Since we have a full moderation team now and the load isn't all on one person, some of you may have noticed that flags are being handled a lot faster now. However, this has resulted in the problem that sometimes flags could be addressed before a user may have even had a chance to see the comment and fix their answer. I usually wait a day or two if the user is active to see if they'll fix it first; however, we would like a community consensus on how we should handle flags.

In particular, this is relating to invalid answers and submissions that are not serious contenders. Obviously, spam, offensive posts, and other serious matters will be handled immediately.

Feel free to add additional proposals on top of the three base ones I have presented. Upvote/downvote to show that you agree/disagree with a particular method.


4 Answers 4


Give users time

Wait until it's been 2 days since the user was notified that their submission is invalid to delete the answer.

For example, if someone commented that an answer is invalid in 2016 and it was only flagged now, remove it.

If someone comments that an answer is invalid (which the answerer did not previously know about) and immediately flags it, wait until it's been 2 days to delete the answer if it hasn't been fixed.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ There is no point whatsoever in doing this. Users can edit deleted answers, so, as a moderator, you can still delete the answer. You can even leave a comment on it before you delete, which should notify the user. Once their answer has been improved, they can flag it for moderator attention and request that it be undeleted. Please do not leave low-quality posts sitting around on the site simply to give people time. In so doing, you are frankly derelict in your duty as a moderator. It is not a kindness to anyone, and it doesn't solve any problems. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 31, 2020 at 1:02

Delete old posts immediately

I would like to also suggest the option of deleting invalid answers immediately on flagging only if there has been more than a year and a half since the last edit, with new invalid answers given more time (2 days seems to be the working number).

Older answers are less likely to have an active owner, and don't lose rep when deleted. The user will be notified of the deletion (with a comment explaining the reason and the process for reversal) and they will have time to fix it. There isn't much cost to it being deleted since it was inactive and the owner can fix it at any time. The main benefit is that it makes handling flags easier since we don't have so many flags sitting around un-handled.

  • \$\begingroup\$ In the case of a new flag on an old answer I'd suggest that the 2 days grace should still apply if the author is still active on the site; if they're not not then delete immediately. \$\endgroup\$
    – Shaggy
    Oct 22, 2020 at 10:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Shaggy Why do you suggest this? What harm do you see coming from deleting immediately? I see harm in deleting active posts immediately since fgitw is real. But with old answers I haven't thought of anything yet. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wheat Wizard Mod
    Oct 22, 2020 at 11:34
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Just that it's less jarring for the user to get a comment notification "Hey, you should fix this" than to get a notification "Your post was deleted." People might feel like "I would've fixed it if you'd given me a chance"--and yes, of course they can fix and undelete, but not everyone will realize that right away. \$\endgroup\$
    – DLosc
    Oct 24, 2020 at 0:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DLosc Personally, the reason I voted for this option over the others was that I think that the cost to the user getting the post deleted is less than the cost to the mods having to keep track of extra flags. I think having a policy that creates some negative experiences is fine as long as enough benefit comes from it. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27, 2020 at 17:45

Delete it immediately

Comment on and remove the invalid answer immediately, and let the user fix it and flag for undeletion if they decide to.


Give users a reminder

Give the user a reminder/new notification to fix it before removing it.

For example, if someone commented that an answer is invalid in 2016 and it was flagged now, leave a new comment reminding them to fix it, and delete it 2 days later if it hasn't been fixed.

If someone comments that an answer is invalid and immediately flags it, even if the user was already told a long time ago, still wait 2 days to give the user another chance to fix it.


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