In this question, Duopixel gave me a lot of very useful feedback, much of which I used to improve my answer.

I have been flagged as helpful a couple of times by other users, but I'm not sure how to flag people myself; so far as I can tell, I can only flag their comments as unconstructive or worse. I'm obviously missing something here; have I misunderstood what "helpful" flags are for, do I need more reputation, or is it something else entirely?

(If no other avenues exist for me to reward him, I might just check out some of his other answers and upvote my favourite ones.)

Update: Thanks all, it seems that I misunderstood the flags system. I was under the impression that I had been flagged as being helpful, but it was actually my own flags (i.e. for moderator attention) were deemed helpful. You use a flag to indicate that there is a problem, and that flag is helpful if you make a good call.

  • Are you referring to the upvote next to a comment?
    – user176326
    Aug 6, 2012 at 23:56
  • 1
    do you mean you had a "helpful flag"?
    – aaazalea
    Aug 7, 2012 at 0:00
  • @simchona Specifically, I'm referring to the "helpful" flags I've seen on occasion, e.g.: stackoverflow.com/users/flag-summary/230390 Aug 7, 2012 at 0:02
  • @Jake223 Exactly that. :) Aug 7, 2012 at 0:03
  • 1
    that is when a moderator marks a flag you put on a post (needs moderator attention, etc.) as helpful.
    – aaazalea
    Aug 7, 2012 at 0:07
  • @Jake223 Thanks—so apparently what I'm missing is that the helpful flags are for moderators to reward good edit suggestions, not for regular users. Aug 7, 2012 at 0:10
  • 4
    You've got it all wrong. Flags are for flagging bad content. When a moderator sees your flag, if he agrees you've identified a problem, he marks the flag as "helpful". Helpful flags indicate bad/problematic content or users, not helpful users. Don't flag good things. Flag bad things.
    – user229044
    Aug 7, 2012 at 0:22
  • @meagar Thank you, I was under the mistaken impression that I had been flagged helpful, not that my own flags had been deemed helpful. :) Aug 7, 2012 at 9:19

3 Answers 3


You can't flag a person as helpful or unhelpful; you can flag comments, answers, or questions for a variety of offenses (off-topic, rude, etc.) and those flags may be judged helpful by the moderator who fields them; or you can upvote comments, although that doesn't really help anybody (has no affect on a user's reputation, although extremely-upvoted comments can earn a user a badge or two.)

Furthermore, if you make an edit suggestion, and someone improves upon it before approving it, they have the option of judging your suggestion as helpful or not.

But there's no way to pass judgement on a user themselves, either positively or negatively. If you appreciate the contribution a user has made to your questions, then upvote and accept their answers -- that's about all you can do.

  • Thanks Ernest. I'll leave the question open until tomorrow evening in case anyone has different ideas, but your answer matches what seems to be the case so far. (To clarify, he was very helpful in improving my answer, not my question, thus why I wondered if I could do a little more!) Aug 7, 2012 at 0:08
  • 4
    @JordanGray - Ernest pretty much hit the nail on the head. There isn't much you can do here except pay it forward. If you see someone else who needs help, help them! :) Good luck!
    – jmort253
    Aug 7, 2012 at 2:14

If you found comments helpful, vote them up with the arrow to their left:

enter image description here

Otherwise, Ernest's answer has you covered. Flagging is for getting the attention of moderators when something is wrong.


A "helpful flag" in your flag summary is when a moderator marks a flag you put on a post (needs moderator attention, etc.) as helpful.

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