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With two decreases to my flag weight on SO now, I have a funny feeling that I'm doing something wrong here. (I seem to have a knack for flagging correctly on Programmers, but seem to be missing the mark on SO) I was wondering if someone would be willing to give their feedback and opinions on these flaggings and any suggestions for better flagging on SO in the future?

My flag history to this point

  1. How to parse an HTTP rawdata sent from an IPHONE using php - Flagged as duplicate of post image and other data using mulipart form data in iphone
  2. Account System using mysql/php good idea? - Flagged as off topic; belongs on Programmers
  3. Apache web server and accessing my website outside local machine - Flagged as off topic; belongs on Server Fault

My thoughts on them

  1. I can see this one as being a bad flag, since it isn't clear that it is an exact duplicate, even though it seems to overlap quite a bit.
  2. This question felt like a "Why?" sort of question instead of the "How Do I?" sort of question I would expect from SO.
  3. This question centers around server and networking configuration. Perhaps it's a bad flag since it's a personal setup instead of actual server support?

Thanks a bunch for your help!

share|improve this question
I don't know why they didn't like your flags, I agreed with all your points and cast close votes on them all. – Lance Roberts Apr 4 '11 at 1:31
Thanks Lance! Glad to know I'm not too crazy :) – Charlie Apr 4 '11 at 1:39
I too have noticed flags that I think would previously have been approved rejected recently. – John Apr 4 '11 at 2:21
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I would definitely say that they are not duplicates. They cover the exact same topic area, but one of them posted quite a bit of code and is asking for help with a bug. The other wants to know where to get started. So they're asking the same question, but want answers targeted to completely different knowledge levels.

For the second one, I'm not sure it's a good fit for programmers, either. I'd just vote to close it as off topic.

For the last one, since they're hosting it on their desktop I'd send it to superuser rather than serverfault.

But I think the real issue here is that a flag is a request for moderator intervention. Moderator votes are binding - a question closed by a moderator can't be reopened, and one reopened can't be closed again. As a moderators, I know I'm sometimes reluctant to intervene on questions if I feel the community can handle it on it's own, especially if the question is at all borderline. This is no big deal on the smaller sites like meta, but I could see where Stack Overflow proper might have a need to clear these flags more quickly, so they don't pile up and block other flagged questions from being viewed. This means that Stack Overflow moderators may be more likely to dismiss a flag early.

I'm not sure that's a bad thing, and I wouldn't worry too much about keeping your flag weight maxed out there.

share|improve this answer
Thanks a bunch Joel! This really helps. I don't think I quite grasped the weight that a flag and moderator action actually had and that makes complete sense as to why they would be dismissed quickly. I'll need to remember to hold flags on SO for things that require immediate attention and not things that could wait for votes by community members with enough rep. (I'll get up there eventually :) ) – Charlie Apr 4 '11 at 2:28

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