My community has a world-wide user base, so there is quite a range of perspectives in play. Sometimes when one of them flags something as offensive I look at the content in question and I don't see it -- but nobody can see all perspectives and maybe I'm filtering this through my cultural/racial/religious/geographic/age/etc privilege and don't even know it. One the one hand, maybe I have a hyper-sensitive user and nobody else would be bothered; on the other hand, maybe this is offensive and I should take that seriously. How should I go about figuring out which it is?
We're supposed to conduct most of our operations in public, but private channels are available. Flagger identity is private, so I can't just ask the person in the public chat room to elaborate. Options that I can see are:
In an appropriate public venue on the site, say that we received an offensive flag and ask for broader input -- please add your flag (if it's offensive) or tell us why it's not offensive. This has the effect of drawing people's attention to the post, which -- if it's offensive -- might not be welcome. On the other hand, it engages the community in resolving the question.
Privately ask the flagger to explain. This gives him an opportunity to explain but I'm still, in the end, just taking one person's word for it, so I have to decide how credible his explanation is.
Ask the flagger to bring it up in public. This has the same effects as the first option, but also places a burden on the user. He raised the flag privately, maybe because he doesn't want to speak up publicly or maybe because it didn't occur to him to do so -- and I don't know which.
Trust that a user who's willing to take the effort to flag something offensive, assuming this user doesn't have a bad track record, probably knows something I don't, so I should accept the flag and delete the content.
Seek out a relevant expert. If someone tells me that this post is highly offensive to a certain class of people, find a member of that class whom I trust and ask for input. That sounds like it could be a lot of work -- also time-consuming, and meanwhile the possibly-offensive content remains on my site.
What is the best way to proceed when confronted with an offensive flag I don't understand?
I am looking for answers that have actually worked for people who've dealt with potentially-offensive content. I'd rather avoid speculation.