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Looking for some 10k tools guidance...

If I come across a Very Low Quality flag on a question that I think needs to be closed as it stands, but could potentially be edited by the OP to make it okay, should I both cast an "Invalid Flag" against the VLQf and vote to close?

I've seen Meta questions from the point of view of VLQ flag wielders (1, 2, 3) that make me trepidatious about doing this.

Still, from my reading of two Jefficial pronouncements* on the VLQf (1, 2), invalidating and voting to close seems correct. He says that the VLQ should mean

the flagger thinks this post is beyond saving -- no amount of editing or polishing will turn a turd into gold.

but I disagree and think that editing is possible.

On the other hand, the "No flag is a bad flag, if it leads to action" policy (1, 2), although it was addressed to moderators, suggests that I should let the flag be if I think something needs to be done.

The only question I can find that really describes the "Invalid Flag", How and when should we use the "invalid flag" flag?, doesn't cover thinking the question should also be closed for improvement.

I'd like to know how other >10kers handle this situation.

I suppose this sort of thing is why waffles hates the VLQf.


*Combined with the doctrine that closed doesn't mean finished.

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Related: Is the “very low quality” flag necessary? (one of the few times I've found myself in disagreement with Anna Lear and Robert Harvey) –  Pops Nov 9 '11 at 18:47
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@Popular: Nobody uses the VLQ flag properly anyway. It's for posts that are unsalvageable by editing. Nobody uses it that way; they use it as a synonym for "Don't Like." –  Robert Harvey Nov 9 '11 at 18:57
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Dear corporate web filter, thank you for eating the answer that I just spent almost 20 minutes of my lunch break writing! –  Pops Nov 9 '11 at 19:08
    
Okay, short version: if the post is merely very bad, but not literally unsalvageable by editing, go ahead with your invalid flag flag. If you have the ability to improve it, do that instead of voting to close; if you need the OP to provide some piece of information, proceed with close-voting. –  Pops Nov 9 '11 at 19:11
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@RobertHarvey, if people aren't using VLQ flags properly, shouldn't we be changing either their behavior or how VLQ flags work? (Or both?) –  Pops Nov 9 '11 at 19:13
    
@Popular: Your short version coincides with my current understanding, however the moderator newsletter that Robert linked is persuasive. Hope that you might find time later to post a full answer. –  Josh Caswell Nov 9 '11 at 19:17
    
@PopularDemand: My best suggestion would be to change the name of the VLQ flag to "Unsalvageable by editing." –  Robert Harvey Nov 9 '11 at 19:26
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2 Answers

Flags should be considered valid if there is some legitimate problem with a post that requires moderator attention.

It doesn't really matter what kind of flag is cast; that there is a problem with the post, and it has been legitimately brought to the attention of a moderator, are the compelling factors.

Of course, we prefer that you use the flags properly, but generally we're smart enough to figure out that there is a problem, and fix it (whatever it happens to be).

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The post has a problem, but it doesn't sound like it's a problem that requires moderator attention -- just community action. So by your definition it sounds like he should dispute the flag. –  agf Nov 9 '11 at 19:03
    
If you believe the post requires closing, the flag is legitimate. The flag should only be disputed or declined if it is abusive, cast in bad faith, or clearly incorrect. The guidance is pretty clear on this; see moderator.stackexchange.com/2011/09/september-2011-newsletter, under the heading "Flags Too Often Marked [declined]" –  Robert Harvey Nov 9 '11 at 19:04
    
Right, this is the "No flag is bad" policy. Why then are there different flag types at all? Just as hints/suggestions? Also, note that I'm not the one using the VLQ flag in this case; I'm on the figuring out/fixing side. –  Josh Caswell Nov 9 '11 at 19:06
    
@agf: So far as I know, escalation of closing via flag is legitimate -- that's one of the reasons 10kers get to see the flag queue. –  Josh Caswell Nov 9 '11 at 19:08
    
@JoshCaswell: There are different flag reasons to help guide the moderators, not to judge whether a particular flag is good or bad. You stand a better chance of getting your flag properly acted on if you use the correct flag reason. –  Robert Harvey Nov 9 '11 at 19:09
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If we took flag types away, then people would probably say "but I'm flagging posts for the same reasons over and over again, can't I get a pre-populated list of common reasons and an 'other' box for the weird cases?" –  Pops Nov 9 '11 at 19:15
    
@problem it is not "no flag is bad" it is "where there is smoke there is generally fire". Plenty true in my experience, and I've handled ~13k flags. Robert's characterization is dead on correct. –  Jeff Atwood Jan 2 '12 at 14:00
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The "very low quality" flag should be used for posts that is not possible to make better because of spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors present in the question that don't allow to understand the meaning of a post.
If it is not possible to understand a question, then it can be closed as "not a question." If you are voting to close it for that reason, then effectively the "very low quality" flag was correct, and it should not be disputed; if you are closing the question as off-topic (which means you were able to understand what the OP was trying to ask), then the flag should be disputed.

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What if I'm voting to close as NARQ because the question is "incomplete...and cannot reasonably be answered in its current form."? –  Josh Caswell Nov 9 '11 at 20:15
    
To me, incomplete means the question is not giving the necessary details to answer, not that the question has serious spelling/grammar/punctuation errors that make the question indecipherable. –  kiamlaluno Nov 9 '11 at 20:29
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