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I'm trying to get better at flagging so I'm hoping somebody can kindly explain why the following flag was determined to be "invalid".

On this question: Internet Explorer CPU usage goes high after an animated gif has been displayed


"The question is all about high CPU usage after an animation plays yet nothing has been posted which could facilitate any troubleshooting in that regard. No animation, no URL, no HTML code to test, no JSFiddle, no link to live page, etc. Posting an answer would only be guessing."

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that question looks perfect after it got edited, I think what is appropriate to do was ask for some code not flag it. – Bastardo Jul 22 '11 at 21:40
@JohnnyCageWins: code was asked for twice and not provided. I do not see how there's enough code for anyone to do anything but make a guess. – Sparky Jul 23 '11 at 0:35
up vote 11 down vote accepted

I dismissed this.

The question you should ask yourself is...

"What is a mod going to do about this?"

Your flag is the equivalent of calling a Janitor to tell them your Calculus instructor isn't teaching derivatives correctly.

All of your points may be 100% valid, but you should have asked them of the OP (some of which I think you did). If OP wasn't able to provide updates to your satisfaction, you should have downvoted the question. If there truly was nothing to go on in the question (I would disagree on this), you should have voted to close as not a real question.

Edit: I wanted to emphasize something I said in the comments here but that I didn't add to this answer. StackOverflow is designed so that the community moderates itself for the most part. Mods are here to handle the more extreme cases; things that need taking care of that the community does not have the ability to do.

Side note: You should be very careful about asking users to post their code (whether it is source or markup) as they may post way too much code. Whether the user posts a wall of code in the answer, or provides it externally via an ephemeral link, the question quality degrades and the user is less likely to get answers.

A question that consists of "This doesn't work, here's my code:" will eventually become worthless to anybody but the OP, and therefore is localized to the point where it might as well be closed. And questions that are nothing but a wall of code discourage users from answering (tl;dr).

At most, you should ask the OP to repro with a minimum of code/markup. Not only does this improve the chances of the OP getting their question answered (more info, but not too much to scare people off), but there is a chance they will discover the problem while working on the repro.

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Note that Sparky672 doesn't have enough rep for voting to close. That said, I believe flagging as "not a real question" puts it in the list that high-rep users see, who can then close it (if appropriate). – McCannot Jul 22 '11 at 18:50
@camccann: If it does, that would have been better. I'd still have dismissed it, most likely. – Won't Jul 22 '11 at 18:50
Thank-you for your detailed explanation. Just to note, I did not ask the OP to post all of his code. I asked him to "post all the relevant code". – Sparky Jul 22 '11 at 18:52
Nor would I have voted to close if I saw it in the /tools/flagged list. But I do think that would be the correct action in general for users who can't vote directly but think a question should be closed. – McCannot Jul 22 '11 at 18:56
@Sparky672: True, sorry about that implication. – Won't Jul 22 '11 at 19:00
"What is a mod going to do about this?" Simply close the question, I thought. Your analogy is confusing and seems to discourage flagging. I don't look at the Moderator as simply a janitor... but somebody with enough knowledge to make a final determination based on the quality/validity of a question for all future readers. If flagging as "not a real question" would have also resulted in the same outcome, how does that change your janitor/teacher analogy? – Sparky Jul 22 '11 at 19:01
@Sparky672: That's what other users are for. Flagging as NARQ would (I think) put it in a list where users with higher rep could see it and, if they agree with you based on their knowledge, vote to close. Moderators are mostly here to deal with egregious abuse or things that regular users can't take care of. See here for details. – McCannot Jul 22 '11 at 19:11
@camccann: Should I have known that? All of those choices have the same heading: it needs ♦ moderator attention. When I click the link to flag, am I supposed to know that NARQ is handled differently than when I fill out the box, only thinking I'm being more accurate/helpful by providing details? – Sparky Jul 22 '11 at 19:17
@Sparky672: In theory you should have known that, yes. Was there any reasonable way for you to have actually known? Er, well. I don't know, but there are certainly gaps in the guidance given to newer members on how to contribute to "housekeeping" duties like this. (Oh, and just to clarify--it's not NARQ specifically, that whole set of flags correspond to close reasons. Compare against the screenshot in the page I linked to.) – McCannot Jul 22 '11 at 19:27
@camccann: Perhaps that can be differentiated with a tooltip within the flagging modal. The real problem is that, even after all this, I'm not sure I would behave any differently on the next one I flag... the guidelines are just not that clear. It's really counter-intuitive to be told that simply picking an option, rather than providing helpful details, is the better route. And then of course, I still disagree on the original question... I fail to see how it can be answered when nobody can actually see or replicate the OP's situation. – Sparky Jul 22 '11 at 19:37
@Sparky672: Moderators aren't technical experts. They help clean up messes. Yes, we're all developers, but that doesn't make us experts in our fields, let alone all the fields covered by the user base. One of the things you have to realize (and accept) is that moderation isn't a science, it is all based on human judgement. That means my decisions will differ from many others, including other moderators. I honestly believe that it is a quesiton, that there is enough detail there to warrant taking no action. As for whether or not it is a "good question", that's not a mod's job to decide. – Won't Jul 22 '11 at 19:51
@Sparky672: (cont) one of the principals of moderation here is that the community polices itself (citation needed). You might think I should have swept in there and closed that question. If I had, this conversation might have been about "Why the hell did that asshole mod Will close this perfectly fine question?" (hey, look back at my answer history here, you'll find a few questions with exactly that tone). We're the last line of defense, and should only act when a situation cannot be resolved by the community. This very well could have. – Won't Jul 22 '11 at 19:54
I've had at least two calculus teachers who taught derivatives incorrectly. Whom should I tell about this travesty? You've completely destroyed my faith in the community moderators! – Cody Gray Jul 23 '11 at 9:18

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