I found out about the flagging system in the chat area the hard way today. From what I can gather it seems to be a 30min ban per successful flag - maybe I got more than one entry flagged but that is the only thing linked to. (For the record, I was just taking a line from an episode of South Park - and I did manage to mention that before I was unable to partake in the chat any longer).
The relevant message, for the sake of posterity, was:
remember, 1/4th of americans are retarded.
It would be nice to know if something I said in jest and humor was taken offensively and I would then apologize for it. I do not like offending people - I am not a troll. I am however not a very politically correct person in general (the whole PC thing is a bit too hypocritical to me).
I am not trying to convince people that what I said was not offensive, I am also not looking to get my suspension time reduced so please do not take that from this post. What I am trying to suggest is there should be a bit of a gray area where people are allowed to make up for their mistakes instead of "Go straight to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200".
When I ran/developed telnet chat programs (talkers) our staff always had a set of escalation steps, starting with just a normal verbal warning, an official verbal warning and then a suspension (or banning, depending on the case). It would seem the SE.chat system skips a few of those steps.
Update: After talking with Wipqozn, he was able to sum up what I was trying to get to here very well as follows (quoted with permission)
Yeah, I get it. What you want is a system where there is an option to either "delete and suspend" or "delete and issue warning"
From further discussion it would seem that the SE sites might not contain the ability to track the warnings received (which makes sense with the current system, the situation that arose has been handled and everyone has moved one). As alexanderpas said:
multiple warnings = suspension.
would imply the requirement to some how track if a user has had multiple warnings, as the people who can validate flags are not always going to be the same person for the same offender. Showing a little count next to the 'issue warning' to show how many the person already has would make sense as well.