I recently flagged a question as "very low quality", just like I've flagged many questions in the past. However, my flag was found to be unhelpful this time. The same thing happened when I recently flagged a post as not an answer.

Are the moderators being more strict when it comes to handling quality related flags? If so, why?

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  • 2
    Are we using this as a duplicate target for the majority of the "Why was my flag declined?" questions that show up here?
    – animuson StaffMod
    Dec 29, 2012 at 2:33
  • @animuson For the majority, yes. If there's merit to a user's complaint on how a flag was handled, it's best to leave it open until it can be reviewed. That's why I wrote this.
    – user50049
    Dec 29, 2012 at 2:34
  • 1
    I'm glad this is getting done. The idea of accepting flags even if the reason is wrong because the flag did point to a problem always threw me off. How do I know I am making quality flags if they marked as helpful by default. Dec 29, 2012 at 10:49
  • 6
    As a reminder, just because something appears in the "Low Quality Posts" review queue, that doesn't mean you should automatically flag it as low quality. We've seen a number of people doing this lately, and all it does is clutter up the flag queue. Try to help us out by taking a little extra time to read posts through, and only flag things that really do need our attention. Dec 29, 2012 at 17:37
  • I just made the finding that moderators are absolutely not strict with these according to the reactions on Is this Behavior Lazy Moderator Attitude?
    – hakre
    May 1, 2013 at 19:51

1 Answer 1


Are we taking a stricter approach to evaluating quality flags?

Yes, we're taking a more 'letter of the law' approach to dealing with quality related flags in order to help reviewers better hone their moderation skills. Previously, most of the moderators were inclined to validate a flag even if it didn't exactly apply, but still pointed us to problematic content.

As flagged (and ultimately deleted) posts are now being used as tests to help reviewers take appropriate actions, we need to ensure that validated flags are, in fact, spot on when it comes to Spam, Very Low Quality and Not An Answer.

Is this the new normal?

For the foreseeable future, yes. The system has to be able to trust the accuracy of quality related flags that we validate.

Well, what flag should I have used? The thing I flagged was smelly!

You can view the reason a flag was declined on your flag summary page. We try to be as helpful to you as we can when declining, but you'll often see that we just found no evidence to support your flag. This is extremely likely if you used a spam flag to describe a post that contained no blatant advertisements, hate speech or anything else remotely offensive.

Each quality related flag available to you displays a short synopsis explaining what it is designed to indicate. Please be sure you've found a match prior to raising the flag.

I'm now unsure what or how to flag, what do I do?

If you feel that there's a problem with a post, and you're not quite sure which flag applies, use the 'other' reason and explain what you see wrong with it and that you're not quite sure which category applies.

Additionally, you can ask the opinion of other users in chat.

I've read this, but I still want to dispute how a flag was handled.

You can raise the issue, but handled flags can't be 'un-handled'. The best thing to do is flag the post again as 'other' and let us know what we might have missed. Still, if you're able to see why your flag might have been declined, please keep in mind why accuracy is currently so critical. It's nothing personal and we do appreciate your help.

You're a bunch of smelly, crooked invalidating politician greasemonkeys!

We love you too.

  • 4
    @AustinHenley - You can always edit an answer to make it better - especially if "better" means removing rants and noise.
    – KatieK
    Dec 29, 2012 at 4:44
  • given that post does not mention link-only-answers I assume that nothing has changed in the way how flags on these are dealt with, right? To avoid misunderstanding, I neither complain nor request for anything here, merely checking whether to update flagger's guide to link only answers or not.
    – gnat
    Dec 29, 2012 at 12:46
  • 1
    @gnat That's still accurate. Scrutiny has increased a bit, but I don't see any need to update it. Most of the 'bad' flags are people running queries or searches for 'I was having the same problem', not realizing a small percentage of what they flagged actually contained a valid answer.
    – user50049
    Dec 29, 2012 at 12:56
  • I see, thanks. As far as I understand the change is primarily motivated by review-audits - would it make sense to re-tag the question to reflect that? (I'd do that myself, but it already has all tags filled and I can not figure which one would be OK to replace)
    – gnat
    Dec 29, 2012 at 13:15
  • 1
    I'll whack 'moderators' out of there an put that one in @gnat, good call.
    – user50049
    Dec 29, 2012 at 13:18
  • Recommending an other flag for confused flaggers is… wrong. It'll just be declined without much thot.
    – bjb568
    Jan 20, 2016 at 20:57
  • approach laid out here is wrong and harmful. Audits should follow moderator judgement and not the other way 'round.
    – gnat
    Mar 2, 2016 at 14:45

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