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Close flags (those in the "it doesn't belong here, or it is a duplicate" category) are arguably the least important flags. A healthy community can usually deal with closing questions on their own, getting the moderators involved mostly just speeds things up.

I think that it would make more sense, and also be more consistent, if instead of close flags users below 3k reputation would have the ability to suggest closing a question analogous to the "suggest edit" feature. This would also put the question into the close review queue, but it would not put it into the moderator flag queue.

I think moving this ability would help to emphasize that closing is the job of the community, and not necessarily of the diamond moderators. It would also avoid filling the flag queue with stuff the community can handle itself, leaving the moderators to handle the more exceptional flags.

The core of this feature request is not new, the idea to not show the close flags to moderators (at least on SO) has already been discussed. But I think that also changing them from flags to suggestions makes it clearer what flags are actually meant for. By removing the part that the community can handle itself, the purpose of flags as a way to call a moderator is made more obvious.

Of course sometimes the moderators also should or have to close questions. This is especially common on smaller and new sites, where the community can't manage this alone. So the close review queue should be improved to be useable for mods, or maybe even visible in the style of the flag queue for moderators in an optional view.

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AFAIK, close flags don't show up in the moderator flag queue unless they've been sitting there unhandled for too long (or so I was told). –  animuson Apr 24 '13 at 12:25
    
@animuson That is not the case on the sites where I'm a mod, there might be something different on SO –  Mad Scientist Apr 24 '13 at 12:26
    
No, I think it's the other way round. Close flags are auto-dismissed when they're picked up from the close queue. –  slhck Apr 24 '13 at 12:27
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We get a ton of close flags in the mod queue on SO. –  ThiefMaster Apr 24 '13 at 12:45
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This is coming in the flags refactoring I'm working on. –  Jarrod Dixon Apr 24 '13 at 18:27
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The close review queue already has 50k items in it, won't this just make it much bigger? –  durron597 May 7 '13 at 16:32
    
What if it's an old question??!! In those cases, how would the community see it? –  Cole Johnson Jul 27 '13 at 0:42

2 Answers 2

This was rolled out as part of the recent set of changes to flagging and closing. Close "flags" now merely place the question into the close review queue - if the question is closed, the flag is marked helpful; if it is not, the flag is declined.

Moderators' actions are still binding here, in that a "Close" or "Do Not Close" review dismisses the flag instantly.

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How do you determine if the question didn't get closed? Does the flag expire just like a normal close vote would. (100 views + a couple of days) –  FDinoff Jul 26 '13 at 23:43
    
@FDinoff: the threshold for "Do not close" responses is currently 3 - if that is reached before the question is closed, the flag is considered declined. We may well have to impose some sort of aging on this as well. –  Shog9 Jul 27 '13 at 5:54
    
Is this actually in effect? Its seems my flags are declared helpful before the post is put on hold. –  FDinoff Aug 4 '13 at 17:57

I like the option of a mod-queue-like interface for the close queue for mods. Alternatively, there can be an option to hide all non-close flags from the mod queue. Some customizability is required here, IMO, since each site has a different situation with respect to the composition of their flag queue.

On Physics, most of the flags I deal with are close flags. We sometimes wait a bit before acting on a close flag, but we still deal with them (we try to get some community closes first). With the close queue, I cannot skip a post and come back to it later without noting it down somewhere. Which is why I like handling the close flags in the mod queue.

I wouldn't mind any of the following solutions:

  • Allow mods to toggle them in the queue
  • Remove close vote flags, but give mods more control in the queues
  • Remove close vote flags, but give mods a flag-dashboard-like interface for dealing with the CV queues.
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I think there should be a button called "Later" for all the Review tasks - be it first posts/late answers/close votes/re-open votes/10k mod tools/diamond mod's flag dashboard. This "Later" button should work like "Skip", however pressing it should place this particular post we are reviewing at the end of the queue rather than completely skipping them and never being able to spot it. –  Aditya Apr 24 '13 at 14:30

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