In related to, but not only because of declination of my flag ([Note2]) I wonder if moderators shouldn't be pushed to select/write in the reason why they declined the flag. This would give users feedback and it would reduce repeated mistakes in flaging.
Once more, to avoid cofusion:

  1. Are the moderators pushed to give reasons of flag declination?
  2. Can users see the flag declination reason?[note1]

Note1: For both declined flags I see *a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it * which is useless.
Note2: Check if any values in array are equal to each other duplicate of older Check if all values in array are the same and having even the same response

  • 3
    Actually, those are not duplicates; one is asking about any matches; the other asking about all matches. The answers happen to mention a common function, but their use is different. Feb 16, 2013 at 0:41
  • That's the canned reason. The individual response would have been "A moderator looked at both questions and found they are different." They are similar, but not duplicates. Feb 16, 2013 at 0:41
  • Seems I shouldn't have specified the questions at the first place. But you are right, I did not notice that slight difference. But, what I find as advantage of having theese questions linked as duplicate is the rality that users may look on both of them and get even more information about the topic. But this is not duplicate of course. Feb 16, 2013 at 0:44
  • 3
    In response to your quasi-feature-request, it would be nice to have the moderators explain each decision (or at least each decline) individually, but there are just way too many flags for that to be feasible. Feb 16, 2013 at 0:47
  • That is why I think there should be some selection for individual flags. I must admit for duplicate flag this is very straightforward. They either are or are not duplicate. And this fact, on the ather side, may become subject of long discussion. Feb 16, 2013 at 0:55
  • 1
    I also think it would be nice if the moderators could give more thorough explanations for flag declines, and I'm sure they would be happy to if flags were rare. But there are so many flags going through the system, I think that would put a really unreasonable burden upon them.
    – Ben Lee
    Feb 16, 2013 at 1:05
  • 2
    As a point of reference, we averaged ~1900 flags a day for the last month between 14 or so active moderators. Writing a personalized message for each would be impractical, and most cases are handled by the three common rejection reasons. I even have a list of supplemental rejection reasons I copy and paste into "other" responses for common reasons that aren't on the last of three we start with. I do write custom messages where I think reasons for rejection wouldn't be immediately obvious, or where I want to try to teach something. Unfortunately, very few people actually read rejection reasons. Feb 16, 2013 at 1:37
  • Your flag was declined because (sing along, everybody!) nobody likes you, everybody hates you, and I guess you'd better go and eat worms!
    – user1228
    Feb 16, 2013 at 20:11
  • Also, with duplicate flags, do they rise to the level that a mod really needs to step in? The community has all the tools they need to handle 75% of all dupes on their own. Save that flag for users reposting their questions.
    – user1228
    Feb 16, 2013 at 20:12
  • Also also, please don't flag questions as offensive unless they are offensive (re: my first comment above). If a user asks how to violate someone's TOS, that does not require an offensive flag. Just downvote, vote to close as too localized, etc.
    – user1228
    Feb 16, 2013 at 20:16
  • Got it. I will flag it as too chatty. :) Feb 16, 2013 at 20:20

2 Answers 2

  1. Are the moderators pushed to give reasons of flag declination?
  2. Can users see the flag declination reason?[note1]

Yes. Moderators must choose a decline reason when declining a flag; here are the options:

  • flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer
  • a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it
  • flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention

In addition, a moderator may choose to enter a custom decline reason, but in most cases, the above three decline reasons are sufficient, especially given the number of flags SO gets.

And yes, you do see the decline reason in your flags page.


To be perfectly honest, we'll probably be rolling these flags into review and out of the mod queue fairly shortly, and you'll be less likely to get personalized responses to duplicate flags. There are a tremendous number of these every day, and they're both time-consuming and error-prone. The best folks to evaluate duplicates are the folks asking and answering questions in the relevant tags, not moderators.

If you want feedback, post a comment with the link before you flag. This is more helpful to the asker anyway, and if you're wrong it provides a way for anyone who cares to respond and explain why. When you get close privileges, the system will post these comments for you anyway*, so no harm in getting used to it early.

*we should probably do the same for dup-flags.

  • 5
    Looking forward to seeing duplicate flags be handled by more users. Those are always tricky, given the breadth of knowledge required to make a call on all the ones we see sitting in the queue. Feb 16, 2013 at 1:44
  • @brad they already go the review queues. Feb 16, 2013 at 3:43
  • @shog9 What exactly is the advantage of this over the current system? Afaict flags push posts to the queues already. Mods can filter flags by type (which I suspect the SO mods already do). I like having these flags in the mod queues, personally :) Feb 16, 2013 at 3:46
  • @Manishearth you don't have 100-odd "possible duplicate" flags sitting in your queue right now, I take it.
    – user1228
    Feb 16, 2013 at 20:14

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