I just noticed that my profile on Programmers no longer shows my flag weight. Instead I see the number of helpful flags. At the same time, the definition for the Marshal badge has been changed to "500 helpful flags".

Does that mean there is no more flag weight? All that counts now is the number of helpful flags? Doesn't this also mean that there is no more penalty for declined flags?

  • 16
    It's name was Robert Paulson. Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 5:43
  • 3
    Didn't I tell you on chat not to worry about flag weight? :)
    – yannis
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 6:08
  • 7
    @ZaphodBeeblebrox You did. I ignored it. And this is what I get for doing so. Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 6:31

4 Answers 4


It is dead.

We don't need (to see) flag weight!

From Waffles @ https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/119714/143601:

We now only show the number of helpful flags on your profile page (visible only to you) ... this number only ever increases.

Flag weight on the other hand, is gone ... it is dead.

It seems that Deputy has also been changed to 80 helpful flags along with the change to Marshal at 500 (holy crap!)

  • 21
    Well, mostly dead. I still have the same number of flags available, so apparently it's still used for determining how many flags you get per day. Also, Marshal actually got considerably easier. Before this change, it required a minimum of 576 helpful flags, and that's only for a 100% flawless flagging history.
    – a cat
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 5:56
  • 7
    @lunboks Actually you "only" needed 566 helpful flags (with none declined) to get Marshal. 576 was the number of flags needed for a perfect 750 FW score. Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 7:25
  • 13
    Also note that it continues to service one of its primary purposes, which is ordering the flags in the moderation queue. :)
    – user50049
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 10:41
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    @TimPost Primary and only legitimate purpose imho
    – waffles
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 10:51
  • 2
    Expect more flagged Facebook questions from me!
    – bkaid
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 20:06

Flag weight is dead. Long live flag weight:

Fine, I removed flag weight. It is gone.

Instead you now see a count of helpful flags you raised on your user profile. You can not see this number on anybody else's profile, just yours.

This number can be clicked to give you a breakdown of how we counted it.

The 2 badges Deputy and Marshal were adjusted, however we did not strip any old granted badges.

  • 1
    So I have 24 helpful flags on my account, but 122 moderator attention flags when I goto my flag summary page, most of them made before flags were recorded, do all count towards the badges, in my case Marshall (I have deputy)
    – gideon
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 9:21
  • I don't know for sure, buti believe only helpful flags count, so flags made before that was tracked are irrelevant similar to how they didn't matter for flag weight either.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 13:34
  • I think they were helpful flags since they got me the deputy badge, just 24 helpful flags couldn't have done it alone.
    – gideon
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 18:09
  • @gideon they do not count, in the past we did some real strange stuff with flag weight, the new system on the other hand is clear and auditable ... don't worry ... you get to keep your badge
    – waffles
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 22:30
  • @waffles Ah Thanks! but 500-24=476 flags till I get Marshall! =O
    – gideon
    Commented Jan 21, 2012 at 4:25
  • But I can see this number on everybody else's profile Commented Aug 29, 2022 at 21:53

Despite the fact that flag weight was declared dead 18 months ago, it was secretly hiding, deciding whether or not moderators saw your flag, and how quickly.

As a side-effect (or maybe it was intentional), it resulted in the hell-banning of poor flaggers, and made it difficult for them to recover as their flags were buried and were never seen. Because of this fact, the developers decided to ignore the metric completely as part of the major rewrite of the flagging system that Shog describes in his answer on the previously linked question.

We're in the middle of a major re-write of the entire flagging system. As part of this, we're re-thinking how flag weight (and thus "hell bans") work. Anna & I have been discussing this for a while - here's what we're looking at doing instead:...

While there has been no official announcement of the implementation of this new method for ranking, the idea that flag weight is being ignored is mentioned by Nick and Oded in the comment thread to Please revisit the decision not to let people remove moderator flags

Given Nick's comment:

@CodesInChaos I don't recall ever seeing that, there was a period we didn't show it in the profile, but it was not gone. Now it is, for good. HOw abut I put it this way: I could drop the column from the DB right now and nothing would happen. – Nick Craver♦ Jul 11 at 11:45

effectively says they can drop the column without impacting anything suggests that the flag weight is truly gone and buried, never to return.

  • 1
    Except...isn't it in the API, which was their reason for not dropping it entirely?
    – ale
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 13:39
  • @AlEverett haven't seen any mention of it related to that one way or another, so I don't know. I'm working off of Nick's comment mostly, but I recall a similar comment from Anna at some point as well that is isn't used at all. Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 13:45

Well there is still a "penalty" for flagging incorrectly:

I know what you are wondering.... what if people start abusing this now that they can just flag stuff randomly without getting punished with a bullet at the back of their head. Well it will work just the same way as the editing badges do, we use other queries to find abuse and deal with it if it happens.

  • 1
    It is understood that there are checks to prevent abuse. I was more concerned about the penalties for high-flag-weight users for whom one instance of being on the wrong side of a judgement call could have meant a substantial loss of flag weight. I know that I will be more inclined now to flag some less obvious cases where before I would have been afraid to lose flag weight and not have flagged those. Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 18:45
  • 2
    Exactly. Now users need not be as afraid to get one or two declined flags (from among many helpful flags) as they may have before. That quote probably means that only egregious cases where users have a significant proportion of declined flags and relatively few helpful flags should be dealt with.
    – Peter O.
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 18:52
  • 2
    @PeterO. correct ... the quote is talking about abusive actions, 4% decline should be ok ... 50% a disaster
    – waffles
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 22:31

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