I was wondering what a good ratio of helpful flags to declined flags is.

Currently, I have raised 17 flags (on SO), all of them were deemed helpful. So it seems that I am on the right track. But what I am currently trying to figure out: Should I flag more aggressively? This might result in declined or at least disputed flags. So, in order to make the work for moderators easier, and not accidentally harder, what is a good way to go? Is raising some flags that get declined bad, or something one should accept?

Eventually some people can share their flagging experience and provide some examples of 'good' and 'bad' ratios of declined to helpful flags?

Actually, I was surprised that I could not find a topic on this already. Tried finding it with quite some search terms, but got no result.

tl;dr: is it better to flag more aggressive and also get some declined flags, or is it better just to flag posts where I am almost certain the flag will be accepted. What is the best way in order to actually help the mods?

  • If you think it needs to be flagged, then it probably needs flagged. Aug 18, 2012 at 17:11

3 Answers 3


We get hundreds of flags a day on Stack Overflow, so it's certainly a lot easier on moderators if you flag things that you're almost certain need a moderator's attention. That being said, a few declined flags won't hurt you in any way, so it's probably worth it to use a couple of your flags to try and find where the border is between helpful and declined. We'd rather see a few unhelpful flags in the dashboard every day than leave bad content on the site because people were afraid to flag. We do give you feedback when we decline a flag, so you'll know why, and you won't have to repeat the same mistake.

You can also ask here on Meta if you want more insight about why a particular flag was declined. (Reading through some of those posts will give you a good idea of what kinds of things people flagged that get declined, and the reasons why.)

  • Great to have an answer directly from a mod :D. Good to know that one gets feedback when a flag is declined.
    – Polygnome
    Aug 19, 2012 at 9:00

Don't worry about the occasional declined flag. Just learn from them. Were you wrong to flag it? Were you not clear enough? Then you'll pick up a "strategy" in no time.

Given that I don't know what you mean by "aggressive" flagging, I'm not sure I'd recommend that. Just flag anything that you think should be flagged within reason.

A couple of declined flags is not bad. Not learning from those and blindly flagging the same thing afterwards is the problem.

  • Thanks ;) If i could i'd accept both yours and Bills answers, but sadly i can't.
    – Polygnome
    Aug 19, 2012 at 8:58
  • Make that a feature request. ;)
    – Bart
    Aug 19, 2012 at 9:00

Flag weight...

...is a measure of how well a user raises flags. Users with a history of flagging helpfully — as judged by moderators who act on those flags — earn high flag weight, and vice versa.

All users start with flag weight of 100. Scores can fall to as low as 0 and rise to as high as 750...

Until Jan. 20, 2012, flag weight was displayed in users' profiles and used to award the Deputy and Marshal badges. Due to sustained community disapproval of flag weight, it was replaced in user profiles by a "number of helpful flags" count, though it continues to be used behind the scenes for ordering flags in each site's moderation queue.

For more details on this, check MSO questions tagged - there are 80+ questions as of now.

  • 4
    ssst, there is no such thing.. ;)
    – Bart
    Aug 18, 2012 at 17:13

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