I just found myself wondering what the hell that little "flag" button is that just appeared up there in the Blogger Toolbar. And, just as I feared, it is a way for blog viewers to voice their concern about the content of a particular blog.
When a person visiting a blog clicks the "Flag?" button in the Blogger Navbar, it means they believe the content of the blog may be potentially offensive or illegal. We track the number of times a blog has been flagged as objectionable and use this information to determine what action is needed. This feature allows the blogging community as a whole to identify content they deem objectionable. Have you read The Wisdom of Crowds? It's sort of like that.
I believe this can be a great tool for sniffing out illegal content on blogs, such as child pornography, blatent hate speech and spam blogs. But, with these types of tools in the hands of all users, suddenly everyone is subjected to the moral tastes of the most puritanical of viewers. Post a risqué photo of Jessica Simpson in "daisy dukes" along with a movie review, and suddenly you may find yourself flagged by a morally conservative traditionalist that finds your blog "too racy," and now you may be subject to censorship or deletion. It's already happened - a man's blog was allegedly censored by site viewers that simply disagreed with his opinions. Whatever offends the most easily offended person becomes the standard for decency, not to mention the obvious political speech disagreements. Quite the slippery slope.