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I understand auto-dismissing off-topic flags as helpful on close, since those become obsolete.

But for custom flags that's rather annoying, since those are often used for an issue that goes beyond closing. In my case it's typically a migration or merge request.

What's particularly bad about this is, that the feedback "helpful" is non different from what happens when a moderator actually looked at the flag, and decided it was helpful. Perhaps the feedback should be "helpful (automatic)".

Update: I just found a clear example where community closure and flag acceptance happened at the same time. This has happened several times, but I don't remember which of my other flags where involved:

I flagged this question for migration 21h ago. It was closed(5 community votes, no diamond) and at the same time my flag was marked helpful. It's very unlikely that after 21h both events happen withing 1 min of each other by coincidence.

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I think custom flags should never be automatically dismissed. They are meant for issues that the system can't deal with, or that require review by a human, so automatically dismissing them because something potentially unrelated happened to the post makes no sense at all. – hammar Mar 4 '12 at 18:15
I don't think this is currently the case. I just flagged a question with the custom message off topic to see how it would behave. It was closed and the flag is still pending. – a cat Mar 29 '12 at 11:46
Yeah, this definitely doesn't happen on community closure. I think it might happen when a moderator closes the question, though. – a cat Apr 7 '12 at 18:18
This does not happen with community closures, however it happens with deletions. Custom flags should not be auto-dismissed in either case. – BoltClock's a Unicorn May 13 '12 at 15:38
@BoltClock Are you sure it doesn't happen for community closures? For example I flagged this question for migration 21h ago. It was closed(5 community votes, no diamond) and at the same time my flag was marked helpful. It's very unlikely that after 21h both events happen withing 1 min of each other by coincidence. – CodesInChaos Jul 8 '12 at 10:16
I just checked... and it seems it was dismissed on closure. Looks like I made a mistake then. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jul 8 '12 at 10:17
up vote 22 down vote accepted

I fixed this in the great flag refactoring I just completed.

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Automatically dismissing custom flags is extremely counter-productive and I'm amazed this hasn't been fixed yet.

I missed a completely valid flag asking for migration on ProgSE about a week ago (when I set the bounty here), and I kinda felt like an idiot. The user was brand new, had asked a good (but off topic) question, and when he realized there was a better site for his question (helpful comments prior to the closure) he did the right thing and flagged. And we ignored him (well, we never saw the flag, but from his perspective we simply ignored his request). That's not right.

When I ranted about this, someone mentioned that this "feature" was implemented to help with the huge (indeed) number of flags on Stack Overflow. I don't know if that's true or not, but even if it is I don't see why it should affect every other site on the network. I hate pointless flags as much as every other mod and perhaps a bit more, but what I hate more is a new user asking for help and getting ignored.


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I agree, this should be fixed fast. (custom) flags are supposed to be a hotline to the moderators -- if we miss any, that's doesn't reflect well on us.

It's OK if these flags get dismissed on a mod-close/delete1. Aside from that, only a moderator clicking "helpful"/"declined" should dismiss these. Basically, these flags should only be dismissable via a moderator.

I know that currently there is no provision to dismiss individual flags on a post. Due to this, if a post has a custom flag on it, none of the flags should be affected on community closure/deletion.

1. In fact, it is preferable -- I get a lot of custom flags that more or less ask for closing/deletion

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I would like to note that if this feature is implemented, it should not apply to flags whose text is merely a synonym of common flags; for example, flags whose text says only "off topic question", "not constructive", "too localized", or any substantially similar form of these. This may also include custom flags whose text says only "spam" or "offensive". (After all, flags are little more than text.)

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