So, now when I flag comments I get a "We take your reports seriously" message popup. I just wanna make sure I'm correct in identifying that as corporate-speak (i.e. a lie) and we don't actually take flags seriously. Specifically, it's still okay to flag stuff for removal without there being anything wrong with it, right? I mean, someone said, like, "I think it'd be clearer if you swapped paragraphs 3 and 4", and I did so and then flagged it. They aren't going to get in trouble for this, right? Cause that'd be stupid.
It’s corporate boilerplate, yes, but it’s not wrong either. We do take flags seriously — we consider each one on its merits and on its context and take appropriate action.
Whether someone gets in trouble for what they wrote is part of “appropriate action”. Taking care of comments that aren’t needed anymore doesn’t get anyone in trouble; taking care of foul awfulness that someone wrote does. (Happily, the first kind is the massive majority of what we handle.)
Serious doesn’t equate to severe consequences. It just means that flagging isn’t just spitting into the wind. That’s the unfortunate reality on too many Internet sites, but here at SE flags are taken seriously and pretty swiftly handled with personal attention and careful thought. That distinction is what the pop-up is trying to convey: flagging isn’t futile and aren’t just theatre.
(I mean, wow, thoughtful and accurate flag handling is most of what mod energy goes toward achieving most days. I don’t mean that it’s a burden, just that handling flags well is a significant part of what the site’s human resource that is the Mod Team is for.)
I suspect, happily, that part of the disconnect is from being around enough to take for granted that flags aren’t ignored. If that’s the baseline expectation the site has fostered, so much so that it wouldn’t even occur to find the pop-up a necessary reassurance, that’s a flattering reflection on the site. In that case, it’s mostly for the hundreds of non-regulars: “we take your concern seriously, your effort isn’t wasted.”