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I was going through the mod panel and I saw this:

It's an answer that's been deleted already. I thought that flags were handled automatically after deletion? Should this be fixed?

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Well, that explains why I occasionally see flags on posts that have been deleted for hours. – Bill the Lizard Sep 9 '11 at 18:59
@Bill but aren't flags marked automatically when post is deleted? – genesis Sep 9 '11 at 19:00
They're marked automatically when a moderator deletes them. I'm not sure if the same is true when the OP or community deletes them. I thought they were supposed to be. – Bill the Lizard Sep 9 '11 at 19:01
Flags are the only way for the author of a deleted post to communicate a request to a moderator. – Rick Sladkey Sep 9 '11 at 19:01
@Rick not in this case. Okay, another proposal would be "allow to flag deleted posts by its owner" – genesis Sep 9 '11 at 19:19
@BilltheLizard, yes, they are. I assume this happens simply because the post might have been deleted between the time the user refreshed the flags page and the time they actually flagged the post. – mmyers Sep 9 '11 at 20:03
up vote 10 down vote accepted

There is sometimes a race between users adding flags, and moderators wiping them out. Sometimes, this has resulted in a "not an answer" (etc) being added to a post that has actually just been deleted (note: it isn't a problem the other way around). In addition to leaving "false positives" for moderators, it can (based on evidence) also mean that 10k users are adding additional flags to a deleted post (in one case, 4 extra flags after deletion).

To stop this creating unnecessary work for everyone, from the next build only bespoke flag-for-moderator-attention flags will be accepted on deleted posts; otherwise, it'll just politely tell you that the post is now deleted. This still retains the ability to flag a deleted post for something out of the ordinary (undeletion, even-more-aggressive deletion, etc).

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Was this intentionally reverted? Because it looks like this is no longer true. – a cat Jan 1 '12 at 1:08

When a moderator closes or deletes a flagged post, pending flags on this post are cleared. There are two cases where you might see a flag on a deleted post.

  • If a post is deleted by the author or the community, flags are not cleared. It would make sense to delete most canned flags when a post is deleted. Non-canned flags should stay until they're seen by a moderator, though.
  • It's still possible to cast a “not an answer” or “low quality” flag on a deleted answer. Only users with 10k rep can see a deleted post, though it's also possible for lower-rep users to have flagged the post because they'd browsed to the page before the answer was deleted. These irrelevant canned flags should indeed be nullified on submission.

Note that it should still be possible to flag deleted posts to contact a moderator (for example to request undeletion).

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