A while back I was directed to read the accepted community wiki answer to this First Post Review question (and of course heeded the advice).

In Jamal's answer to this question about reviewing a reviewer, the following text was supplied:

If you've noticed something from a specific user, and they have at least one post, you can flag any of their posts and explain the situation. It's not a big deal on a low-activity site like this, but doing so anyway can keep you anonymous and also give moderators a better starting point.

Occasionally I have noticed a few questions that seem to have gone through that First Post queue without any action, and spotted certain users that also have selected the No Action Needed option in that queue. So following the suggestion in Jamal's answer, I flagged a post by the user who was taking that action. Most of the flags were marked as helpful, but a few recently have been declined.

Bearing in mind that Jamal's answer was not marked as the accepted answer, nor was it voted the highest and also was posted more than 4 years ago, plus the answer by 200_success claiming that:

Moderators should be checking those statistics, but we haven't been actively doing so. The statistics would have revealed the anomaly that you pointed out.

should I stop raising such flags?

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ You didn't tell us what your impression was of the first posts in question. Were there clearly improvements that should be made, or were they particularly good? It's possible that not everyone agrees that "No Action Needed" is never appropriate. \$\endgroup\$
    – Blackwood
    Dec 21, 2018 at 0:23

2 Answers 2


As an extended answer to Simon's answer, which I agree with in general, I want to point out that there have been occasions in the past where a user has been bordering on system-abuse in the review queues just to get badges, etc. If it is clear that someone is "gaming" the system, rather than just someone who is not "optimal", then please bring that to the moderators' attention.

If there is some uncertainty about it, I would recommend that you flag it still, and err on the side of caution.

Note that I have personally handled a number of your previous flags in this area, and I typically mark them helpful, because I believe they are, even though when I look at the review patterns, I have not actually taken action against the user that's been flagged.

The flags themselves are logged against the user, and provides some context on their profile, and can be useful in other ways. Additionally, as moderators we often can pick up patterns of behaviour that may not be apparent to regular users.

Having said the above, I caution you to put too much weight against whether flags are marked helpful, or declined. I do not consider your flags to be excessive, or abusive, in any way. Quite the opposite, in fact. In general, I would rather you cared enough and were observant enough to take the effort to note, and act on what you perceive as an issue. As a general comment on your flag activity, Sam, your hit ratio is really good. I would hate for you to stop ;-)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Ok monkey, I'll leave those flags for you. Just don't have high hopes for our flag average handling time ;) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 22, 2018 at 15:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ So, does that mean that the standard has changed? That '"No Action Needed" is never appropriate (unless you already commented/edited/voted on the post outside the queue)' is no longer true and was only a general policy to avoid people cheesing the system to get gold badges instead of ensuring that we don't miss the opportunity to interact with new users (even if it is only through an edit/upvote)? \$\endgroup\$
    – Graipher
    Dec 23, 2018 at 11:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Graipher - no, it does not mean the standard has changed. It just means that on the continuum of possible issues on the site, policing it is hard because there is no "lightweight" tool to do a "mild reprimand". Given that we cannot effectively remove the button, it's not like we can take action when someone uses it. We can only encounrage people to give other people the opportunity to do more than "nothing" in the review queue. \$\endgroup\$
    – rolfl
    Dec 23, 2018 at 14:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @rolfl Thanks for the clarification. \$\endgroup\$
    – Graipher
    Dec 23, 2018 at 17:09

I was the one who declined this flag this time. I did this after several hours of no other moderator taking action on it - and I knew that some of the other moderators had seen the question.

There are three questions I would like to ask here:

  1. Is it an important problem that users choose "No action needed"?
  2. Should a moderator inform the user about it and link them to our meta question?
  3. What if the user ignores the moderator message and keep choosing "No action needed"?

So, is it an important problem that users choose "No action needed"? This might depend a bit on your perspective, but no I don't think it's an important problem. A bit more on this below.

Should a moderator inform the user about it? While moderators have the possibility to send users direct messages, those should only be used for serious moderator issues (issuing warnings and suspensions for example). So what are the other options? Moderators can also start chats with anyone and/or super-ping people in chat which gives them a notification about it. This is what mostly has been done before. But the question I'm asking myself is: Does a moderator really need to do this? I don't think so. If someone handles the review queue wrong and chooses "No action needed" when there are serious problems with the question, now those are serious issues that a moderator need to handle.

So if a moderator would inform the message, what if the user just ignores it and keeps choosing "No action needed"? We can't expect everyone to agree with the statement that "You should never choose no action needed". I believe that enforcing that statement too much would mainly lead to disagreements and to useless discussions where someone might even leave the site and never come back. Seriously, it's not worth it.

In summary: Stop giving us these flags unless the user frequently selects "No action needed" when there clearly is action needed. We can still encourage people to avoid using "No action needed" though, but this does not have to be a moderator's job. And most importantly: Don't force people. If someone disagrees with you and sometimes wants to choose "No action needed" - accept that and move on.


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