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So, I'm now (since some weeks) a user with more than 10k reputation (on Stack Overflow). I can access the moderation tools, one of them is the flagged posts page. This lists some of the flags on posts (questions and answers) which were not yet handled by a moderator, as I understand.

In the time since I had the right, I often looked through this list, and reflagged some of the flagged posts. This rapidly raised my flag weight from 150 to 500 (I got the deputy badge yesterday) ... but I'm not sure this really helped the work of the diamond moderators.

So, which of my possible actions really do help the moderators?

  1. If I see an answer flagged not an answer, it often is something that either should be a comment or an edit to the question. I then (after looking at the question page) flag it again, and some time later a moderator has to press the right buttons to convert it - i.e. the same actions he/she would have to do without my flag. Does my reflag really help here (apart from raising my flag weight)?

  2. If I see a question flagged as duplicate, not a real question or off topic, I check the question (and maybe the linked duplicate), and if the flag is right, I vote to close with the right reason. I can see that this would be useful, if enough people are doing this to close/migrate the question without moderator intervention.

  3. I often see very low quality flags (both for questions and answers). What am I (or moderators, really) supposed to do here? Vote to close/delete? Edit it to make it better quality? (Then it would be useful to have a filtered view of these, just for my tags.) Simply downvote (maybe with a comment, if there is not already one)?

  4. Sometimes there are flags where I think they are not justified, and then I flag invalid flag. What is the effect on this (other than raising my flag weight when I'm right or lowering it when I'm wrong)? As I understand, a moderator still has to review it (at least, the message Thanks, we will take a look at it seems to indicate this).

  5. Sometimes I see possible vandalism of own posts - someone deleted his own posts, and the system autogenerated a flag here. Is there something useful I could do here, as a non-moderator? Vote to undelete if there is something useful? Vote as invalid, if it is nothing useful? Does my vote/flag here actually help the moderators?

  6. Sometimes there are duplicate posts - usually the same user answering two similar questions with exactly the same text. Where I understand the topic, this is most often a valid answer for both questions. Should I mark this as invalid flag? Does this actually help? (Once I found someone just posting a link to a blog entry to several related questions, then I flagged as spam.)

There are some related questions, but those did not really help me here:

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Note that the 10k flag page was profoundly redesigned earlier this month, so that are older than that are likely to have obsolete advice. Even posts early in that period may reflect things that were since fixed (e.g. the “invalid flag” superposition). –  Gilles Jun 26 '11 at 17:50
    
Ah, this seems to have coincided with me getting 10 kR. –  Paŭlo Ebermann Jun 26 '11 at 17:56
5  
Going to get my Deputy badge; be right back. –  Rick Sladkey Jun 26 '11 at 18:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 44 down vote accepted

Short answer: everything. Editing, flagging, down-voting, closing, re-opening, deleting... If you can do something instead of leaving it for a moderator, or at least add weight to the suggestion being made to the moderators, that makes their job easier.

More specifically:

  1. Not an answer: Verify that it really isn't an answer. Some folks like to use this for answers that are simply not very good - marking this flag as invalid and down-voting the answer encourages its author to improve or remove it, while providing the moderator viewing it with a hint that he doesn't really need to do anything.

  2. Close-flags: are no longer shown here. Use /review/close to help weed through these.

  3. Low quality: If you can edit these in a way that will result in a useful post, go for it. You may not be familiar with the subject matter, but you can still clean up grammar and spelling, fix formatting, etc. If the post is beyond help, adding your own flag to back up the original adds weight to the assertion made by the first. Down-voting, close-voting and voting to delete may also help by removing the problem before a moderator needs to step in.

  4. Invalid flags: An invalid flag flag helps the moderator to realize that the flag does not have to be dealt with by them. If they dismiss flags once you've flagged as invalid, no ones flag weight will be affected.

  5. Vandalism: If someone's going through and deleting useful content, that's bad - a moderator will have to step in. But someone conscientiously cleaning up crap they've posted could also trip this - have a look, and if it doesn't seem to be a problem then flag it as invalid. See #4.

  6. Duplicate posts: Duplicate answers are the smell of spammers and/or duplicate questions. Occasionally, someone will find that an answer they've written actually does answer multiple questions that are not duplicates, and these are ok to ignore - but have a good hard look at the questions themselves first: if they can be closed / merged, or if the answers are only tangentially-related, then close / flag as needed to achieve this.

Beyond flags

Keep an eye on the lists of posts with close votes, recently closed, delete votes, and recently-deleted. Heck, all the rest of the lists too if you're bored. Look for areas where the community needs a hand and contribute your votes, or where they're getting it wrong, and contribute your advice. Edit low-scoring questions with good answers, flag argumentative conversations, re-open salvaged questions...

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What about Rollback War flags? –  Undo the Snowman Jul 12 '13 at 3:44
    
Honestly? Those are pretty rare... But feel free to dig into the situation and dispute or leave a more detailed flag if you find something. –  Shogging through the snow Jul 12 '13 at 3:47
  1. Yes, your reflag helps the moderators, because it establishes community consensus. Pile on those flags! As @Shog9 says, Not an Answer flags are for non-answers only (e.g. answers that should be comments), not bad answers.

  2. Concur.

  3. If possible, edit the question. But the Very Low Quality flag is supposed to be used for those questions that are probably not salvageable.

  4. Dismissing flags as invalid is much easier if I can get community agreement that the flags are invalid.

  5. Yes, on all points.

  6. If you believe both posts are legitimate, mark the flag as invalid.

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