Yesterday, I flagged https://stackoverflow.com/q/15679525/2147039 as "not a real question" because the question was not in proper quality.

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The flag has been declined by a moderator; however, the question has been closed by other users for the same reason.

I haven't flagged that question as spam/offensive; why did the moderator give that reason for declining a flag?

  • 11
    AFAIK, moderators can only validate or decline all flags on a post together. They cannot be handled individually. It looks like somebody else marked it as offensive. And the moderator who declined it was responding to that flag.
    – Mysticial
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 5:18
  • 5
    Shouldn't that be fixed to prevent well-intentioned users from feeling spurned by a mod?
    – jmac
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 8:16
  • @jmac, but that will add more work in flag handling for moderator.
    – Raynold
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 8:20
  • 1
    It's a tradeoff. I have no idea how often this happens. If the work added to moderators prevents other more important user-impacting things to happen, it shouldn't be implemented (or a less work-impacting way of mitigating the problem could be brainstormed).
    – jmac
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 8:52

1 Answer 1


When moderators process flags, they can only validate or decline all the flags on the same post together. That is, the flags either all get validated, or they all get declined.

That becomes a problem when some flags are valid while others are not.

In your case, it's clear that another user flagged the question as offensive. (which is invalid) But your flag as NARQ is valid.

Apparently, the moderator decided to decline the flags and leave feedback for the red-flagger to not misuse the red flags in the future. You just got caught in the cross-fire.

Update: Moderators now have the ability to handle flags individually, so a situation like this should never occur.

  • 2
    so there may be possibility that other users like me, who flagged the question same, got the same declined flag with same reason, please correct me if i am wrong.
    – Raynold
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 5:52
  • Yes. But I'm not a moderator so I can't tell if there's anyone else.
    – Mysticial
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 5:53
  • 4
    @Raynold Mysticial is right here; there was an 'offensive' flag on that post, which was rejected. That message and rejection was really meant for them. Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 5:54
  • @AndrewBarber, thanks for the confirmation.
    – Raynold
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 5:55
  • 3
    Feels weird to have answered a moderator question without actually being a moderator...
    – Mysticial
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 6:18
  • 2
    @Mysticial, being an active member on MSO makes you think like moderator. Your knowledge guess was 99% accurate. It doesnt matter that you are mod or not.
    – Lucifer
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 6:58
  • 2
    @Lucifer You are absolutely correct, of course. But it's still nice to have an absolute confirmation. It's always possible some other thing was happening. Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 7:34

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