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As site users we have the ability to raise flags on questions and answers, which is granted at 15 reputation.

Moderators also exist and the Help Center states that:

The most common moderator task is to follow up on flagged posts.

Now, this opens the possibility that a user may raise a flag on a moderator's post.

Is it a conflict of interest if the same moderator reviews and rejects or accepts that flag? Should that moderator instead be "self-censoring" and leave the flag for a different moderator to review?

I note the discusstion at this Meta post but I'm interested in opinions on this from this community.

3 Answers 3

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Indeed it would be a conflict of interest for a moderator to dismiss flags on their own posts. But I handled the flag you are referring to.

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I'll chip in my general behavior on the subject as well. I don't clear flags on my own posts, nor on posts where I also have a post. I.e. if I've answered a question, and a flag comes up on another answer, I avoid handling the flag, as that would add an air of impropriety to my flag clearing. Similarly, I kinda avoid handling flags on answers to questions I've posted, but I'm a bit more willing to handle these.

Essentially, I try to avoid making it look like I'm abusing my powers, even if the moderation is super clear-cut. However, being human, I sometimes end up handling flags on competing answers, simply because I've forgotten I posted an answer (I've posted a lot of answers).

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    Throwing my hat in with Keen, this is my general behaviour
    – AncientSwordRage Mod
    Apr 22, 2015 at 8:55
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    Not a mod, but I’m very similar: I avoid moderator-like actions (close/reopen votes, gold tag badge superpowers) on any posts where I have a vested interest.
    – alexwlchan
    Apr 24, 2015 at 12:07
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    There's nothing wrong with handling a flag on an answer to your question, or another answer on a question that you've answered, as long as there's no conflict of interest. For example, if obvious spam is flagged as spam, go ahead and handle the flag.
    – user56
    Apr 27, 2015 at 11:58
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As @kevin says, under normal circumstances a Moderator should not be dismissing "behaviour" flags where they're the object of the flag. There's no site 'law' that says you can't, but it would represent a clear ethical conflict of interest.

I'd offer some caveats;

  • I'd dismiss a flag on my own answer if the flag was obviously intended to be frivolous or humorous.

  • I'd probably dismiss it if it was clearly raised in error.

  • I'd happily uphold it if it was highlighting an error on my part (posting the same answer twice, for example)

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    How are you defining "obviously intended" or "clearly"? What you assume is clearly a joke, they may not, or they may just completely disagree with you (see: interstellar and g forces).
    – phantom42
    Apr 21, 2015 at 15:02
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    Obvious = obvious. Like flagging it because it's "too good an answer" or as part of a running joke on chat.
    – Valorum
    Apr 21, 2015 at 17:55
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    Seems obvious enough (at least after clarification). Not sure why all the downvotes. Apr 22, 2015 at 3:23
  • @DVK - Some people like absolutes.
    – Valorum
    Apr 22, 2015 at 18:58
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    @Richard - only a Sith deals in absolutes Apr 22, 2015 at 19:33
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    I think the reason for the down-voting is not that people want absolutes, it's that they want moderators to be arbitrators to handle the human factor of SE. Acting on your own post does not have the flavor of arbitration, whether it's obvious or not. As @phantom42 alluded to, your obvious does not always equate to my obvious. There are five active moderators on this SE. There is no reason in my mind you or any of the others cannot let something ride and allow one of the other four to handle the exception. Apr 24, 2015 at 11:50
  • (+1) Don't see any reason to disagree with. @downvoter ping :/ Apr 26, 2015 at 22:37
  • @Paulster2 : the biggest problem is that although there are five active moderators, they're also among the most prolific answerers. Is "answerers" a word? I don't know and I don't care.
    – Omegacron
    May 1, 2015 at 16:58
  • @Richard : LOL - to be clear, I mean it would be a problem with moderators NOT touching questions they have answered.
    – Omegacron
    May 1, 2015 at 17:19
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    @Omegacron - Indeed. I find that most flags are raised on questions I've touched at some point, simply because my sticky fingers are on almost everything through answers, edits and previous flags.
    – Valorum
    May 1, 2015 at 17:24
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    @Richard - I'm sorry, as ... < cough > ... prolific as you are, you don't answer everything. Edits and previous flags should not matter here. If there is an instance of moderator need for attention, there should be no reason something cannot wait for one of the other moderators to handle it, as it will usually only be minutes until it happens. Even with two moderator answers, it still leaves three moderators left to handle the issue. I've very rarely seen where two moderators are on the same question. It does happen, but not often. As active as you all are, it will be taken care of. May 1, 2015 at 19:34
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    Personally, I don't care if a mod handles a flag on a question or someone else's answer on a question that they've interacted on - where it starts getting fuzzy is, as the OP asked about, the mod is handling flags on their own questions/answers/comments.
    – phantom42
    May 2, 2015 at 18:21
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    @phantom42 - Which is why I've stated that such a thing would only happen in exceptional circumstance. Note that you've elected us precisely because we're the sort of careful, intelligent individuals who're able to (largely) make these kinds of judgement calls.
    – Valorum
    May 2, 2015 at 18:27

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