I try to pride myself on being fair and efficient when raising flags on SO and am trying to keep as high of a ratio for helpful:disputed(and now declined) flags as possible. I raised one today for a question as "off topic". It states that a moderator declined the flag, but then the question was closed as "off topic". How can a flag be declined, but the question closed for the exact reason that the flag was raised for?

  • What was the reason given for the flag being declined? Also, what was the question? – Servy Apr 18 '13 at 14:03
  • @Servy here is the reason "declined - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it " – TronicZomB Apr 18 '13 at 14:03
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    Sounds like the mod felt the question was on topic, but some members of the community disagreed and felt it was off topic. Such things happen. It's also possible it was a mis-click of the mod. – Servy Apr 18 '13 at 14:04
  • and here is the question: stackoverflow.com/questions/16083866/… – TronicZomB Apr 18 '13 at 14:04
  • Ohh.. Ok thanks @Servy. I was just highly confused by the judgement in this situation. I could have agreed with the few disputed flags I had in the past, seeing that I was still learning, but this one just got me. – TronicZomB Apr 18 '13 at 14:07
  • HAve a look in the Related sidebar --------------> for possible explanations – AakashM Apr 18 '13 at 14:10
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    Please be aware that Mods can only approve or dispute all flags on the given item at once. – Time Traveling Bobby Apr 18 '13 at 14:11
  • @SulfurizedDemonbobby ok, so if there is one flag that they do not agree with on the post and decline it, then all flags are declined at the same time? – TronicZomB Apr 18 '13 at 14:13
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    Yep, exactly. If there was a spam flag (for example) and it would be declined, that would also decline any valid flags. – Bart Apr 18 '13 at 14:15
  • Ok I guess that makes a lot more sense then. I did not know that and thank you for telling me that @Bart. – TronicZomB Apr 18 '13 at 14:16
  • Thanks to everyone for the explanations. – TronicZomB Apr 18 '13 at 14:19

Someone else had thrown an Offensive flag on the same post for some reason. Since the moderator who processed that flag didn't agree, he declined it and your (correct) flag was declined at the same time. Sorry about the confusion this causes, but declining invalid Offensive flags is a high priority.

See also: Why are the moderators being so strict with quality related flags recently?

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    Thank you for that. I can totally agree to that then. It was not in any way offensive and now knowing that to decline one flag requires all the flags to be declined, that really makes sense. – TronicZomB Apr 18 '13 at 14:19
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    @TronicZomB The good news is flag system is being reworked, and we'll probably get the ability to dismiss flags with different validities when it's done. So this might soon be a problem of the past (but don't quote me on that). – yannis Apr 18 '13 at 14:51
  • @Yannis Thats great if that feature is worked in. We can only hope for now though... Thanks for that info too. – TronicZomB Apr 18 '13 at 14:55
  • as far as I can tell, feature request to get rid of the collateral declines issue is: Dismiss flags on the same posts with different validities – gnat Apr 18 '13 at 16:13

It could mean the moderator who reviewed your flag thought it was an acceptable question, while another moderator and two other users thought the question was off-topic.

Generally, users mark as useful a flag that allowed to discover a problematic post. Since Stack Overflow has many flags to handle, it can happen a flag is dismissed as declined, or a moderator gives a quick look at the post and thinks it is fine.

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