There seem to be a lot of posts on the forum lately that are “temporarily hidden” based on members of the community flagging them. I looked at the Discourse forum, and it seems that this is something new that Discourse added recently. The way it is working is that 3 community members can coordinate to flag someone’s post before anyone else has a chance to read it, and once flagged it is hidden until the post is edited, which means that if someone thinks their post shouldn’t have been flagged because it did not violate any guidelines, and therefore does not want to change it, the post stays hidden forever, but with the poster’s name still attached. I have problems with the potential power it gives 3 coordinated users to act as censors of other users, and also with the negative implication caused by leaving the poster’s name visible. My question is, in the case where a user does not edit the post, will the moderators be making a decision fairly quickly, or just leaving the flag up with the user’s name but no content?
Staff and moderators review everything that is flagged and have options to agree with the flag, disagree with the flag, and take various actions (or not) based on the content. One action could be to unhide the post. More info on what the flagging system looks like to moderators here: https://meta.discourse.org/t/discourse-moderation-guide/63116
The speed at which this review process happens is dependent on whether someone is available to respond to flags. The forum is only a small portion of staff time and moderators are volunteers. In many cases we also first consult each other to ensure we are responding as fairly/appropriately as possible to flagged content.
Staff and moderators can view the usernames of everyone who flags content, so if someone has a trend of making flags inappropriately, that’s something that would be addressed with them by the staff and/or moderators.
Thanks for the fast and detailed reply. I am glad that the moderators will still be involved instead of letting just anybody make the final decisions, and it wasn’t clear to me if the moderators would look at the flag if the post remained unedited.