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I flagged an answer which appeared blank as "not an answer", but upon refreshing the page I saw a code block.

How can I remove my flag? I don't want to lose flagging weight just because of a browser or server glitch.

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marked as duplicate by Tobias Kienzler, Bo Persson, Lance Roberts, Martijn Pieters, hims056 Mar 18 '13 at 17:26

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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I typically look at timestamps when something is flagged that doesn't look like it should have been. If the post was edited after you flagged it, I'll dismiss the flag as valid (assuming it would have initially required attention). –  Bill the Lizard Apr 16 '11 at 20:29
    
@Bill the Lizard That's good, thank you –  Cyclone Apr 16 '11 at 20:42
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Epic edit @random. :D –  Octavian Damiean May 24 '11 at 21:12
    
@Bill the Lizard: After examining my flag weight history, my flag was marked as invalid and I did lose flagging weight because of it. This isn't cool :( –  Cyclone Jul 5 '11 at 20:08
    
@Cyclone: It looks like a moderator didn't check the time stamps and cleared it as invalid. –  Bill the Lizard Jul 5 '11 at 20:20
    
@Bill the Lizard: So it actually was an empty post when I flagged it? What if in the time span between my loading the page and flagging, he edited it to add content? –  Cyclone Jul 5 '11 at 20:23
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@Cyclone: It was edited 5 minutes after you flagged it, so it was definitely a valid flag at the time. Unfortunately, I have no way of seeing how much later the flag was processed by a mod. –  Bill the Lizard Jul 5 '11 at 20:33
    
@Bill the Lizard: When I look at revisions, it does show an edit but I had flagged because the whole answer was entirely blank. Do you see a blank edit anywhere? I know it doesn't show edits that are close in time to the initial post to us users at least. –  Cyclone Jul 5 '11 at 20:37
    
@Cyclone: No, I don't see a totally blank one. The 2nd revision is close enough (6 minutes) that there probably was an edit that got in for free. So it is possible that a mod looked and didn't see the blank post at all. –  Bill the Lizard Jul 5 '11 at 20:41
    
@Bill the Lizard: So what can I do then? Just eat the difference? –  Cyclone Jul 5 '11 at 20:48
    
@Cyclone: Yeah, I'm afraid so. Luckily you're still in the range where one "valid" flag is worth the same as an "invalid", so your flag weight will go right back up. –  Bill the Lizard Jul 6 '11 at 2:05
    
@Bill the Lizard: That's unfortunate :( –  Cyclone Jul 7 '11 at 23:55
    
@BilltheLizard It would be great if every moderator were like you –  rpax Mar 6 at 22:09
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2 Answers 2

up vote 17 down vote accepted

There's no way to retract a flag.

In general, if you see a recently made post that looks odd, it may be that the person writing it is about to edit it to make it better and originally posted an inferior answer to be the fastest gun in the West.

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Sounds like a "fastest gun in the West" scenario, the post was definitely blank at first –  Cyclone Apr 16 '11 at 20:28
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I think that this topic really needs to be revisited and the ability to revoke/delete a flag should be considered - even if it were only added for users with a higher privilege or certain flagging weight. That, or possibly the addition of a new flag-status such as no longer applicable (instead of declined).

Similar to this question, misreading a question or answer, misclicking buttons, or flagging a blatantly wrong answer as "not an answer" and 30 seconds after it's flagged the poster updates it to have just enough date to make it relevant - these are all things that happen way more often than not and there they all count against you (if they're marked as declined).

To add a supporting question to your question - specifically regarding my last note, flagging a wrong answer (which is normally someone's attempt to be "first post", or someone who doesn't have the comment privilege yet): Why on earth can't we revoke a flag on an answer if it's been updated after we've flagged it?

For example, just yesterday I flagged an answer that was very obviously a question asking the OP for more information. Flagged as "not an answer", as it should have been. About 2 minutes later, the answer was updated with another question, but had a small block of code in it that was relevant to the OP's question - but still didn't answer the question. I looked and my flag was still there and I had no way to remove it. As assumed, it was declined. I followed the accepted answer on this question and posted a second flag marked as other with an explanation that the answer was edited after my flag - hoping the moderator would balance out my score and mark my second flag as helpful - it was declined. So, now I have two declineed flags for the same answer =[

Again, I 100% support the idea that there needs to be more control over the flags that we post. I would be in support for the ability to revoke/delete a flag before it's been reviewed by a moderator, or even the logic to apply flag not applicable if the question/answer has been updated since it was flagged.

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Great example here: stackoverflow.com/posts/13772021/revisions Personally I don't give a crap about being able to remove my own flag for my own sake, but it seems moderators are always grieving about the high volume of flags. If they made flags removable, I'm sure it would lessen their burden if only a little. –  Wesley Murch Dec 21 '12 at 20:29
    
Searched for this feature just after having realized that I flagged a question wrong (seemed to be a code question on meta, while the user was asking why the code question was closed on main). While it doesn't bother me (much) to have that wrong flag in history... it is still lost time for anyone reviewing it, so I would support the ability to remove a flag if the user realize he missunderstood the context or the post shapeshift into something different and the flag is no longer applicable. –  SPArchaeologist Feb 25 '13 at 9:45
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With the mutable nature of Questions, flags should be equally mutable. Just flagged a post because the question was a typo question, it even had answers stating the typo, then the op went back and changed it. stackoverflow.com/questions/16579552/… –  greedybuddha May 16 '13 at 6:27
    
I just flagged a question as duplicate because I'd misread it. I've followed up with another flag attempting to explain this but the ability to retract would indeed be welcome. –  Robert Jul 9 '13 at 11:03
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