The flag queue lists automatically-detected duplicate answers.

According to Duplicate answers (not questions) and other questions on MSO, there is nothing wrong with such duplicate answers—except insofar as they are potentially indicative of a duplicate question.

So, having verified that the answers do not merit a flag for any other reason (and having flagged the questions as duplicates if appropriate: although if that was the purpose of this exercise, shouldn't the system have raised automatic flags on the questions instead?), how should one respond to these flags?

It seems that the only option is to flag for moderator attention, either:

  • because "I do not agree with the existing flags on this answer, they are incorrect and should be ignored." (invalid flag), even though I do agree that the answers are indeed duplicates; or

  • for a custom reason.

Neither of the above really feel very appropriate. Perhaps if the flag was instead "suspected spam" (or similar) it would be easier to flag as being invalid?

1 Answer 1


We appreciate you looking into them, especially if you have knowledge of the applicable tags. Disagree with the flag if you feel as if the questions are reasonably different, but answerable in the same way.

You can also add an 'other' flag to one of the answers to indicate anything else you think would help us as we look into it. Are the questions involved pretty much identical and good candidates for a clean merge? If so, which question is the best incarnation in your opinion? This is information that helps us process this type of flag quickly, and more importantly, accurately.

Of course, if the duplicate answers are obvious link only or spammy, there's no need to spend much time on them. Still, counter flags are extremely helpful to us in the cases where the automated flag is just noise. It's definitely one of the more time consuming flags to process.

  • So you'd prefer that moderators realise the questions are identical and do the close/merge themselves? Previously I've just been voting to close as duplicates and marking the flag invalid... Dec 15, 2013 at 20:31
  • @Duncan Only moderators can merge, so you have to get them involved at least at that point if a merge is required. If the answers to a question are sufficiently different that they wouldn't really make sense after a merge, then you can just vote to close instead. Your best judgement is fine.
    – user50049
    Dec 16, 2013 at 4:39
  • So if I've handled the situation without needing moderator input, should I mark the flag as invalid to make it go away? Dec 16, 2013 at 8:55
  • @Duncan No, you want to make sure other users with close privileges also see it and can take action if they feel it's necessary. Remember, close vote flags don't usually go into the moderator queue (but 'other' flags do, which are often associated with duplicate flags).
    – user50049
    Dec 16, 2013 at 9:43

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