This post was flagged by the system as vandalism, because the user had just deleted five of his old junk answers (need 10K rep to see):

Notice that these are all zero-voted and 3 of the 5 questions are closed!

So, I flagged this: "Not vandalism. These are all zero-voted answers on Q's that were either closed or have better answers." I've flagged this way probably a dozen times, and it's always been found "helpful".

This time, the flag was declined -- meaning that the deletions were vandalism! (The decline-message was the standard "a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it".)

Yet, all 5 answers remain deleted. Shouldn't they be restored if it was vandalism to delete them?

So, was this vandalism?
Was the mod having an off moment?
Something else?

  • I'd like to understand this, because others answering this seem to. What is the point in flagging a post that's has a flag you disagree with, as opposed to simply marking the flag as "invalid"? – Michael Petrotta Dec 20 '11 at 3:23
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    There is way too much reversal of logic in this question for my tired brain to understand! :P – Andrew Barber Dec 20 '11 at 3:24
  • @MichaelPetrotta, the idea was to document the reasons for the decision -- to hopefully save the moderator some time. Isn't that a main reason for the 10K tools? – Awesome Poodles Dec 20 '11 at 3:26
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    @MichaelPetrotta I think Brock just wanted to cast an "invalid flag" flag against the Community ♦ flag. Unfortunately he added an explanation and got screwed over because of that. – NullUserException อ_อ Dec 20 '11 at 3:27
  • @Null: ah, that makes sense. Intending to file an "invalid" flag with an explanation, clicks in the input box, inadvertently selects "other". – Michael Petrotta Dec 20 '11 at 3:30

A moderator declined the flag that Community ♦ cast. Your flag was collateral damage.

I'll have a word with management (the other mods), so that this doesn't happen in the future.

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  • Thanks. Maybe we need a wiki page to coordinate best practices for flagging? "If X then flag Y..." – Awesome Poodles Dec 20 '11 at 3:24
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    It's probably best to just dismiss all community ♦ flags as helpful. It's pointless to try and tell a machine that it's "doing it wrong." – user102937 Dec 20 '11 at 3:27
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    @RobertHarvey I don't see it as pointless. Maybe the devs collect data on Community flags and tweak it so it stops generating useless flags? – NullUserException อ_อ Dec 20 '11 at 3:28
  • @Null: I really doubt it. The behavior of the automated flag checks has not changed in the slightest since SE put them in, from what I can see. – user102937 Dec 20 '11 at 3:30
  • AFAIK it's collected for the future possibility of use. I hate Community so I doubt the data is going to be useful... – Matthew Read Dec 20 '11 at 3:33
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    @NullUserExceptionอ_อ The devs have told me they don't adjust Community's flagging behavior based on how we dismiss its flags. The system even ignores Community's flag weight and all of its flags are added to the queue with a weight of 100. Since then I always just mark its flags as helpful no matter what action I take. – Bill the Lizard Dec 20 '11 at 4:02
  • @BilltheLizard I asked a related question a while back. – Tim Post Dec 20 '11 at 8:12
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    I don't think this is a problem of moderator behavior, but a problem in the SE software. – CodesInChaos Dec 20 '11 at 9:39

It's a bug (sort of).

If you use a custom flag reason and the moderator declines the auto generated flag, your flag gets declined as well. This happens because moderators can't dismiss flags individually.

The "correct" course of action was to mark the flag invalid. I realize this sucks, because you are essentially creating an "invalid flag" flag but with an explanation. Unfortunately the system can't detect that and again, we mods can't handle each flag individually.

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  • It's not really a bug. That's just how the system works -- all flags are dismissed at the same time either as helpful or as declined. – Adam Lear Dec 20 '11 at 3:24
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    @AnnaLear That's why I added the sort of. I mean, the system is working as described, but not as one would expect. – NullUserException อ_อ Dec 20 '11 at 3:25
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    I'd call it broken-by-design. But that's even worse than being a bug. – CodesInChaos Dec 20 '11 at 9:41

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