Please understand that I'm not complaining about my flag that was declined. Rather, I want to increase my understanding in order to hone my flagging skills.

The basis of my question is this StackOverflow question.

I flagged it as "not a real question", due to the fact that it seemed to have XY Problem qualities in that the asker assumed the source of the problem, and as such, only posted the Error message with no supporting code, which makes me grrrr.

The state of the question at the time of flagging:

Image showing the state of the question at the time of the flag.

A few minutes later, the asker posted a jsFiddle link (from which I edited the question to include the relevant code), rendering my flag obsolete.

So here are my questions...

  • In the question's initial state, does my flag seem reasonable, or does question contain enough info to be valid?
  • Given that a question can be updated (but sometimes isn't), how long should I wait before flagging?
  • When reviewing such a flag, does the moderator take into consideration the state of the question at the time of the flag? (I don't expect that. I just don't know what their tools show them.)
  • Should "not a real question" flags be auto-removed when the asker updates the question?

Again, I totally accept that my flag may have been invalid, even given the question's initial state. There's always differences of opinion. I just want to reduce my unhelpful flags.

2 Answers 2


You should have down voted the original version of the question rather than flagging it, from the question title and text it is clear what the question is so the NARQ flag is not an appropriate action.

When reviewing such a flag, does the moderator take into consideration the state of the question at the time of the flag?

They attempt to, but you have to understand that due to the volume of work they cannot spend a large amount of time analyzing each flagged post in depth, sometimes flag acceptance/rejection errors will be made. If it is an important error then raise it here on Meta like you did with this one, if it isn't crucial then just let it slide.

Should "not a real question" flags be auto-removed when the asker updates the question?

This has been discussed before, and IIRC the flags predating the edit are not removed, but as mentioned above the mods will use their common sense and check edits when reviewing flags. As per this answer from Jeff when your flag was valid but due to an edit it isn't any longer then the flag gets dismissed as helpful so you don't lose flag weight.

  • +1 I think you make good points across the board. I certainly understand about the volume of work mods have to deal with, which was made me think of the auto-remove. I've had 3 declined flags, so I wanted to make sure I was flagging correctly. For example, the one I asked about in this question, Robert Harvey confirmed shouldn't have been declined.
    – user176859
    Jan 16, 2012 at 0:45
  • ...with regard to down-voting, it's sort of a funny thing. I do tend to down-vote questions that I consider to be exceptionally bad, but it seems that some people give retaliatory upvotes when that happens, so I haven't found that the votes are always very effective. Thanks for your input. :)
    – user176859
    Jan 16, 2012 at 0:47
  • @casper, I've reworded that section to better represent what I meant, hope that helps.
    – slugster
    Jan 16, 2012 at 5:59
  • @slugster Eh, I think that doesn't change the statement. I'm not telling you have to change it, I just think it's not right. The number of flags in the queue is not to be taken into account when reviewing a flag, every flag is to be looked at thoroughly.
    – casperOne
    Jan 16, 2012 at 6:02

To me the question as you've posted it, is not an invalid question it's just an ill written one.

Take a wild guess at the technology and it can be answered and if the answer is good and includes the assumptions made to answer the ill written question it has value for the community.

  • Yes, the poor information could be stripped away, and the question could be re-interpreted as "How do I delete an element?", which would then more likely be a duplicate rather than a question about the asker's broken code.
    – user176859
    Jan 13, 2012 at 21:36
  • ...but the main point of the question is about "not a real question" flags in relation to updated questions. (Bullet points 2-4.).
    – user176859
    Jan 13, 2012 at 21:37
  • @amnotiam I don't think they should automatically be removed since the question might well still be invalid but I think it valid to remove them when they no longer apply
    – Rune FS
    Jan 13, 2012 at 21:39
  • 1
    I agree. That would certainly be a concern. An edit doesn't necessarily mean an improvement. I think the ability to remove a flag would be good. I haven't seen any such feature. Is that something I've missed?
    – user176859
    Jan 13, 2012 at 21:48
  • 1
    @amnotiam There is feature-request for that. You may vote for it here if you like: Can we have a way to undo a flag?
    – Idolon
    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:09
  • @Idolon: Thanks for the link. I gave it my support.
    – user176859
    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:14

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