Should we make flags more visible?

And this probably gets to the subjective notion of what is offensive or out of line. Something that bothers you might not phase me, and vice versa.

I end up flagging when one of the less controversial threads suddenly takes a weird turn and people get personal about a dumb joke instead of going outside and watching a sunset.


Meh, how many chances do you get to see a sunset? It happens, like, every day.

I vote for subtly shading posts redder the more they get flagged.

I flag a bit, mostly when it’s way off topic, or getting into personal back and forths, I won’t flag people just for expressing an opinion away from the groupthink (if such a thing exists).

Mostly I express my opinion by liking the autoclose comments.


What about cloudy days? Rain? Times your at work? How many sunsets do you truly watch a year without checking your phone at some point?

I just think people should up that number.


But what’s a dumb joke to you can be hurtful and mean to someone else… again, it’s subjective in nature, so it’s kind of hard to do this kind of “policing”.

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I agree, which is why flagging shouldn’t be weighted based on number of responses. I think Falcor does a masterful job of telling people to go stand in their corners and for the most part the listen. That’s probably because they’ve seen outright bans or thread closings without hesitation.

I mean, let’s take the recent closing of the chess thread as an example.

cifyt drops this little note at the end, an obvious joke at the expense of men:

That said, I kinda do think women are hardwired not to be better chess players. Mostly because it is a rare exception to find women engaged in pointless pursuits that do nothing to promote humanity, that focus on made up rules, to solve a problem that didn’t need to be solved, and could be better done by computers.

The obvious comedic intent here is that it starts to lean one way and then ends on the exact opposite tack. Amusing, but going after males who spend a lot of time playing chess. Fair play when the thread starts from a sexist comment in the first place, but an obvious joke and a one-off at that.

Two days later someone picks the thread back up and takes him to task for it. He then comes back and defends himself with a more personal pointed joke that borders on attack, a third person joins, followed quickly by a fourth and it’s suddenly blown out of proportion when it wasn’t that worrisome to start with and had been winding down anyway.

My point is that everyone here throws out barbs or quips, I know you and I have exchanged them at times, but we don’t make them personal attacks. I don’t intentionally try to go after subjects I know are sensitive and try to self-censor. I’m sure you do the same. But if we attach weight to say “this response got three flags and that one only got one” it seems unbalanced when both parties are wrong. Making one disappear because it was downvoted more than the other seems unfair when the solution as now involves a disinterested third party who says “you’re both being dumb, I’m deleting this and that and this is now closed, end of discussion.”


##Do you see any potential for abuse and/or gaming of such a mechanism?

  • No, I am unimaginative or disingenous
  • Seriously? Within 5 minutes ALL threads would be various tints of red, or red

0 voters

Oh g-d, I am one of 3 that liked the attack, and I can’t walk it back. AAAARGH.

Except for spam (and even in the case of foreign languages, I usually check to see that it is unambiguously spam), I’m rather reluctant to flag anything. I’ve learned to “like” stuff, but I prefer to comment.


I’ll say this, it was intended as a joke about a sport. If someone gets bent out of shape because someone doesn’t like their sport, wow…just sad and pathetic. I like a lot of unproductive things…I was a professional musician for a decade + and I trained others to be just as unproductive as I was to do things that encouraged folks to sit around and be narcissistic and explore how they contribute nothing to the world, so lets sing about it! I make fun of my own pursuits knowing the importance of them in the scheme of things.

Honestly, that little joke ended up with several pissed off people, and defending myself on this on something that shouldn’t have needed to be defended against, I found my own posts deleted by a moderator and the thread closed. However, those attacking me personally for a post that wasn’t attacking anyone personally…their posts were left as they were.

Personally, I wouldn’t have even minded the folks that responded…other than the fact that they took it upon themselves to flag my posts for review. How sad is that? Tell me I’m a jerkhole for a throw away joke and move on with your life.


Because out of context the “attack” (note use of quotes) isn’t that bad as a one off either. But the fact that it’s hot on the heels of the previous post I’m willing to bet that clifyt felt he had to defend his internet honor instead of checking on the pink clouds.

Then there’s another barrage when he does so, when all three parties should have been concerned about that amazing shading from the purple toned nimbus clouds. Which, of course, results in a third blorp which should have been spent being amazed as the sun breaks through the clouds at the horizon for one last burst of gold over the trees over there.

I mean, if flags are downvotes, are likes upvotes and is it possible for defenders to bring something back up? Adding weight to flags and likes sounds like it’s adding a pretty complex system, but the benefit is that Falcor, et. al. can get some sleep and know a posse is roaming the streets. The only concern is if that posse feels the need to defend itself en masse.

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[quote=“clifyt, post:30, topic:56570”]
Tell me I’m a jerkhole for a throw away joke and move on with your life.
[/quote]This is what I’m saying. It got out of control really quickly in a way that was unexpected for all.

I prefer the solution to bad speech be more and better speech. Obvious spam, no problem, I’ll flag the crap out of it. Incredibly offensively worded ad hominem? Yup, gonna flag it. Garden variety misogyny, racism, whateverism? Let the community voice its disagreement so long as things don’t go sideways off into personal attack land.

I would take the sparing use of flags to be a huge endorsement for how site moderation and community curation have been handled in BBS. It’s a fun sandbox, and I’m grateful that you let us play in it (especially when we do goofy stuff like running a comment thread up to 5000 or put waaaaaay too many polls in one thread). :slight_smile:


I’m a little wary of redefining a flag as a downvote. It isn’t that.

Sort of. If the post reaches the flag threshold, it is hidden and a PM is dispatched to the user explaining the situation and offering to unhide it if they could graciously edit it to improve it. This happens automatically.

But very, very few comments here reach the flag threshold of 3. And I think a few more should, having looked at what gets flagged. Which is why I wouldn’t mind a hair bit more of a pile on in those cases.

I think this example is a perfect one:

Tubacat: Why should birds be what you/we think of as “well-behaved”? I’m with Space Monkey. I spent a hour in Costa Rica once just watching a pair of scarlet macaws interact with each other; they looked beautiful and intelligent, and very happy not in cages…
logruszed10h: I’m not interested in your agenda regarding any form of pet ownership. Nor am I interested in playing pedantry-chicken with you.
Tubacat: Wow. Just wow. Glad I don’t know you.

And the way you described it as:

  1. Adds nothing to the conversation
  2. Actively brings down the level of conversation, by that I mean it actively encourages a downstream trainwreck
  3. Ultimately should not have been posted at all

Perhaps then, that’s the way to think of the flag?

It’s a much bigger problem in the controversial topics. Though as @waetherman noted it can pop up randomly, too.

This is what I was trying to tell @Mindysan33 when I said “people who love fighting so much they forget that fighting is not the point of what we’re doing here.” Happens to all of us at some point, too, not saying anyone is fully immune from this.

Well, mostly dudes. But still.


Rather than flag misguided assholery I tend to wait for someone to welcome the new commenter, tell them we hope they stick around for more than one thread and then furnish a like 'pon that snarky comment.

Perhaps there’s a novel mechanism for leveraging that kind of passive aggressive response into a flagging system?


Honestly, in my case it is because I don’t know what the man even wants and I am not sure I want to make common cause with him.

Boing Boing has a clearly visible stance on many outside issues, but it does not communicate a clear idea of what is considered acceptable or desirable discourse. I think the moderation is intransparent and at least seems inconsistent.

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This, in a discussion of how we are the moderators and our flags drive moderation?

If you don’t flag, you don’t moderate.

It’s like voting – if you don’t do it, you have nothing to complain about.


Be the change you want to see!

I still think the best way to improve flagging is to let us gameify it.


Yes, exactly.

BB staff and @falcor’s word is final, of course, but I find that the community here has a pretty solid idea of what the Happy Mutant community should encourage and discourage. We work together to have a community that we can all enjoy.

(just with a tad more overall flagging, pls)

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Maybe I wasn’t being clear. I’m not in favor of downvotes - they end up being about disagreeing as opposed to thinking a comment is not appropriate. And I guess what I’m saying is that what I think of as a flag from other sites doesn’t seem to match what you seem to want a flag to mean; to me, flagging is a last resort, a recourse only for the truly profane. But you seem to be suggesting that the truly mundane should be flagged as well, so maybe it should be called something different. That’s all I’m saying. And to be clear; I’m not saying it’s best solution, I was just throwing it out there in the spirit of brainstorming.

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