I've read multiple questions that have been posted over the past several months regarding disputed flags, but I don't think I understand the goal of this behavior.

Here a a question that I flagged. The question was closed. My flag is disputed.


It appears to me that in this particular case, my flag was indicating that the question was of low quality, but the question was closed for not being a real question. It seems that we want to encourage users to flag questions that are of irreparably low quality or are even deemed not a real question.

I'm not questioning the wisdom of the SO collective, I'm just trying to understand.

  • I think it means that while one moderator agreed, another disagreed with your flag.
    – Linuxios
    Mar 9, 2013 at 15:13
  • 2
    @Linuxios: It means that at least one 10k user disagreed with your flag (regardless of what the diamond mods thought) Mar 9, 2013 at 15:14
  • 1
    A "disputed" flag means that (at least) one 10K+ user saw your flag in the 10K tools and disagreed with it. Sometimes the disagreer is right, sometimes the original flagger. No big deal. A "declined" flag is no big deal either, but somewhat more serious: a moderator disagreed with your flag. Mar 9, 2013 at 15:15
  • Yes, I already read that question and it's answers. However, I don't understand what I should have done differently. Is it that I should have flagged it as "Not a real question" instead of "low quality"? Mar 9, 2013 at 15:23

2 Answers 2


Disputed means only that at least one 10k+ user disagreed with your flag, nothing more. You can safely ignore whether your flags are disputed, it doesn't provide you with any reliable information. Even if the rest of the community or a moderator agrees with you, as long as only one 10k+ user had disagreed, the flag will be marked as disputed.

I've argued to change this behaviour, as the current one is useless and rather confusing most of the time.


See What is a disputed flag? and Why are the moderators being so strict with quality related flags recently?

The Very Low Quality is for posts that cannot be fixed at all. The one you gave could conceivably be fixed if the OP was asked to add some data--thus is Not A Real Question and eligible for reopening if the OP edits stuff in.

Use the VLQ flag only if you feel that a post (which isn't spam or Not An Answer) deserves outright deletion and is unsalvageable.

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