People asked about other types of flags (e.g. low quality) but I am asking a question about the "Not a real question" flag. I flagged a question as not a real question. The flag was marked invalid but the question was closed for same reason

How to output the name of an input variable was closed as not a real question

I flagged the question "Not a real question" 18 hours before the question was closed, and the flag was marked invalid.

I guess my question is: How are invalid flags determined? How does it make sense for me to have an invalid flag for a question that was subsequently closed for the exact reason I originally flagged it for?

  • Sigh.
    – user1228
    Aug 16, 2011 at 19:20
  • @wont there's some element of subjectivity to "Very Low Quality" compared to "Not a Real Question"
    – Foo Bah
    Aug 16, 2011 at 20:44
  • They are both subjective. If you don't believe me, then you don't believe I have written this comment and we actually agree on the subject.
    – user1228
    Aug 16, 2011 at 21:13

2 Answers 2


Flag validity is determined by moderators.

The question you link to was closed by users.

The moderator didn't think they had enough reason to force a close immediately, but the community took a vote and decided to close it. These are two separate but complimentary processes.

A lot of times the mods will defer to the community in situations like this. It leads to less indignation from folks whose questions are closed ("THE MODS CLOSED MY QUESTION! FASCISM!" vs "The community voted and a threshold of users decided to close the question").

  • 8
    Yeah, but it seems to make sense that if someone flagged a question as NARQ and it got closed as NARQ, their flag was clearly valid. Whether the question was closed by a mod or community should be irrelevant -- after all, the flag could've attracted 10k+ users to the post to close it.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Aug 16, 2011 at 19:17
  • 1
    Is there a way so that, if the question is marked as closed, the invalid flags could be reversed?
    – Foo Bah
    Aug 16, 2011 at 19:18
  • @Anna - I agree. I think at the least they could negate the invalid so there's no effect on weight.
    – JNK
    Aug 16, 2011 at 19:20
  • 3
    So what you're saying is that "bad enough to flag for close as NARQ" is worse than "bad enough to vote to close as NARQ" and that therefore a post could exist between these two levels of badness. If that were so, flags from those eligible to vote to close shouldn't just be converted to close votes, and we should retain an ability to flag something that's extra bad. I don't think flags actually carry that meaning. Aug 16, 2011 at 19:31
  • @Kate - I know it's a lot more common for NARQ to be used by community votes than for moderators (in my experience). The majority of the NARQ mod closures I see are the 3rd or 4th vote after a close has already been started. I have to think it's so mod's don't seem heavy handed with closing questions, especially since the community is pretty thorough in this regard.
    – JNK
    Aug 16, 2011 at 19:37
  • You think this is a joke, but I have actually been compared to a fascist leader after closing a question. Aug 17, 2011 at 9:44
  • @Cody - unfortunately I wasn't kidding. I've seen posts on meta that basically say SO is a fascist regime because of censorship etc etc
    – JNK
    Aug 17, 2011 at 10:12

It should be a moot point as to which flag I chose and for what reason it was finally closed. That's stupid and just splitting hairs. The purpose for flagging is getting attention to a bad question, if the bad question was ultimately closed it justifies the flag.

If the mods want to defer to the community, then why mark it as invalid?

On one of the sites I am active in I have 12 invalid flags, but 6 of those questions are already closed and there are another 2 that would be closed on further discussion. Flagging is necessary for a healthy site, but if I am flagging frequently and 1/3 of my flags are being marked invalid but then later justified by a close it is a slap on the wrist and doesn't encourage a positive behaviour.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .