I made this flag on this post

7 copies; self-promotional: https://stackoverflow.com/a/13182703/237838

I also left a comment to the user explaining what I thought was wrong with the series of posts. (I'm going to link this from there, as well)

An additional bit of related information: I had also (accidentally) flagged this same post as Spam. (this information turns out to be important; see the comments/answer below)

But a mod denied the flag. (the "no evidence" reason)

My issue was that the exact same code was posted 7 times in short order with a link to the same blog post (with no disclosure of authorship), with minimal explanatory text. I figured that was enough to trigger a delete.

Apparently, I was wrong! I would like to know how I went wrong there. One thing that pops into my mind is that in trying to keep the flag text short, I did not specify that it was the code that was copied; the very brief explanation was not. I did not think the explanations were enough to 'tailor' each answer to the questions; it just seemed to amount to, "here's an example for you".

The code example covers too much for each of the questions, basically, in trying to be so broad that it covers them all. (and of course, the lack of disclosure of blog authorship in most of them)

I'm also asking because I've been seeing this happen a bit lately, and been loathe to flag them because the results of flagging them has seemed to me to not always be consistent (understandably so; there are grey areas here, and humans are involved!)

The basic pattern being someone seeking to promote their blog post by posting numerous answers that amount to a link to their post and a bunch of copy-pasted content. In general, these posts are not tailored for the questions they are posted on at all, and they tend to gloss over or outright ignore the requirement to disclose authorship.

Some guidance for the future would be useful, then!

  • 28
    According to the record, I declined that flag, but I never even saw it. I think what happened was that a spam flag came in on that same answer and I didn't immediately see what was spammy about it, so I declined that. You must have filed your more detailed flag at the same time, and it got declined along with the spam flag. I think it was just a matter of bad timing. I need to look into the larger issue you point out, now that I see your extended links. Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 20:49
  • @BradLarson The spam flag was mine, as well; it was an accident, out of habit. I wasn't even 100% sure I'd actually submitted it! (though yes, it does show in my flagging history, too) So, that sounds like what may have happened! Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 20:50
  • 3
    One option is to see the link to the OP's blog as a tagline (even though it's not at the end of the post) and edit it out. I do that sometimes.
    – Bo Persson
    Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 20:52
  • 1
    @AndrewBarber - Yeah, sorry about that. We tend to move quickly on spam flags, because they sit at the top of the queue, and unless the spam is pretty obvious I lean toward declining those if there's any redeeming value in the post. The custom flag provides the context that I lacked when I saw that. Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 20:52
  • @BoPersson Yeah; I had been wondering about that... when I see a useful post with a spammish link like that, I sometimes do that, too. (I'd considered that here, but then saw the multiples). Especially considering this user is not generally a spammer at all. Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 20:54
  • 22
    @AndrewBarber One of the worst ideas SE ever had is that multiple flags on the same post can't be handled differently. You'll either have to decline all of them, or mark them as helpful.
    – yannis
    Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 20:54
  • @YannisRizos I recall seeing mentions of that here, now. Not being a mod, it didn't occur to me how something like this could be caused as a result! I know I try to be careful what kind of flag I use, to make it easiest on the mods as possible, but some users might not know enough and could cause this accidentally, therefore. Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 20:56
  • 2
    After looking at these, I'm still not sure how to act on them. I think the answerer means well, and they are trying to post solutions, but they've shotgunned these across questions that ask different things. Their blog post is short enough that it could be included in the answers themselves, so that could be suggested to them. I might need someone a little more familiar with Android debugging to help determine if any of these aren't appropriate for the questions they're on. These are tricky cases, which is why you might have seen some inconsistent responses to previous flags like this. Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 21:46
  • @BradLarson Understood. I appreciate the second look, though (and will be more careful about accidentally flagging the wrong way, first! d'oh!) Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 21:47
  • 5
    @BradLarson Suggestion: Edit one of his answers in a way that clearly discloses the fact it's his blog he's quoting (easy example: The following code is from my blog), and then post a comment inviting him to do the same in the rest of his answers and explaining that the community generally frowns upon self promotion and his answers were getting flagged as they can easily be confused for self promotion. Obviously anyone can post that comment, but this might be a case where the diamond speaks a little bit louder than the comment itself.
    – yannis
    Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 22:24
  • 1
    @Brad It appears some of those answers may have been through a review queue because they have started to collect up votes. Can those be reversed?
    – slugster
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 1:36
  • 1
    @YannisRizos "multiple flags on the same post can't be handled differently" - if I understand correctly, related feature request is: Dismiss flags on the same posts with different validities
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 5:45
  • @gnat Already upvoted... ;)
    – yannis
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 5:49
  • 1
    @YannisRizos have you upvoted this one as well? ;) Don't automatically dismiss custom flags (containing a comment from a user)
    – gnat
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 7:46
  • @gnat Of course I have (I subscribe to all [moderator-*] tag feeds).
    – yannis
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 10:34

1 Answer 1


Be prepared that information you intend to communicate via comments in custom ("Other") flag may be lost in case if flagged post somehow gets another, non-custom flag. If non-custom flag is handled (doesn't really matter declined or accepted), your "other" flag will be dealt with automatically, without moderator attention.

Per explanation given by moderator, this is exactly what happened in this case.

According to the record, I declined that flag, but I never even saw it. I think what happened was that a spam flag came in on that same answer and I didn't immediately see what was spammy about it, so I declined that. You must have filed your more detailed flag at the same time, and it got declined along with the spam flag...

Root cause for issues like that is a design glitch addressed in this feature request:

While mentioned feature is not implemented, if you want to make sure that issues you report are dealt with, your only option as a flagger is to track how your custom messages are handled and, if you notice that these were lost, re-flag or report at meta.

  • 2
    Also: While most times we prefer to err on the side of dismissing flags as helpful, spam flags are an exception (as they might lead to a -100 rep penalty). If the other flag is an (incorrect) spam flag, you don't really have much choice. But that's extremely rare, and although it happened here it was accidental.
    – yannis
    Commented Nov 2, 2012 at 12:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .