Sorry, if these questions are really basic, but I never really flagged anything until a few months ago, and I've still submitted less than a dozen flags. And I've just looked at my flagging summary for the first time. At the very bottom of my flagging summary I see this (as the last item):

final flagging summary item

I have a few questions about this:

  1. First and foremost, why is this here? I don't recall submitting any flags before September 2011 (and the second-to-bottom flag on the list is from September 2011 -- I remember that flag). Furthermore, the linked question (now deleted) is tagged "C++", which is a tag I never looked at until much more recently than this flag, so I don't see how I could have randomly stumbled upon this page and accidentally submitted a flag.

  2. For the sake of argument, let's say I did stumble upon this post and accidentally submit this flag (even though I have no recollection of it). Where did the language "Possible trolling? At worst, off-topic" come from? In that spot, all my other flags say "not an answer" or "very low quality", which are the options I specifically remember selecting when I submitted those flags. But the language on this one doesn't even seem to be an option in the list (unless that's what the "Other" text is -- but seeing as I never typed this maybe that's part of problem #1).

  3. Finally, to the right of the date on most of my flags I see "helpful" and for a few a see "disputed" -- I guess these terms refer to what the moderator thought of my flag? But there is nothing at all to the right of this flag. What does nothing mean? A moderator has never looked at it? (If that's the case, why would my oldest flag never have been looked at -- if anything it seems like the newer flags would be the ones that are still enqueued.)

  • 2
    3. Probably just means that it is old. The handling of flags has changed, and for very old flags you don't get a helpful/declined entry. Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 20:42
  • 4
    Are you sure you never looked at /questions?sort=newest even once? I'm inclined to say this is a bug in your memory, not in the system. :)
    – mmyers
    Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 20:46
  • Who says it was random or accidental? Do you remember the day in question? How do you know for sure you didn't just look at it because of its silly title and flag it? Ultimately, why on Earth are you concerned about a random flag from a year ago appearing on your history?
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 21:02
  • @animuson, I am trying to understand inconsistencies in the flagging summary is all. Forgot point #1, I understand memory is not infallible -- what about points #2 and #3?
    – Ben Lee
    Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 21:03
  • That's why I wrote "For the sake of argument, let's say I did stumble upon this post and accidentally submit this flag (even though I have no recollection of it)"
    – Ben Lee
    Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 21:04
  • 4
    @Ben: #2. If you select other, you can type in whatever reason you want. And the first comment already covers #3, older flags were not marked helpful/declined. There's even a message to the right of your flagging history in small text (below your stats) * older flags were not recorded helpful/declined.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Mar 9, 2012 at 21:05

2 Answers 2

  1. I suspect you added it and didn't remember, but I can try to check the DB when I'm next connected (not now)
  2. Is indeed the "other" option that accepts any custom message
  3. Flag outcomes were not always formally recorded; I suspect it simply pre-dates them. Trying to infer the outcome was hit-and-miss, so it seemed preferable not to try to invent history.

There are six different states for flags:

  • Not yet handled -- still waiting in the queue, no disposition yet:

    very low quality -- blank

  • Helpful -- a moderator inspected your flag and determined it was submitted with the general intent of being helpful. They may or may not have taken any action.

    not an answer -- helpful

  • Disputed -- either you or a fellow user reviewing the flag queue has voted "invalid flag". Presumably the disputed disposition helps the moderators decide where to focus their effort -- though I don't know if those are handled first because they're easy or handled last because they're hard. (Probably it's individual choice and whims.)

    You disputed someone else's flag:

    invalid flag -- disputed

    Someone else disputed your flag:

    very low quality -- disputed

  • Declined -- a moderator looked at your flag and not only declined to take action but also discourage similar flags in the future.

    declined - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it

  • Unknown -- the flag was made before The Stack started keeping track of helpful, declined, and disputed statuses. This should only be on older flags. (Looking through my own flagging history, the change appears to be around 11-13 April 2011.)

    not an answer -- blank

  • Spam -- spam flags get more automatic handling so the system doesn't appear to keep track of moderator feedback on spam flags:

    flagged as spam

  • There is a fourth option: Older flags are not recorded as either helpful or declined. In that case, you'll see nothing. Commented Mar 11, 2012 at 1:24
  • 1
    This should contain the aged away status as well.
    – user215114
    Commented Nov 5, 2013 at 19:49

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