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I couldn't find anything specific regarding this as all flag questions seem to address the flag in particular, that said:

I usually wouldn't post anything like this as it is just a flag, and the question was closed anyways - however, this seems to happen a bit with my declined flags.

For this exact case, the question was: how to slow down progressively a web application?

And I flagged it for moderator review. I then see that the flag was declined by "declined - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it", and when looking at the question, I see:

closed as not constructive by tjameson, Álvaro G. Vicario, J. Steen, Rikesh, Andrew Barber♦ 19 mins ago

And while I can understand a question being closed by the close votes of users with enough rep, it was also closed by a moderator. I flagged specifically "needs moderator attention". Granted I chose other with "Asking to sabotage code" and then was slightly verbose as I wasn't quite sure how to mark it, but it shouldn't have affected the fact that it did need moderator attention, and was closed by a moderator as well.

My question in short is "What?" and "How does that happen?"

EDIT

Entire flag message:

Asking to help sabotage code. Not sure if I should have marked it this way or "Not Welcome in out community" as I believe it fits that title, though not really it's description. ^^

Flag decline reason:

declined - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it

Flag type:

Need Moderator Attention -> other

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marked as duplicate by Kate Gregory Jun 6 at 20:37

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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What was your flag message and the decline reason? –  Mysticial Apr 2 '13 at 8:43
    
decline reason already shown in post, entire flag message: "Asking to help sabotage code. Not sure if I should have marked it this way or "Not Welcome in out community" as I believe it fits that title, though not really it's description." under the "Needs moderator attention -> other" –  Jon Apr 2 '13 at 8:44
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For whatever it's worth, I agree with your flag and think that it should have been marked "helpful". That question was problematic in a number of ways, and needed some love from a moderator. Keep on flagging as you are and working to improve the site. Moderators are humans and do make mistakes sometimes. It all worked out as it should in the end, and you only need to worry when you start seeing most of your flags marked as "declined". –  Cody Gray Apr 2 '13 at 17:31

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Indeed it was closed by a moderator, but only finally, and that doesn't mean it received any particular 'moderator attention'; Andrew Barber, a dedicated community member who happens to be a mod, was in agreement with some others of his community and contributed to closing the question as a normal process - this wasn't unilaterally done as a result, necessarily, of any one flag demanding attention.

On the other hand, we have more than one mod, naturally, and - this gets told a lot - they're human and, although we're very much on the same wavelength here at large, the moderators generally more so, there are differences in how questions are perceived and handled. That is, one might pass it up for the community to handle, another might act with part of the community and handle it, and another might take the liberty themselves.

Your flag actually was unwarranted, so I don't see any contradiction here.

There is nothing of the post 'requiring moderator attention', hence your invalid flag when calling upon a moderator, but if a community member (who happens to be a moderator) is just passing, and sees fit to cast a close or delete vote, they will. You don't call the police if you lose a lottery ticket, but a policeman (like a good citizen) might register it for lost+found if they saw one blowing in the wind.

Anecdotally, the lottery ticket example comes to mind from a real-world example, when a colleague of mine arrived in work one day with such a story; during the draw he couldn't find is ticket, and, apparently in some kind of panic, not only called the police, but did so on the emergency services line (999 in the UK). To this day, I still can't quite believe how a thinking person could do such a thing. Needless to say, we all laughed at him hard.

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True, and I can accept that - however, it begs the question why a different moderator didn't believe there was enough to close it. –  Jon Apr 2 '13 at 8:47
    
@Jon I think I covered that: because, say, the first mod would dismiss your flag from the queue (rightfully invalid), and the second (maybe even the same mod, thinking they may as well take the proper course of action now they're are there, as a general user, like you) acted accordingly on the post itself. –  Grant Thomas Apr 2 '13 at 8:52
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I'll restate part of my other comment: It goes against the nature of the site and community, regardless of intent of legality. (In my opinion, of course, but if SO is to help people make worse code as well, than I'm not sure why I spend so much time there ><) and I do believe that if it is against the principles of the site, it should also be a part of what moderators enforce. –  Jon Apr 2 '13 at 8:54
    
Thank you much for adding the analogy which helps the general understanding which I couldn't find elsewhere while searching. –  Jon Apr 2 '13 at 9:24

Unfortunately, someone flagged the post in question as spam/offensive, which it was not. I declined that flag, which automatically declined the other flags on it the same way. It's an unfortunate limitation of the current flagging system; All open flags are dismissed as one. I wish it was not that way, but it is, and that is the explanation for your decline there.

For the record, I closed it for a slightly different reason than your flag indicated, and I'm actually not 100% sure I agree with your proposed reason to close it. We (moderators) do not generally judge the morality or legality of the topic behind a post. However, the question was still not constructive without that, in my opinion, hence I cast the final closing vote.


2014/6/6 edit: Moderators can now dismiss individual flags, so the above should be much more rare, now. It's still possible, if a moderator doesn't notice the other flags, or forgets that option. But we do have that ability, and it is just for these things.

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'Correct'? Really? I argue otherwise. –  Grant Thomas Apr 2 '13 at 9:33
    
Ah... Yet another case of this one from last week. –  Mysticial Apr 2 '13 at 9:34
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@Mr.Disappointment I understand your disagreement, and actually, upon reading further, I'm not so sure I agree with myself there; I closed it for a different reason, in fact. Clarifying/correcting myself, now. –  Andrew Barber Apr 2 '13 at 9:35
    
Thank you much for a better explanation of how the flagging system works as well! Knowing declining one of them declines them all is good to know (and maybe changing that in particular so that it declines all similar flags rather than all flags should be a suggested improvement? ^^) –  Jon Apr 2 '13 at 9:35
    
@Jon I would like it very much if we could handle each flag individually. I'm sure there is a reason it is like it is now (compared to how many flags we handle, this is actually pretty darn rare), but I really hate having to 'incorrectly' dismiss or accept flags due to this. There's actually a feature-request post here on Meta about that, too. –  Andrew Barber Apr 2 '13 at 9:38
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@Jon In general you should avoid the custom flag if nothing particularly bad is happening or any of the other flags apply. If all you want is the question to be closed, choose one of the normal close flags. The difference is that the normal close flags can be also handled by 10K+ users (more eyes on the flag, will be handled quicker) and are automatically marked helpful if a 3K+ user votes to close the question. The custom flag should be reserved for truly exceptional situations, and this wasn't one (although for this one we can blame the screwed up flag handling system ;) –  Yannis Apr 2 '13 at 9:41
    
AndrewBarber, I can understand why my proposed reason would be declined, and after the discussion we had here I almost feel like an idiot for asking - however I learned a lot from it so I'm glad I did. As for the flagging system, if it happens rarely, then I can understand - but think a 'dismiss type' and 'dismiss all' options should be available to help avoid confusion for those that do flag and are curious afterword as @Mysticial's example link shows. –  Jon Apr 2 '13 at 9:42
    
@Yannis also very good to know! Thank you! I will keep all this in mind for future flags =] –  Jon Apr 2 '13 at 9:44
    
Hey Andrew, do you know you can just decline / clear the spam and offensive flags? –  jokerdino Apr 2 '13 at 15:28
    
@jokerdino I didn't think that was possible. How? –  Andrew Barber Apr 2 '13 at 15:29
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@jokerdino Interesting! I just came across that with a spam flag. Good info; thanks!! –  Andrew Barber Apr 2 '13 at 17:03
    
@Andrew'saUnitato thank you for the edit! Very useful and good to know now! ^^ –  Jon Jun 7 at 0:37

Generally speaking, it's not a moderator's job to police the intent of a question or judge the legality of a question/enforce 3rd party stuff like NDAs and such.

So the moderator likely declined your flag for this reason. But closed the question because it also happened to be not constructive.


Here's a rather big example of a question with possible negative intent.

How to send 100,000 emails weekly?

No moderators intervened to bring it down. (In fact it was locked to prevent it from repeatedly getting deleted.)

share|improve this answer
    
This is true - but the entire purpose of SO which is to help improve code. It goes against the nature of the site and community, regardless of intent of legality. (In my opinion, of course, but if SO is to help people make worse code as well, than I'm not sure why I spend so much time there ><) –  Jon Apr 2 '13 at 8:52
    
@Jon You'd be surprised the lengths people go to for testing; degrading something is common, such as connection-throttling, etc. That makes a website?/webapp perform bad, but in order to make it better. Don't think you can presume the details not in a post. There looks to be ill-intent here, to be sure, but be careful with that tarring brush. (: –  Grant Thomas Apr 2 '13 at 8:54
    
@Jon So you're saying that moderators should be tasked to make such decisions? –  Mysticial Apr 2 '13 at 8:57
    
@Mr.Disappointment Granted, though I also presumed nothing - everything needed to know that it goes against what I believe SO stands for was in the question. Also, no one goes through "I'd like to make the application performance decrease over time (in a few weeks maybe)" for testing - all testing would be done within a reasonable time frame, not the course of a month. –  Jon Apr 2 '13 at 8:57
    
@Mysticial I don't want moderators overwhelmed, and my intention with this question isn't "to make their jobs harder", and with your example I can see a point if it keeps getting brought up - it was made an example of. However, I do believe that community elected moderators who volunteered for the position should be some of the first people keeping to the spirit of the site they moderate. –  Jon Apr 2 '13 at 9:00
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@Jon So, see, this is a dangerous path. We're already into the nitty-gritty specifics of a non-existent scenario I tried to generalise - people do stuff, for good and for bad, we need to separate the wheat from the chaff as a community, the mods are community too, but at a higher level they can also take some further action when required 'on site', such as removing obscenities. There's nothing here in this post that is obscene or in need of hasty removal. It's benign, and will drift into the abyss all by itself. –  Grant Thomas Apr 2 '13 at 9:00
    
@Mr.Disappointment No one ever said that it was 'obscene or in need of hasty removal' ;) However, posts do get closed by moderators following the same as the example of the flag I put. A lot especially when the post doesn't show any attempts or promotes discussions, both of which that question in particular is guilty of. Please understand, I'm not trying to get in to an argument, just a better understanding. To your edit, I agree, it would have ended up drifting in to the abyss and down-voted as long as it was seen - but knowing that, then I believe a flag was warranted. =] –  Jon Apr 2 '13 at 9:07
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That's what I mean. There is nothing of the post 'requiring moderator attention', hence your invalid flag when calling upon a moderator, but if a community member (who happens to be a moderator) is just passing, and sees fit to cast a close or delete vote, they will. You don't call the police if you lose a lottery ticket, but a policeman (like a good citizen) might register it for lost+found if they saw one blowing in the wind. –  Grant Thomas Apr 2 '13 at 9:11
    
@Mr.Disappointment I like the analogy - however I disagree with a bad post being the equivalent to a lottery ticket, I'd equate it to a piece of trash that is floating around, and use street cleaners or the those organizations that get their name on the highway to pick up the trash instead of police. Though, even with the modified analogy I do see your point as they are never called to pick up the trash, they go through periodically. So thank you for the better understanding you have provided - as that is what I was looking for, not to dispute the actual flag. =] –  Jon Apr 2 '13 at 9:17
    
@Mr.Disappointment out of room in that last comment, but can you add the analogy to your answer so I would feel more comfortable accepting it as that type of understanding is what I was looking for. –  Jon Apr 2 '13 at 9:19
    
@Jon Gladly, sir. –  Grant Thomas Apr 2 '13 at 9:22

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