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Now that question downvotes are free, why do we need a flag? Should 'low quality' processing be simply triggered by a sufficiency of negativity? If you think a question is low quality, downvote it. If the score reaches, oh, -2 or -3, set loose the dogs of raw.

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"A sufficiency of negativity." Awesome. –  Michael Petrotta Oct 11 '11 at 14:49
    
A lovely rarity too :) google.com/… Hmm, it's fun though to plop labels on stuff, and it may deter outward aggression. –  Adel Oct 11 '11 at 21:59

3 Answers 3

I see a fairly large number of low quality questions that I flag and which are closed by a moderator, that never receive more than one downvote -- mine, right before I flag.

It's not a bad thought to have a flag automatically raised when a question goes sufficiently negative, and I agree that more downvoting and maybe a pamphleting campaign about same would be good for the site. I just don't think that the flag should be removed. Supplemented, maybe; eliminated, absolutely not.

Also, the value of "sufficiently" would have to be pretty negative -- I'd say -6 at the absolute maximum, probably more like -8. Voting is supposed to reflect the quality of the post, of course, but people vote for all kinds of reasons, and lots of unwarranted automatic flags sounds like a great way to frustrate the moderators.

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A "auto flag" with a very low flag wight may work, as then 10K users can add there own flag to it. Or maybe just another review tab for 10K that contains the down voted quesions. –  Ian Ringrose Oct 12 '11 at 9:07

While generally low quality questions should be edited, some of them are too unclear for anyone to edit. Those who don't have the ability to close, need to have a way of flagging them for attention. The text at the end of the explanatory sentence for low quality is

and might need to be removed.

Of course only a moderator could do that.

While I haven't used the reason a lot, since I usually edit those questions, I have had to use it a few times. For answers you have the 'Not An Answer' flag reason, but we don't have a 'Not a Real Question' flag reason, it's only a close reason.

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The flag is a signal. My point is that a plethora of downvotes sends exactly the same signal. If you can edit, you edit. If you can't, you downvote. And enough downvotes can clue a moderator that it's delete-worthy trash. –  Rosinante Oct 11 '11 at 14:06
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I don't think the moderators have the time to go look at all downvoted questions, whereas the flags queue them up the important ones (the one important enough to get flagged). –  Lance Roberts Oct 11 '11 at 14:27
    
Claim; The list of -4 questions would be the same length. Maybe right, maybe not. –  Rosinante Oct 11 '11 at 14:31
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Sure, I'd go with that, but many of those questions will never reach -4, especially in the niche tags. –  Lance Roberts Oct 11 '11 at 14:34
    
@Rosinante: I see a large number of low quality questions, that I flag and mods close, that never receive more than one downvote -- mine right before I raise the flag. It all depends on the tag. –  Josh Caswell Oct 11 '11 at 17:07
    
Theory: people could be pushed to downvote more now that it's free. Just a theory. Thus this question. –  Rosinante Oct 11 '11 at 17:11
    
Ah, the zealot thinking. So very un-refreshing. "While generally low quality questions should be edited"... according to whom? Consider that if you're not polishing a diamond, you may be polishing a turd, and in the process you may be encouraging turds instead of diamonds. You "fix" something that probably should have died as low quality, the user doesn't see the low quality post die for it. Instead the user sees your altruism as weakness, and they're happy to keep posting low quality that is improved for them, resulting in reputation for them (a win). And, the community loses. –  killermist Apr 22 at 20:16
    
@killermist, If the community was focused on helping people, and not your zealot attitude of perfectionism, then I think the community would always win. –  Lance Roberts Apr 22 at 20:37
    
How many crappy questions or answers go unnoticed because the people that might point them out have been burned by flagging things as "low quality" and been smacked down for it? The quality doesn't improve, it sits and stagnates. I and many like me, DO NOT have the time to polish turds. So, they sit, and accumulate, and we're reluctant to point them out because some zealot will call us wrong and then "fix" it, and the user that posted it never learns. So be it. The turds win. –  killermist Apr 22 at 20:45

I was going to pipe up and say that while I'm unlikely to ever use "low quality" flags ever again, having been burned repeatedly, the flag should exist.

Then, Lance Roberts had some exchanges in comments which (completely in a direction that he didn't intend) changed my perspective.

The zealots feed on the ability to exhibit altruism. The false-altruism is counter-productive because flaggers are smacked down as "wrong" (which may be an additional ego boost to the zealots). And the user never learns that there are consequences to low quality posts in the form of their brain-child being obliterated, so they never learn to formulate at least mediocre posts.

So, my final answer is this: Obliterate the flag. This kills or at least hampers the false-altruism of the zealots. If the zealots want lost causes to save, they have to put in the legwork. Other innocent users don't get burned by flagging things low-quality and being smacked down for it (by the zealots). Users supplying crappy posts don't benefit from the junction of crap with zealots, so maybe the users figure out how to create more useful posts.

Obliterate the flag, network-wide. Disarm the zealots, please.

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I don't understand who the "zealots" are. –  Josh Caswell Apr 22 at 21:14
    
How wide is the internet? How many drops are in the ocean? If I had analytics, I might be able to tell you more. –  killermist Apr 22 at 21:15
    
data.stackexchange.com –  Josh Caswell Apr 22 at 21:16
    
@JoshCaswell OK. How about this: Posts (q or a) flagged as "low quality" for which the flag was "found to be false" (as a user group (the it's not bad enough group)). Posts (q or a) flagged as low quality which went through a queue for such, and were subsequently edited to "improve" the post (as another user group (the editors)). Crossmatch the two, and those with more then "a few" (that's fuzzy), and you've probably identified a zealot. –  killermist Apr 22 at 21:32
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What on earth are you talking about? –  Shog9 Apr 22 at 22:54
    
@Shog9 I don't expect you to understand. Entirely too many people don't understand for very long periods, then suddenly they do. Many zealots or crusaders probably don't comprehend the error of their ways for a long period of time. I used to waste hours upgrading things that really should have been classed "low quality" and permitted to gracefully expire. –  killermist Apr 22 at 23:04
    
I'm not even looking for understanding here; a concrete topic would be a good start though. –  Shog9 Apr 23 at 5:12
    
@Shog9 Trying to explain this concept to anyone that doesn't already "get it" is difficult to do. At least with nature, it never, ever, lets up. Governments can fight that for careless people only so much, they still get rained on. We're humans, and we get tired of fighting idiocy. Maybe this should be a signal to me that the whole network will sooner or later be a loss. I can not feel this as a personal loss, while so much of it does. –  killermist Apr 23 at 13:44
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Yeah... Again, I'm not asking you to deconstruct your beat poetry here, just state a thesis somewhere. –  Shog9 Apr 23 at 16:30

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