I know how it works, once a flag is issued, and an "Invalid Flag" flag gets issued against it, both flags get disputed, and do not affect flag weight. Why?

What makes the "Invalid Flag" flag be different than any other flag? What's the reasoning behind this?

From my perspective, what should happen is that if enough "Invalid Flag" flags are filed against a flag (or if a diamond deemed the "Invalid Flag" flags as correct), those flags get to be "Helpful", and the "offensive" flag should be considered "Not Helpful".

I really don't see why they are disputed.

  • 2
    Well, the problem is simply that moderators cannot act on individual flags. Their action is always applied to all the flags against a post (not including spam/offensive flags). I'm pretty sure there's already a feature request to make individual flag dismission possible.
    – slhck
    Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 17:10
  • 1
    @slhck: Isn't that different to this scenario? I thought moderators can only mark a flag as helpful or declined. It's the votes in the 10k queue which can mark a flag as disputed (which then stops it from being shown in the mod queue?)
    – Matt
    Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 17:24
  • 1
    @Matt Well, it's closely related. You can mark as helpful or declined, but since you can't choose what to decline, both flags will simply be dismissed as disputed. If one could, for example, mark the "invalid" flag as helpful that'd dismiss the other as declined automatically, or vice-versa. N.B: Disputed flags do show up in the mod queue; it could just be that with enough counter-flags they will be cleared automatically.
    – slhck
    Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 17:27
  • @slhck: Is it definitely the case that both flags will simply be dismissed as disputed? I thought in this instance the moderator could only mark both flags as helpful, or both flags as declined.
    – Matt
    Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 17:43
  • 3
    @Matt: Any time a flag has an invalid flag cast against it, both will always be dismissed as disputed, no matter what the moderator ends up doing. They don't have the option of marking both as helpful or declined in that case.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 18:14
  • 1
    The original justification was "don't pit users against each other"
    – Flexo
    Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 18:35
  • 4
    I must say, I am not comfortable with having a disputed flag more simply for the fact I disputed a flag; disputing a flag should help the moderators, and it should be considered helpful. As it is now, who wrongly uses a flag is put on the same level of who disputed the flag. I agree that who has the flag disputed should not be penalized, though.
    – apaderno
    Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 19:46
  • @Flexo: Since flag weight isn't displayed anymore, and isn't gamified like it used to be, that doesn't apply now. Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 20:18
  • @animuson: Thanks :). That's cleared it allllllll up :P.
    – Matt
    Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 20:58
  • This is exactly why I've stopped raising invalid flags.
    – Jack
    Commented Jan 29, 2013 at 6:35

1 Answer 1


When you select "Invalid flag" in the flag dialog, you are essentially invalidating a flag raised from another user, not raising a new flag. Then, as far as I recall from the last time I handled a disputed flag as moderator, moderators cannot mark as helpful a disputed flag; they can only dismiss it without giving a reason.

The "Invalid flag" option was introduced to take off the burden of handling the flags from the moderators. Letting the moderators choose if the invalidated flag was really helpful would mean to give them a task the option was trying to remove.

I am not sure it is really necessary, but it could be possible to increase the number of helpful flags for the users who use the "Invalid flag" option when two (or three) users mark a flag as invalid. For the users that got their flags disputed, the number of helpful flags would not change; they would get a disputed flag more.

  • 2
    The way I understand it is that we're not invalidating a flag from another user, we're just adding our own flag. The invalid flag, from what I understand, is no different than if I added my very low quality flag to your not an answer flag, and a moderator declined it. Both flags would be declined? I've never dealt with an invalid flag as a moderator, so perhaps my understanding is flawed....
    – jmort253
    Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 20:53
  • 1
    An invalid flag is not shown as another flag: It is shown as a note to an existing flag. It is different from another flag added to an already existing flag, or the same flag added from two different users.
    – apaderno
    Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 21:07
  • Good to know. Thanks for the explanation.
    – jmort253
    Commented Jan 6, 2013 at 0:15
  • So do I understand it correctly that "helpful/disputed" texts have no value at all with "invalid flag" ?
    – yo'
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 20:01
  • @tohecz Yes, that is correct.
    – apaderno
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 20:13

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