As many of you have now learned, reports made by users are no longer anonymous to moderators. Whether mods should be able to know the identities of users who report comments is something the site should weigh in on, and this thread is a good place to chime in on whether you believe mods should have that authority.
One concern I had some time ago with the anonymity of reports was that anonymity encouraged "spam reporting." This concern has come to fruition. A user, who chose to identify themselves in a thread, has reported every single vote (as far as I can tell) cast in the last week in, what seems to me, to be an effort to swamp moderation with reports. About 70 reports were submitted--many on full forfeit debates or concessions--in a 4 day period alone. Each report, even on full forfeit debates, takes about 5 minutes to process, and on borderline cases, a report can take up to 10 minutes to process. That's more than 4 hours worth of reports.
I call these reports "spam" because they seem to be gratuitous, i.e. based more on an effort to overwhelm moderation than on any objection to the votes per se. Similarly, the reports seem to be spam because they are frequently on full forfeit debates and concessions, where clearly no moderation is appropriate.
In conjunction with the other reports and incidents that moderation has to deal with, as well as moderators' real life obligations, the effort to drown moderation in spam reports makes it difficult for moderation to perform its job. These last 5 days alone, given the deluge of reports, I have put in 18 hours of work on DART alone. I have no objection to being a moderator, and I am happy to put in that level of time when that time is necessary to properly enforce the COC. But, the use of spam reports to swamp moderation seems more like a spiteful attempt at a time suck than anything else.
I am therefore concerned about the dilemma this activity presents. Users should, I think, have a right to make reports in an unrestricted way, because all users have an interest in the COC being enforced in an even and thorough manner. However, moderators, like any other users, have a right to free time. And, importantly, moderators ability to do their job is undermined when they are forced to divert attention to spam reports; spam reports render moderation procedurally difficult to perform. Should excessive, spam reporting (the definition being up for discussion) be prohibited?
Personally, I believe that the COC should be interpreted in a way which prohibits conduct that significantly hinders moderation's ability to enforce it, as any other interpretation would be unreasonable on its face. But, I think this is a controversial enough issue that I cannot unilaterally move forward on that interpretation. So, I am opening up the question to community feedback.
This is an open discussion, and I am interested in hearing the community's thoughts on these issues. Please feel free to comment.