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This question has been obviously asked before here but I didn't get the answer that I was looking for.

I am kind of confused. I flagged a post today. Please see snapshot.

enter image description here

It was an appropriate flag when I flagged it. However the user edited the post 2 hours later and changed the content and my flag obviously didn't hold good. In such a scenario, my flag weight suffers. I have 3 flags declined today. I agree with the reasons why two of the flags got declined but this one didn't make sense to me.

Usually the flag gets actioned in 15 to 20 mins but if a flag gets actioned after hours, then I suggest checking the time when the post was flagged and then deciding whether the flag was helpful or not.

Maybe I am missing something obvious?

EDIT

Just to make my question more clear, I am not questioning the time in which a moderator actions a flag. My query is more towards the "Helpfulness" of the flag. If the posters keep amending the post then the count of declined flags will definitely go up. My suggestion is to check the flag time and then decide whether the flag was helpful or not immaterial of the fact whether any action was taken on the flagged post or not.

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marked as duplicate by Lance Roberts, ben is uǝq backwards, animuson, Martijn Pieters, Rory Jun 17 '13 at 21:37

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Which is why several people (me among them) would like to see a feature whereby Moderators can be alerted that the edition of the post they are looking at may not be the post as it was when it was flagged. See this feature request: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/107397/… –  Al E. Jun 15 '12 at 17:11
    
@AlEverett: Bingo! Exactly my thoughts. –  Siddharth Rout Jun 15 '12 at 17:13
    
@animuson: Thanks for the Edit. Much appreciated. –  Siddharth Rout Jun 15 '12 at 17:59
    
@Silent Snipers: I am afraid, your downvotes has gone down the drain. The only purpose it has solved is that it has deducted points from my kitty which honestly really doesn't matter. If you want to be constructive, please leave comments after a downvote if none else has so that I can improve my post... –  Siddharth Rout Jun 16 '12 at 1:32
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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Generally speaking, moderators dismiss flags based on the content of the post at the time it was flagged, but we don't always have the time to check the edit history. C'est la vie.

If a post has been edited since the flag was cast, I generally dismiss the flag as helpful.

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1  
It gets even weirder when grace period edits are involved. –  CodesInChaos Jun 15 '12 at 22:24
    
@RobertHarvey: + 1 For being honest and direct! If a post has been edited since the flag was cast, I generally dismiss the flag as helpful. Exactly my thoughts :) –  Siddharth Rout Jun 16 '12 at 1:27
    
@CodeInChaos: You are right and hence I have decided that I will flag only after the 5 min grace period has passed. –  Siddharth Rout Jun 16 '12 at 1:29
    
I am accepting this answer assuming that this is the general modus operandi and what exactly happened was a miss which is OK as we are all humans :) Heck! even I make mistakes... –  Siddharth Rout Jun 16 '12 at 1:36
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Flags are marked as helpful or unhelpful based on whether they seem helpful to the moderator at the time. If the flag is no longer relevant, it won't get marked as approved/helpful.

Your request would mean adding a new level of work for those looking through flags, which is a pain for them ,and we are already short on people who have the tiem to do so. Additionally, it would require changing how the site works in a significant way.

The result would be to have slightly more approved flags for users that are being helpful - and this isn't really the goal of the site. The goal of the site is to help provide and find great answers. If the user modified the post to be a better question/answer, then your flag is not the point - overall, the transaction made the site better. And that is the goal.

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"If the action isn't taken, it won't get marked as approved/helpful." wrong. It's not uncommon for a flag to be marked "helpful" without the mod taking action. –  CodesInChaos Jun 15 '12 at 16:52
    
@CodeInChaos Thanks - Fixed. I think the substantive point remains, though I did see the seemingly incorrect fact mentioed in a previous post. I will try to find it and make a comment there. –  David Manheim Jun 15 '12 at 16:55
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"If the flag is no longer relevant, it won't get marked as approved/helpful." I don't agree on that either. The flag not being relevant anymore just makes it more likely that the mod marks it as unhelpful by mistake. –  CodesInChaos Jun 15 '12 at 16:57
    
@CodeInChaos True, but practically, it is unlikely that a mod will spend 10 minutes looking at the history. It could be marked as relevant, but again, the point is that the cost/reward of changing the system is unlikely to be useful. It would require the system to show the mod the post as it was when the flag was raised when looking at the flag, independant of the display that the mod needs to see what action to take. –  David Manheim Jun 15 '12 at 17:00
    
@DavidManheim: the point is that the cost/reward of changing the system is unlikely to be useful.' I disagree with you because I am not suggesting for a change in the system`. :) I don't know how a moderator screen looks like so I will not comment on it. However, do you really think it takes 10 minutes to look at the history? It takes me max 30 seconds to see if a post falls in the category of "No Answer". Add say another 30 seconds to see the edit history of the post. –  Siddharth Rout Jun 15 '12 at 17:09
    
@SiddharthRout: So, using your generous estimates, it still doubles the time taken, and halves the number of posts a given moderator can look at. –  David Manheim Jun 15 '12 at 17:22
    
@DavidManheim: Simple question for you... Quality or Quantity? –  Siddharth Rout Jun 15 '12 at 17:25
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@SiddharthRout No question - Quantity. If the quality meets some basic minimum threshold, ie. 90%+ correct action, (and it's probably much, much higher when the flag isn't difficult to understand and act on,) then doubling quantity is definitely better, given that the limiting factor here is moderator attention and time. We should not care much about marginal cases when the flag could go either way; do we need the moderator to spend time to pick the "correct" response in cases where what to do is essentially ambiguous anyways? I think not. –  David Manheim Jun 15 '12 at 17:37
    
@DavidManheim: No question - Quantity. If the quality meets some basic minimum threshold, ie. 90%+ correct action... When you answer questions in SO, do you follow the same principle? i.e maintain a threshold? If no then why here? If yes, then I have nothing more to say :) For me Quality is paramount and probably it hurts me more to see my flag getting wasted... –  Siddharth Rout Jun 15 '12 at 17:42
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There is obviously a difference between answers and flags. Flag count is not why the site exists, answers are. We want a site optimized for great answers, not great helpful flag counts. There is a trade-off in terms of limited resources available. (And the smiley seems at odds with your tone here.) –  David Manheim Jun 15 '12 at 18:28
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The fact is, that stack overflow doesn't have enough moderators to support having flags be actioned within 15-20 mins all the time.

That is why we are holding an election, to decrease the response time of the moderators.

The fact is, there is very little need for flag weight anymore, so any declined flags do not harm your profile, except for the ordering of flags in the moderator queue.

In the end, this situation means very little, as the answer got improved, and your profile didn't get harmed (too much).

As for how we can fix this in the future: If you see a low quality post, also try putting a link to it in a related chat room.

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1  
Yes I am aware of the elections and I am not questioning the time in which the flags are getting actioned. My query is more towards the "Helpfulness" of the flag. If the posters keep amending the post then the count of declined flags will definitely go up. My suggestion is to check the flag time and then decide whether the flag was helpful or not immaterial of the fact whether any action was taken on the flagged post or not. –  Siddharth Rout Jun 15 '12 at 16:16
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Well, to be accurate, flag weight still exists, you just can't see it anymore. –  Michael Petrotta Jun 15 '12 at 16:27
    
Just because you can't see something, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. –  CodesInChaos Jun 15 '12 at 16:54
    
@MichaelPetrotta sorry, didn't know. Edited my answer. –  Richard J. Ross III Jun 15 '12 at 16:56
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