right? Not that it's a hard thing to find out but just that it's not immediately visible? Or maybe I've imagined that. Anyway just wondering if it will work the same way with the new system? If the notes used to go via the contact form then obviously the mods knew who it was from, but do the new notes appear anonymously?
posted by billiebee at 3:04 PM on May 4, 2016


From what I understand, in the normal scheme of things a flag is anonymous unless the mod specifically checks, is that right?

Basically, yeah. It's a thin barrier and not intended as anonymity—I'd say I probably review who flagged something two or three times during a given shift just to get additional context if it's confusing, and we've made our toolset for doing that slightly better over the last few years with some additional in-thread flag summary info—but we're usually dealing with flags primarily as non-user-specific blips of attention-direction.

For notes I expect that to remain approximately the same, though we'll see how it plays out in practice. It may turn out that the more individual the communication is the more having user context helps, so a move from fixed labels to free-form text in the case of notes could come into play there. In any case we'll continue to treat flags and notes as fungible general community feedback outside of the odd situation where something is going super weird with flagging/noting behavior.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:19 PM on May 4, 2016


ok but did you read all the important notes i left
posted by poffin boffin at 3:33 PM on May 4, 2016


We all did. There's a tumblr.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:51 PM on May 4, 2016


Thanks cortex (also TIL fungible is a word). So does that mean you can't reply to the new notes the way you did before? I could imagine you guys getting a lot more of them so it might not be feasible in terms of workload to reply to every one anyway.
posted by billiebee at 3:52 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Right, there will be zero expectation that mods will reply to these notes; it's, like flagging, a one-way deal where you're just giving us some quick info about something to look at. If someone needs a reply to some thoughts about something they're flagging, the contact form remains the way to go.

That's something we'll lay out in updated FAQ entries once the feature goes live, and we'll talk about it a bunch up front in a MetaTalk when that launch happens.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:55 PM on May 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


I agree that the flag icon is too loud, at least in the modern theme. It's almost like it's begging me to flag every single comment. It actually feels less intrusive with the classic theme.

If you want to move away from the exclamation point, how about an interrobang?
posted by klausness at 4:29 PM on May 4, 2016


...but I'd actually prefer to stick with the exclamation mark (which, incidentally, I prefer to call "exclamation mark" rather than "exclamation point").
posted by klausness at 4:33 PM on May 4, 2016


How about making the flag look more like a pennant?

Or a peanut.
posted by bongo_x at 4:54 PM on May 4, 2016


Coming back to this thread a day later, the flags jump out at me in a visually dissonant way. They have more weight than the text above and below. Even if there are issues with the exclamation mark and the need for a new symbol, I hope that it doesn't settle on the current flag option.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:15 PM on May 4, 2016


I did the cup of ☕ coffee thing for the hell of it and to post my comment to the thread, but I've kept it and may continue to do so.

Other possibilities are: 😒 Unamused Face, 😭 Loudly Crying Face, 😩 Weary Face, 😠 Angry Face; and, of course, 💩 Pile of Poo.

Maybe the 👮 Police Officer makes the most sense, or perhaps 🙅 Face With No Good Gesture. But let's not forget the ever-useful🕴 Man in Business Suit Levitating. Sometimes, a 🚿 Shower is appropriate, or a 🗞 Rolled-Up Newspaper. Maybe the ☣ Biohazard Sign.

Flags can be "fantastic" so sometimes 🙌 Person Raising Both Hands in Celebration or the 👏 Clapping Hands Sign would be good. Or just the ❤️ Heavy Black Heart.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:22 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Another idea we've toyed with for the glyph thing is a custom font, loaded as a web font, with a single character glyph in it: a custom flag image for the "!" character. That has the advantage of giving us total design freedom for the actual flag glyph while also failing gracefully back to ! for environments that don't support alternate fonts or web fonts; the issue of a square box or absent glyph goes by the wayside.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:25 PM on May 4, 2016 [3 favorites]


Again, I have to say I don't follow the reasoning for using another symbol. Or I do, but I think you're mistaken. I don't believe that a flag glyph is any more self-explanatory than the exclamation, except for those who already know that we may "flag" comments. And if you know that, you almost certainly know what the exclamation point means. Note that the "+" for favorites is not at all self-explanatory, either. I don't see how any single glyph will actually be as self-explanatory as we might wish.

Although I somewhat strongly believe that every web browser at this point in time should support display of the vast majority of Unicode code points, it's the case that clearly some minority do not. Not to mention the issue that the implementation of emoji and similar characters can be wildly divergent and in some cases just wrong. I anticipate that a custom web font for a single character that transparently fails to an exclamation point would work for most people, it would also come with some problems. And all of this for a solution that really isn't much of a solution, it just wouldn't be that much more intuitive.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:38 PM on May 4, 2016


I, too, prefer the exclamation point. It's lightweight and doesn't have any compatibility issues. It goes with the [+] for favorites in that they're both ascii buttons made out of punctuation marks, which I think is just so MeFi in a really charming old-school kind of way. Screen readers don't necessarily handle Unicode glyphs well either, as was pointed out above, so there's an accessibility issue there as well.

I also think that it draws too much attention to itself. MeFi threads are all about the text, and the flag glyph is the most image-like thing in this comment thread, which really makes it stand out. I get that you want to draw a little more attention to the flagging feature and I appreciate the larger click target (though to be honest I don't have trouble hitting the ! on my phone when I want to, and I have pretty stubby fingers over here) but I dunno if we want it to be such a focal point.

Lots of people have also pointed out that the flag glyph is only self-explanatory if you already know about flagging, which I think kinda clinches it for me. Basically I think the impulse behind the change was a good one, but that the trade-offs aren't worth it and it doesn't quite accomplish the intended goal. I don't have a proposal that would do a better job of achieving those goals with fewer drawbacks, though I'd be open to a solution like that if somebody thinks of one.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:16 PM on May 4, 2016 [2 favorites]


Unrelated point, in reaponse to what Ivan said just above me: Unicode and Emoji are totally different things, with different issues. Unicode may have support problems, but at least it's a recognized standard. Emoji is a whole 'nother thing, and I don't think anyone is seriously advocating that we use it as part of the interface here. That would be madness.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:26 PM on May 4, 2016


Emoji have been included in Unicode for a while.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:33 PM on May 4, 2016


We are definitely not talking about emoji, in any case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:33 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Although I somewhat strongly believe that every web browser at this point in time should support display of the vast majority of Unicode code points, it's the case that clearly some minority do not.

As this thread's resident "stuck running Win XP at work" curmudgeon: the only glyph in your "other possibilities" comment that renders correctly is ❤️ Heavy Black Heart.

And having now seen it rendered properly on my home PC: yes, the Black Flag glyph does appear too heavy and eye-pulling to me. If if were hollow rather than filled it would carry less visual weight. But I still like [!] better: lighter, and more in keeping with Metafilter's primarily-textual ethos.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 6:37 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


We had a deal, Kyle: "the only glyph in your "other possibilities" comment that renders correctly is ❤️ Heavy Black Heart."

Which is red on my machine probably changing the intent of whatever a user would be intending when using it.
posted by Mitheral at 6:43 PM on May 4, 2016 [4 favorites]


I suspect that browser support for the "Miscellaneous Symbols" block that "Black Flag" is in is not that disjoint from support for the emoji blocks. You'd expect everyone to have Miscellaneous Symbols by this point, but alas. And all the modern browsers and on both PCs and phones support the emoji blocks. And, really, there are no formal "emoji" blocks, but an "emoticon" block. And, for example, Heavy Black Heart is in the "Dingbats" block (it's no surprise that XP supports it). These are all just symbols and while the emoji additions are more recent, you still can't really assume that everyone's browser/OS is going to have even the "Miscellaneous Symbols" level of support.

Alternatively, again, we now live in a Unicode world (yay!) and the vast majority of browsers/OSs support most Unicode blocks and therefore if you're going to choose a symbol, you should just choose the symbol you think is best, including something that's considered an "emoji".
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:49 PM on May 4, 2016


Now I'm curious what this looks like on other people's screens, it's really tiny on mine, much smaller and less obvious than the plus sign, and I just can't imagine we're seeing the same thing from all the comments.
posted by bongo_x at 8:22 PM on May 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Like this on my machine; Windows 10 and Firefox.
posted by Mitheral at 8:26 PM on May 4, 2016


Not as drastic as I imagined, but different.
posted by bongo_x at 8:34 PM on May 4, 2016


I don't love the flag symbol either. The [+] and [!] have an elegant coherence; with the flag I fear we're on a slippery slope towards [👍].
posted by tavegyl at 12:12 AM on May 5, 2016


if you're going to choose a symbol, you should just choose the symbol you think is best, including something that's considered an "emoji".

...not if it breaks the functionality by not rendering (and with no replacement box or anything) in some clients. As is the case.

I too look forward to the world where the unicode standard is actually standard. We're not there though, and it seems like a really petty and stupid reason to lock people out of something - because you absolutely had to have a silly little symbol.
posted by Dysk at 1:26 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


I can't make myself flag cortex so now I have to post my own comment to flag as offensive to test this
posted by langtonsant at 2:05 AM on May 5, 2016


If you’re going to go for a unicode flag character (the web font fallback approach seems like a neat hack that might even work) then the white flag: ⚐ would be much less heavy & obtrusive than the black flag ⚑, because (I think?) it ought be be transparent in the middle & therefore fit with whatever theme people are using. Lets see if it works in this post if I change the theme...
posted by pharm at 2:54 AM on May 5, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, that seems to look better than the black flag to me - it feels about the same weight as the rest of the text instead of looking like a bold insert.
posted by pharm at 2:57 AM on May 5, 2016


I've been thinking about this more and this is how I really thought it would work when I clicked this thing:
-list opens as before
-same list as before, but now when you click 'other' a new text box opens up right below it
-type in the box (or not) and hit enter


I don't know what's technically possible, but I would like to be able to add an explanatory note without having to choose "Other." I think there's power in labeling something as, e.g., racist, even if it's racist in subtle ways that may need further explanation for the moderators to understand, rather than having to say "Other."
posted by lazuli at 6:28 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't see the problem with choosing 'Other' in that case, since you can just say 'This is racist in such-and-such subtle ways because this-and-that'.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:43 AM on May 5, 2016


Technically it's not a problem. Emotionally it's a problem, because you're basically having to say, "I know you won't just take my word for it, so I can't click 'This is racist,' I have to click 'This is some other thing' and then patiently explain why it's racist." It sets up the conditions that can reinforce the oppressive status quo, where people have to tiptoe around labeling things as "racist" or "sexist" or whatever in order to avoid too much pushback. Even if that's not the intent of the set-up, even if that's not how the moderators will interpret the responses, it makes it look that way.
posted by lazuli at 6:49 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am thrilled that we will finally have this capability. I would however also prefer if it stayed completely inline rather than as a popup, and if the textbox just appeared next to the flag dropdown. Is something like that technically possible?
posted by capricorn at 8:54 AM on May 5, 2016


Short answer: it's trickier than it seems like it should be, to make it work for everybody without disrupting other things, which is how we got going on the track of the modal window in the first place. But pb is on the case and we're trying alternatives and thinking about some of the tradeoffs differently than we were before. So hopefully we'll have a next version to show folks in the next week or so.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:06 AM on May 5, 2016


I have to click 'This is some other thing' and then patiently explain why it's racist."

But you still get the optional text box if you pick the racist flag. So you can not only say it's racist but explain exactly why, if you want to.
posted by billiebee at 9:08 AM on May 5, 2016


Yeah, part of minimizing/avoiding any additional friction with an inline-centric approach is abandoning some of that extra flexibility that would come with the modal approach we've tried first here. I like the idea of having the flexibility of label + text vs. label or text, which drove in part this first approach, but we don't have any good solution as yet to make that as lightweight as the current process.

Like LM said, we're working on that new iteration and I'm looking forward to testing it out as well to see how it fits for folks. I appreciate both the enthusiasm for and critical feedback of this first test; it's been useful for us in exactly the way I would hope a test would be, regardless of my personal fondness for some of the things in the modal approach that have turned out to be heavier or less consistently supported by varied browsing environment than hoped.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:33 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


billiebee: But you still get the optional text box if you pick the racist flag.

In the current iteration, yes. But as I understand it, lazuli was responding to a specific suggestion that had the 'Other' flag as the only one that would bring up the text box.
posted by Too-Ticky at 9:55 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ah, sorry, I didn't pick up on that.
lets never fight again
posted by billiebee at 10:05 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


Really looking forward to seeing Version 2 of this feature! I don't know why, but the minutiae of MeFi's inner workings are super interesting to me. Maybe because this place is such a model for how to do shit right.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 10:15 AM on May 5, 2016


Thanks, LM. Appreciate your and everyone else's hard work on this! Regardless of the exact format, I am very excited for flag notes.
posted by capricorn at 10:35 AM on May 5, 2016


I cannot wait for this on the election threads.
posted by corb at 10:50 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


But as I understand it, lazuli was responding to a specific suggestion that had the 'Other' flag as the only one that would bring up the text box.

Perhaps either replacing "Other" with "Send note to mods..." (or something like that), or else adding "Send note to mods..." in addition to the current options including "Other." N.B.: since an ellipsis seems to have become semi-standard in computer menus to indicate "you will be given more options after you select this one," I think including an ellipsis after the one inline option which opens a text box — if that's the way we go — is a good visual cue that the user will have additional input if they select this option.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:57 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also just wanted to add that I too love the general idea, because I will finally be able to properly inform the mods that I am voting #1 quidnunc kid.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:58 AM on May 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


On my morning commute today I wondered if we could replace "Other" with "Fucking SERIOUSLY?" which I think would work just as well.
posted by billiebee at 11:01 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Something in the flag label to make it explicit is a certainty, yeah. Whether that's a modified "other..." or "other, specify" or some additional flag-with-note prompt is something we're chewing on.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:03 AM on May 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


Just a data point, white flag as posted above actually shows up in Chrome on my Galaxy S5, whereas black flag still is quite unreadable.
posted by limeonaire at 3:38 PM on May 5, 2016


What if you shifted the add note functionality to a link on already flagged comments?

E.g.:

[+] [Flagged (add note)]
posted by zamboni at 8:29 AM on May 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


That's a great idea, zamboni. A pop-up window would be less annoying in that case, since it is offering additional functionality that was not present before, rather than moving a previously in-line function to the window.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:38 AM on May 6, 2016


I freakin' love zamboni's idea. It just seems like such a simple and elegant solution that fixes like 90% of the issues with the current implementation. The only hesitation I would have is that there have been people here for whom the modal was just not working properly, and that might be a problem here too. That's going to be a problem with any system that doesn't use an inline text box though for flag notes, which I think would come with plenty of issues of its own. I would love it if the eventual solution looks a lot like zamboni's suggestion, with some extra care and attention paid to make sure that the modal was as seamless and compatible as possible. Of course, since this plan wouldn't change the existing flag menu at all, anyone who had a problem with the modal (short of it actually breaking the page) could just fall back to the existing contact form-based system if necessary.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:41 AM on May 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


The new inline-centric iteration we're working on does away with that modal approach entirely in favor of a more meat-and-potatoes HTML form element approach rendered under the flagged comment; it should hopefully yield fewer edge-case issues than the modal, since the implementation will be very similar to e.g. the comment box.

The note-as-action-after-flagging idea is interesting, and I'll keep that in mind for future iteration possibilities, though hanging the spawning of the note widget directly off an "Other, specify..." flag is more streamlined and is the current approach we're taking. I worry a little that dissociating the action of leaving a note on a flag from the process of selecting a flag could make the feature a bit more mystery meat in some ways than the approach we're trying.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:07 AM on May 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Hmm. I'm not personally in love with the idea of the explanation box only being available for "Other, specify..." but I'm not gonna pitch a fit if that's how the feature ends up. Lots of times I've flagged something as a derail or as noise, for instance, and then wanted to provide a short explanation for why I thought that was the case because I felt it wouldn't seem obvious to the mods at a glance.

I could easily see wanting to do something similar for offensive/sexism/racism or HTML/display error, or for cases where the reason for the flag is clear but I want to provide additional context such as "This is the third time this week that I've noticed this $user doing this."

Basically, I guess I've been looking at this feature not just as a way of classifying flags that don't fit neatly into the available categories, but also as a way of providing supplementary information to easily-categorized flags when warranted. If that's not the way the mods want the feature to be used then that's cool, it's just different from how I personally have been thinking about it.

In any case this is all pretty academic until we see the next iteration, so don't mind me. I'm just thinking out loud over here.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:01 PM on May 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, there's a bunch of little tensions in any given design of it informed by those pros and cons. The flexibility of the modal window approach was its big upside for me, and was why I wanted to give that a going over and see how it feels, etc.

Historically I think most discussions about adding this feature have been mostly focused on an incremental change like the next iteration we're working on; the idea of having an "other, specify..." sort option with a note field has been the core idea, and the flexibility of choice of label + free form note hadn't really been in the conceptual mix as much if at all.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:23 PM on May 6, 2016


Yeah, I think my idea of what this feature is about has been kinda morphing over the course of this discussion without my realizing. Your description of the earlier discussion around it matches my memory too, now that I bother to think back on it. I'm sure that whatever y'all decide on in the end will be a big improvement to the existing system, in any case. I feel like the overall goal is "more and more useful flagging" and that things are headed in that direction, so really it's all good.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:30 PM on May 6, 2016


If we go with the "other, specify" option, my only concern would be that the mods have said in the past that the "offensive" flag gets mod eyes on it faster than the others. If I need to flag something urgent with the "other, specify" option, would that still merit a quick response?
posted by capricorn at 9:03 AM on May 7, 2016


Basically all flags come to the same place and appear in the same size font and so on, and mostly all get looked at within a shortish time. So it's not a huge deal, from the speed perspective, what flag is chosen. Obviously if all notes showed up as 'other,' we would know that, and it would inform our response. I don't think there would be a big difference on our end in how we'd respond to a flag of "offensive" with a note vs. a flag of "other" with a note, if notes only attached to "other," if that makes sense.

Even so, it may make a difference to how people feel in flagging. We've heard the people in here offering reservations about the labeling of 'other,specify' vs 'leave a note' or whatever, so it's something that's on our radar for sure.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:27 AM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


The speed of response idea is also an artifact of older flag management habits; we've shifted over the years to a more active processing of the flag queue that means we're less likely to be sorting through an accumulation of flags than might've been the case in e.g. 2008. So that's less of a thing to begin with at this point than lore might suggest.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:45 AM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


Thanks for taking the time to try this out and give us feedback! We have a new version in the works that we're testing here: Inline Flag Notes (Take 2).

We're going to close this up.
posted by pb (staff) at 4:59 PM on May 9, 2016


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