If Community ♦ flags something for low quality or because of consecutive closed questions or whatever, I always have to click that the flag was helpful (or declined):

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To my understanding, it doesn't make a difference. So, why ask in the first place?

  • Hm, it is two buttons, I wasn't counting "no further action..." Makes much more sense now. Damn muscle memory, I was handling flags as we were discussing this on my (long gone) answer, and it really felt like one single motion.
    – yannis
    Sep 26, 2012 at 16:23
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    They do have merit if you choose to let those flags stick around without handling them, i.e. for other mods to see, and it's just one click more to mark them as helpful instead of just being able to dismiss them. But still, they are nagging.
    – slhck
    Sep 26, 2012 at 16:33
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    I decline them when they're not useful, my rationale is that sometimes they'll use my feedback to tune the community flagging... a man can dream
    – juan
    Sep 26, 2012 at 19:11
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1 Answer 1


The community user automatically flags posts that seem suspicious. All you are doing is giving feedback on the automatic process.

  • Sometimes a a "possible vandalism" flag is raised when a user is simply going through their old posts updating information or correcting spelling mistakes.
  • Some times a "too many comments" flag will be raised when a totally valid and on-topic discussions is happening between a few users.

There is nothing wrong with these events and the auto-flag should be declined or disputed. If lots of people are marking these auto-flags as declined or not helpful, the team might want to tweak the thresholds.

  • 2
    There is no guidance from SE on how to judge these automatic flags (e.g. I personally just always declare them helpful). I'd strongly suspect the data is completely useless, even if the team wanted to take a look at it. And as far as I know, they haven't used the data so far for anything. Sep 26, 2012 at 14:24
  • If people are automatically marking them as helpful regardless then yes - the data would be useless. However what ever guidance is lacking, I doubt the recommendation is to mark them all as helpful.
    – Lix
    Sep 26, 2012 at 14:26
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    Well, actually what I interpreted as guidance was SE saying they don't use the data. So why should I bother doing anything when they're not looking anyway. Sep 26, 2012 at 14:27
  • @Lix Do these flags appear to 10Kers? I was under the impression they are mod only.
    – yannis
    Sep 26, 2012 at 14:45
  • @yan - I do not believe 10Kers can see such flags, but the concept of auto flagging is familiar. I can't give feedback specifically on the community user's raised flags, but I can review automatically flagged posts which AFAIK don't differ too much...
    – Lix
    Sep 26, 2012 at 14:48
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    99% of the flags are declined (by me, depending on flag type) and in conversations with SE, they do not use this feedback. If it was being used as feedback, or they had plans for its use, then I'd gladly endure it, but as it stands now, it's a worthless nag dialog in this case.
    – casperOne
    Sep 26, 2012 at 14:52
  • @Lix Thanks. Wasn't really asking to see whether you have experience handling these flags, just to see how many people a change in the dialog would affect. Mods are awesome, but we are a very tiny minority and we can certainly live with a few UI elements that are just re-using existing functionality without being 100% right. Your answer makes sense, but SE doesn't really use the stats (at least they haven't told us about it), and I strongly suspect they are just reusing a good enough UI element here.
    – yannis
    Sep 26, 2012 at 14:52
  • I seem to recall a comment or two from someone one the Team (perhaps Jeff?) that said they do use the helpful/declined data on Community flags to help tweak/validate the algorithm...but my search-fu is failing me.
    – ale
    Sep 26, 2012 at 14:53
  • @Lix I don't remember if I was a 10K, or a 20K user, but I did see those automatic flags. I think I also asked a question about what I should do when I see those automatic flags about consecutive closed questions.
    – apaderno
    Sep 26, 2012 at 19:41
  • @Lix This is the question. At the time I asked it, I was a 10K user on MSO.
    – apaderno
    Sep 26, 2012 at 19:45

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