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I'd like to suggest refining the flagging system a bit. While I can't say it's been a majority, I noticed that quite a number of users who have sufficient reputation to vote to close or migrate a question are flagging as such without voting to close.

I'm guessing that at least 50% of the ones I've noticed are due to users simply being out of close votes and using flags instead. That's perfectly fine.

However, moderators should not be used as voting proxies.

Would it be unreasonable to reject flags such as "Off topic, [reason]" if a user can vote to close, has close votes left and has not voted to close the question themselves? I'm not saying that people are saving votes while increasing flag weight, I just want to make sure people use their votes.

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6  
I will flag old questions as well as vote to close, as they a are not lickly to get enough views before my close vote "times out" –  Ian Ringrose Mar 19 '11 at 19:06
    
If someone has used up their close votes, they shouldn't be trying to close more. The limit is there for a reason. If we deem it acceptable to use the moderators to extend our close voting, then we should look at increasing close votes. If we determine that the limit should stay in place, then we shouldn't be encouraging users to get around the limit. Moderators should only be called in where the community is unable to act. Old off topic questions are probably reasonable for moderator action, but regular closing shouldn't be a moderator duty. –  Adam Davis Mar 21 '11 at 3:30
    
So... I agree with you generally, except that I think you shouldn't be so nice to those who are voting to close thirty times a day and feel it's not enough. –  Adam Davis Mar 21 '11 at 3:32

3 Answers 3

Good idea.

However, I will sometimes vote to close as "off topic" and then flag for a moderator to consider migrating to a site not on the list. Does that count?

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As long as you don't mind your name being added to the 'closed by' list, that's perfectly fine. –  Tim Post Mar 19 '11 at 18:03
    
That is the point ;) –  ChrisF Mar 19 '11 at 18:16

It looks likes something has been implemented.

In this question Should I flag ancient questions that need closing / migrating? the OP states:

I actually clicked "flag" and followed the prompts does not belong here -> offtopic -> super user. However, the system turned that into a close vote, rather than a flag.

(Original emphasis)

So the system is detecting whether you have close votes available. I wouldn't have thought it would check if you just flag for moderator attention and put "should be migrated" in the message.

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I have just tested this on this question, and indeed it seems that flagging as "does not belong" and selecting a close reason will now cast a vote instead. I still have 33 flags out of my normal 33, so it seems that it doesn't cast the flag, either. Also, after voting to close you cannot choose to flag as "does not belong", so a custom flag message would be the only appropriate route post-vote. –  Grace Note Mar 23 '11 at 13:30
    
I usually see generic "flags for moderator attention" that don't get caught by that mechanism. –  Anna Lear Mar 23 '11 at 13:40

I rarely run out of close votes, but I do flag for moderator attention when a question isn't likely to get enough close votes to be closed/migrated. It happens that a question obviously needs a close/migrate, but it is already been open for hours and has no one or maybe at highest 1 vote. It occurs in tags where questions doesn't get that much of views. Those votes will time out before the question ever get enough votes to be closed/migrated. I've seen them often enough in JSF, JSP and Servlet tags. I then flag for moderator attention with the reason "Not enough close votes" (which, admittedly, can be interpreted differently, as I realized just now).

Often it get picked up very well by Bill the Lizard. I can imagine that such questions aren't your area, Tim, you could just leave them for what they are and delegate the job to another moderator who can judge it better.

Jeff Atwood has also ever said somewhere that we should flag for moderator attention more often. For sure if there is not enough respons from the community.

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