Recently, I discovered a way to manipulate the current flagging system so that I can raise my own flag weight.

It all began innocently enough. I looked through my downvoted answers and saw an answer of mine that that was pretty lame and qualified as "not an answer". I flagged it, but then I realized I could delete it myself, so I deleted it. Then I figured it would be confusing to a moderator to see a flag for a deleted answer, so I undeleted it.

I then went to my profile, and noticed that my flag weight had already gone up. Mods had never accepted a flag this quickly before, so I figured that deleting a post validates the flags put on it. Noting this, I went back and deleted the answer.

Naturally, of course, this made me realize that I could increase my own flag weight by repeating this process:

  1. flag my own post with a score of 0 or less

  2. delete that post.

  3. (optional) undelete the post

I did this a few times to make sure it wasn't a fluke, and then I kept doing it because I was greedy and wanted moar flag weightz. Then I just couldn't resist the temptation of posting "gigglewaffles" as an answer to a question, flagging it (with the message "blah blah blah"), and then deleting it.

It's a kind of boring process, so I stopped once my flag weight reached the nearest round number (which happened to be 500. I got the deputy badge because of dishonesty! Whoot whoot!).

I'm pretty sure this is a hole in the flag weight system. I'm not sure how you should fix it, but I'm thinking that if somebody flags his own post and then deletes it, the flag should be ignored.

If this isn't fixed very soon, I can foresee that some people who have read this post will follow this process for hours to get the max flag weight (750, I believe?).

(I know that flag weight isn't all that important, but I really enjoy seeing a number associated with my name increasing. If it weren't for that, I would never flag posts or answer questions. Please don't suck the challenge out of it for me.)

  • 1
    Don't accounts get suspended when enough of their posts get deleted? If not, I agree that this is a loophole that should be filled. :) – Chris Frederick Sep 17 '11 at 5:59
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    @Chris I don't know any of the suspension algorithms, but I would think even if there was such a thing, self-deletes wouldn't count. At least, I hope not, I delete my stupid posts all the time. – Peter Olson Sep 17 '11 at 6:01
  • 38
    well, I know what Marc Gravell is going to be doing this weekend.. – Jeff Atwood Sep 17 '11 at 6:01
  • I think me & @genesis were talking about this couple of days ago - tries to find the talk – Sathyajith Bhat Sep 17 '11 at 7:03
  • 38
    You should be awarded the "corrupt deputy" badge. – Paul Bellora Sep 17 '11 at 7:34
  • 8
    The good news is that the query to find these is trivial (done)... the bad news: expect any corrupt flag weight to evaporate (at the latest, by Monday) – Marc Gravell Sep 17 '11 at 8:06
  • 1
    @Sathya Genesis reported a similar one -- flagging before making the fifth close vote. – user154510 Sep 17 '11 at 15:15
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    I demand that @KublaiKhan's suggestion be implemented for everyone who loses a lot of flag weight from this! – Pekka Sep 17 '11 at 19:23

Indeed, thanks for pointing out that loophole; deleting content now adds no flag weight for the user who cast the deciding deletion vote.

I plugged it for now, and we'll go back and correct any situations where this was abused in the past.

  • ah, that'll explain why I couldn't see it, then – Marc Gravell Sep 17 '11 at 7:21
  • 10
    Aww, does this mean I should expect a 140 point drop in my flag weight in my near future? – Peter Olson Sep 17 '11 at 15:04
  • 7
    And, an update for those who are curious, my flag weight just did drop 140 points. – Peter Olson Sep 20 '11 at 12:48
  • 2
    How about adding a whistle-blower badge (or a similar title) for such cases? – Itamar Sep 25 '11 at 8:17

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