I recently flagged one of the answers in the "late answers" checking?

OP: Force downloads on an iphone and add it to the user library.

You can use exploit A with version 1.2.3 and you can use exploit B with version 2.3.4.. I used a custom flag "I guess promoting exploits is not a way we want to do our programming as they tend to get fixed and we don't want to be associated with exploits?!" My main point was the "we don't wan to be associated with exploits?".

I received "declined - flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention". I wondering if such answers should be flagged or not. Besides the bad programming habits(no reason for flagging). I'm not sure if you should promote answers that feature exploits for regular programming.

I checked Policy regarding questions related to unethical or "shady" practices plus some of the linked questions. The responses where mixed though some seem to "ask for technical limits is ok" and some are "flag illegal activity".

Should one check those answers when the OP asks for a regular way to do something? It doesn't make sense to me to review questions and don't mark unserious stuff.


2 Answers 2


You're not linking to the question in question so it's hard to tell how serious this "exploit" is.

If it's just a really bad way to work around a restriction (however kludgy and likely to get fixed etc.), I don't think a flag is warranted. You always have your vote, and the possibility to leave a comment.

If it's a usable exploit that allows breaking into other people's systems (ie. doing something truly illegal) the flag was declined wrongly. I think most mods will agree with you that such content needs to be removed.

Edit: the link is there now. I think this is just a really, really dumb and pointless answer, and it deserves to be downvoted. But seeing as it's not mentioning any specifics, I don't see any reason to flag. Flags are for actively harmful content only - they shouldn't be used to judge a contribution.

  • Added it to the question.
    – Udo Held
    Jan 16, 2012 at 22:46
  • I don't think he can flag twice on the same post
    – Martin.
    Jan 16, 2012 at 22:49
  • @Martin true, good point.
    – Pekka
    Jan 16, 2012 at 22:51
  • I was wondering about "bad image" as well. Does SO care about it?
    – Udo Held
    Jan 16, 2012 at 23:01
  • 2
    @Udo I don't see the issue - it's just some random guy suggesting a really bad way to fix a problem. I don't think that reflects upon SO as a whole. The beauty of SO is that bad content gets downvoted
    – Pekka
    Jan 16, 2012 at 23:04
  • @Martin per my experience it is entirely possible to flag twice on the same post. I did that to questions and to answers and had no problems
    – gnat
    Jan 17, 2012 at 8:46
  • @gnat I had an instance yesterday where the system declined my second flag saying "You already flagged this post once"
    – Pekka
    Jan 17, 2012 at 9:46
  • @Pekka'sOrganicRepFarm interesting. Was it with question or answer? What was the state of your first flag - declined, helpful or review? and what were flags you used? Mine experiments so far happened to always be 1) some non-Other flag -> 2) declined -> 3) Other
    – gnat
    Jan 17, 2012 at 9:50
  • 1
    @gnat it was on an answer IIRC; the previous flag had not been processed yet. Maybe that's the thing
    – Pekka
    Jan 17, 2012 at 11:32
  • understood - thanks. Blocking next flag while previous had not been processed makes sense
    – gnat
    Jan 17, 2012 at 11:56

It's a poor answer for the question.

It is even a poor answer if the question had been, "Help me hack my iPhone to store arbitrary content in arbitrary storage locations". There's no details. There's no pointers to further information. It doesn't add to the sum of human knowledge in any way -- of course there are flaws in immensely complicated software. We knew that already.

It is so vague that I'm not surprised the moderator chose to take no action -- there's nothing there that could be turned into an exploit and certainly nothing there is an attempt to exploit our users.

I am a bit surprised about the declined flag though -- I thought most moderators were aiming for dismissing as "helpful" these days unless they thought the flag was raised with poor intentions.

  • 4
    Moderators are supposed to dismiss flags as helpful if they can - while being very generous - consider them as helpful in some way. Flags that don't help a mod understand what needs to be done often fail even that lenient test.
    – Shog9
    Jan 17, 2012 at 0:08
  • @Shog9: thanks for steering my understanding. :)
    – sarnold
    Jan 17, 2012 at 0:11

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