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author's profile photo Joachim Rees

​Alerting moderators on bad questions - the right thing to do?

When I come across a question that is formally wrong (like: having only "Help!" as a title; or: BEING WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS), I usually use the "alert Moderator" button, to let someone know. (Sometimes I don't even read the question itself in such cases).

I just would like to have some re-assurance / your opinion: this is "the right thing to do™", in order to keep the quality high?

Or is it "not being nice to fellow community members" or something?

How do you handle it, if you come across such content?



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  • Nov 28, 2016 at 02:58 PM

    I'd definitely say 'yes'. I'm doing the same thing... additionally, such a post violates the rules of engagement on SCN. I just try to explain to the user (in a private message), why the thread was deleted, but, of course, I do it only once.

  • Nov 28, 2016 at 03:38 PM

    Hi Joachim,

    i also alert the moderator but, at the same time, i reply to the OP explaining what's wrong in my opinion and that i alerted a moderator to check it.

    Lately (i guess due the improved and shiny new site) the moderation is a bit slow than on the old SCN

  • Nov 28, 2016 at 03:50 PM

    Please continue with your approach.

    Just don't be annoyed if you get then Notifications like this " Moderator did not agree to your alert for.." .

    Some of us still struggle with using "agree" and "disagree". They probably assume that "agree" automatically deletes the content and they can't edit it anymore. I get quite often such disagreed notifications and finally I see that the moderator changed the tag or edited the content.

    • Nov 30, 2016 at 06:56 AM

      Interesting that you say that. I have noticed that a lot of my alerts have been disagreed, where (in my opinion) they would have been agreed on old SCN.

      I have the impression that moderators tolerate more "inappropriate" stuff just to have some content at all within the tags.

  • Nov 29, 2016 at 05:02 PM

    I'd like to second what Jurgen said. As a new moderator, I struggle a bit with the moderation tools, but from what I can see in the moderator forum, I'm not the only one. Even such a seemingly simple thing as "Agree/Disagree with Moderator Alert" can be less than obvious, or not work as one might expect. So, moderation may sometimes be a bit slower than you'd like, but it is happening, and given how lately the content can be more difficult to navigate than in the past, that alert might be the only way the moderator becomes aware of the post in question at all.

    Being nice to your fellow community members means helping them to write better posts/questions, and also helping them to not have to sift though poorly written or low-quality posts to get to the good stuff. We can moderate (or alert/comment) in a respectful way, that hopefully helps the user to improve, as opposed to just driving them away.

  • Dec 03, 2016 at 03:15 PM

    Hi Joachim,

    since i'm not a moderator and can only imagine the amount of work one signs up for, yours is a very fair and transparent question. if i were to do it, i would alert the user first that they may have to be 'reported' as some of them may not realize that their content can potentially be 'withdrawn' by a moderator.

    i only say this because i learned the hard way when i had spent time verifying my own answer/comment only to find out that it had 'vanished' without a trace. i don't claim that my comment was not offensive or my question not basic, but still.

    thx, greg

    • Dec 03, 2016 at 04:56 PM

      If your answer or comment disappeared without a trace in the new site, this does not automatically mean that it was because of moderation- there is a bug, which causes that, and it affects all members, including moderators. If you received no moderator's messages, but your content got lost, probably you can ask some moderator to check if they can see your content as hidden/deleted/in a queue or not.

      • Dec 03, 2016 at 05:41 PM

        No, moderators cannot see vanished content either.

        Gregory, if a moderator removes your answer then you get a notification about that.

        If you know the thread where you answer was lost (without that you got an error page), then please add a new answer, in most cases this brings the old answer back, merged together with the new answer.

        Then post the link to this discussion here, I can forward this to the investigating team. There are already several reports about vanished answer, even from myself, and we need more links for investigation.

      • Dec 03, 2016 at 10:22 PM

        Hi Veselina,

        since i didn't make a copy for a possible repost, i will go with the bug as i don't want to accuse anyone of the foul play. if they actually did it then they know who they are and will try it again. either way, i will be more careful when posting in the future.

        thank you for responding.

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