I flagged a question a while back because it appeared to me the OP was just fishing for points by posting a question then answering that question immediately after. I put my flag under the "other" category. I just noticed that my flag was "declined" and the explanation of why it was declined isn't really an explanation at all:

declined - Check the faq and Meta. You are allowed to do this.

I later found out that it is considered acceptable to answer your own question in the manner the OP did, but I would still like a real explanation as to why my flag was "declined". Is it just because I was actually flagging something that turned out to be acceptable, because the flag was in the wrong category, or is it some other reason entirely? Basically, what does "this" in the statement "You are allowed to do this." represent? Is this just sarcasm giving me permission to read the faq or does "this" refer to something in my flag? How about providing a link to the FAQ/Rule/SOP I violated?


I now realize that the message actually came from a real person (the Moderator who declined my flag) and was not some automatically generated message. Had I known this before I would have been able to better guess what the message meant. Since it did come from a real person, I wouldn't expect a link to the rule I violated (as has been pointed out, Mods have a lot to do).

  • Why downvote and not give explanation? Isn't it obvious I'm trying to better myself as a community member? – ubiquibacon Dec 1 '11 at 11:26
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    Voting works differently on Meta than on SO proper. See meta.stackoverflow.com/faq#vote-differences – Pekka Dec 1 '11 at 11:28
  • "I put my flag under the "other" category" - do you happen to recall what text you wrote? It's quite possibly that that the mod message is referring to. – AakashM Dec 1 '11 at 11:29
  • @AakashM I wrote "Why post a question only to answer it yourself 1 minute later? If it was an honest question and he found the answer that fast, the question should have been deleted, not answered by himself. Guy is just fishing for points." – ubiquibacon Dec 1 '11 at 11:30
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    @typoknig and you were answered "flag declined; see the FAQ; you are allowed to do this". I don't see how this is hard to understand? – Pekka Dec 1 '11 at 11:31
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    I downvoted your question and the reason is that you basically answered your question yourself, and now you seem to be nitpicking about word phrasing. – Goran Jovic Dec 1 '11 at 11:34
  • I couldn't care less about the downvote, it is just a number, I just wanted an explanation. I would not ask a question if it really wasn't a question for me. I am not nitpicking the wording, I was just unclear in what context it was said (a pitfall of communications that don't take place face to face). You all have cleared the matter up. Thanks for your help. – ubiquibacon Dec 1 '11 at 11:38

Moderators process hundreds of flags a day: They can't be expected to write a full paragraph of explanation for every one they reject.

In my eyes, the message is very clear: You flagged something because the OP posted a self-answer; it was rejected because as per the FAQ, "you are allowed to do this". What is the problem?

  • I have only ever flagged two questions, and only one of them had a response from the Moderator, so I guess I just didn't know what to expect. I didn't even know if it was actually a response from the Moderator, I thought I might have been an automatically generated message, in which case the context could be just about anything (i.e. sarcasm telling me to read the faq, or something else entirely). – ubiquibacon Dec 1 '11 at 11:34
  • @typoknig yeah, custom moderator responses are relatively new (a month old I think) – Pekka Dec 1 '11 at 11:41
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    @typoknig: And they're limited. You can only enter a line's worth of chars. – user1228 Dec 1 '11 at 16:27

What part of the decline message don't you understand?

  1. You flagged:

    Why post a question only to answer it yourself ... [remainder snipped]

  2. We declined with:

    Check the faq and Meta. You are allowed to do this.

There is nothing cryptic about that decline message, it is a straightforward reply to your question.

In the comments, when you challenged the OP about doing this, the OP was even helpful enough to point you in the direction of the relevant FAQ article.

So that all looks pretty clear to me, but yet you still come here to question this:

I later found out that it is considered acceptable to answer your own question in the manner the OP did, but I would still like a real explanation as to why my flag was "declined"

What other "real explanation" is there that you think we can give? We declined the flag because you flagged incorrectly and because you are in fact permitted to answer your own questions, and yes, even within a minute or two of asking.

That is the REAL explanation.

I would suggest that before flagging another post you go and have a read of the FAQ so we don't have to do this all over again:

FAQ for Stack Exchange sites

  • I explained why I asked the question, I simply didn't know the context of the response, or even that the response came from a real person (though it was an automated message). I have given you no reason to think you will have to "do this all over again". No reason for you to be a jerk. – ubiquibacon Dec 1 '11 at 13:04
  • I'm not being a jerk, I am directly answering your question. Regardless of whether the message was automated or not, I don't see the purpose of your question, stop fretting over decline flags and go do something productive on the site like answering questions and earning rep. – Kev Dec 1 '11 at 15:44
  • You are being a jerk, more so in your comment than in your answer. Simply asking a question as to why something is the way it is isn't necessarily "fretting". If you cannot see how the message might have been taken several different ways depending on the source then perhaps you have not often been exposed to the subtleties of the English language. Regardless if you (or anyone) thinks my question here on Meta was "productive" (funny word choice from the guy trolling me), I did learn more about SO, and isn't that what Meta is for? – ubiquibacon Dec 1 '11 at 15:57

OP of the question you flagged didn't break any rule. It is allowed, and even encouraged to ask your question even if you know the answer and then answer it yourself.

You didn't break any rule by flagging it. You are allowed to flag a question if you think it deserves to be flagged, even if you are wrong. If so, moderators will tell you so, which they did.


You are allowed to do this.

definitely refers to the practice of asking the question and answering it yourself. Maybe it is ambiguously phrased, but the meaning is quite obvious, IMO.

  • It does seem more obvious now, I just didn't realize the comment was actually from the Moderator who declined the flag. I didn't know if it was an auto generated message or what, so I was unclear how to take it. – ubiquibacon Dec 1 '11 at 11:35

You would have to ask the moderator who declined your flag exactly why it was declined. The rest of us can make an educated guess; there was no reason to delete the post you flagged, so it was declined.

I can't explain that wording, though, except to note that it is very generic because you chose a generic flag option. If you had chosen a specific flag option, the declined message could have briefly explained why it was declined (all canned text, of course)

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