Question (since closed and deleted): Cyrus beck line algorithm program in c or c++. I know about the specific meaning of VLQ flags, and I can't fathom why anyone would think that question wouldn't be a candidate for removal.

Question text, for posterity:

Hey I want a Cyrus beck line algorithm program in c or c++. I have searched a lot but hadn't got anything over Web..!!

If anyone of you have Program please give it to me and help me out.

Thank you in advance :)

I find Anders UP's answer not compelling because it requires me to accept the premise that this question was not "unlikely to be salvageable".

  • 4
    This question was around for 10 hours before I noticed it and then took over an hour and a half to close. Shame on you SO! Shame on you! I think this qualifies as VLQ... Sep 29, 2013 at 21:41
  • For context: the post was many hours old and had only one close vote when I flagged it. Given how poorly the close queue seems to work in this case, I would flag it again, if only to bring it to the attention of another 3000+ rep user. Sep 30, 2013 at 0:10

2 Answers 2


Going over Meta it should be clear that VLQ flags are not an exact science and seem to have many borderline cases where one mod will accept what another will decline.

In this case, I guess it was declined because, presumably, a fairly simple edit, suggested by the the reason used for putting the question on hold ("Off-topic --> must demonstrate a minimal understanding of the problem being solved" ) would make it salvageable: If the OP actually found the algorithm or a description of it and showed how he tried to implement it. Or if he found a description of the algorithm and asked for help in understanding it, he could then be guided towards Programmers or CS.

It is likely it would still not be a good question, but it could be on topic or closer to it - and VLQ is just one step below spam as is said in the post you reference yourself:

The VLQ flag now carries a downvote from community. It is like "spam flag lite", meaning, no reputation penalty but like spam, it incurs a downvote from the community user.

Also, I think that if VLQ applied to the question you flagged, it would apply to some 75% of all closed questions on the site, which would render the reason useless. In this case, the OP is soliciting for code without having tried anything - it is then better to provide him the most accurate reason when it exists; something he can presumably fix in order to get the question reopened.

See also this answer for an example of a question that I think matches the one in your case. Quoting from the linked answer by RGraham:

This question isn't "very low quality" because it doesn't have any formatting or content problems as such - it's just a terrible format for Stack Overflow and very unclear what they are asking. Someone from the community would probably vote to close this as either "off-topic" or "unclear what you're asking" instead.

And here and here is a moderator's take on this:

Put another way, if I'm not comfortable outright deleting a post, I'm going to decline the VLQ flag.

And Atwood's definition:

Not just bad but embarrassingly bad.

  • It is my understanding that VLQ flags corroborating legitimate close votes should be resolved as helpful, then again, maybe things have changed since last time I checked. Sep 29, 2013 at 21:32
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    @FrédéricHamidi IMO, VLQ doesn't mean "should be closed". VLQ effectively means "this needs to be deleted ASAP". Not all closed questions needs to be deleted. So just being closed shouldn't automatically mark the flag as "helpful" Sep 29, 2013 at 21:34
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    @psubsee2003, I do think that question should be deleted (ASAP or not), and voted so. Do you really think that specific question should be left around, even closed? We already have a bazillion or two like that. Sep 29, 2013 at 21:37
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    @Anders, Hey I want a Cyrus beck line algorithm program in c or c++. I have searched a lot but hadn't got anything over Web..!! qualifies for Not just bad but embarrassingly bad IMHO. Maybe I've become too strict in my older years, though. Sep 29, 2013 at 21:39
  • @FrédéricHamidi While you wrote this, I amended my answer - I know what you mean, but as I write, if we use VLQ for something where a 'smaller', more accurate flag can apply then we might as well stop providing reasons for closure/on hold.
    – user213634
    Sep 29, 2013 at 21:44
  • @FrédéricHamidi It is a bad question, but I agree with Anders. It is not embarrassingly bad. It does not have content problems, it is just off topic. Sep 29, 2013 at 21:49
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    @Anders, we're in agreement here and the questioner indeed has enough reputation to vote to close instead of flag, then again I thought such a flag was still supposed to be resolved as helpful. Redundancy might have been key here if the questioner also voted to close, though. Sep 29, 2013 at 21:50
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    @FrédéricHamidi since flag weight (even the hidden version) is 100% and completely gone, mods have stopped being "nice" and started handling flags appropriately. You are right, under the old guidelines, this flag would have likely been marked as helpful, but since the flag was not correct, it was declined. Sep 29, 2013 at 22:24
  • "if VLQ applied to the question you flagged, it would apply to some 75% of all closed questions" I disagree, because unlike most questions, it's not clear what effort the questioner could have demonstrated to save this question from a minimal effort close. Sep 29, 2013 at 23:13
  • @DavidEisenstat He could have added code he had implemented and was struggling with. I'm not saying the question wasn't bad - but the VLQ is essentially a Delete this, now to the mods. And if the above qualified for that, I doubt they would have time for anything else. Remember that this question would be deleted anyway after going through the normal process of On-hold --> Not improved --> Closedwith some downvotes thrown in the mix.
    – user213634
    Sep 29, 2013 at 23:41
  • That's a completely different question. Sep 30, 2013 at 0:03
  • Is it your position that the VLQ flag is to be reserved for bad questions that (i) aren't spam (ii) have so little intelligible content that it's not possible to fix or decide on a close reason? If so, it would be nice if the flag explanation were worded differently. Sep 30, 2013 at 0:12
  • @DavidEisenstat In a sense, yes. The sites have a closure process that was recently amended to include On Hold partly because direct closure is unfriendly towards new users. As I understand it, the VLQ flag is a request for moderators to bypass the normal procedure and just delete the question. Also, there are loads of questions like this - this is not to say that they should stay or even survive, but they are within the normal flow of the site and would be closed/deleted faster if the Close Vote queue wasn't so backed up. If the mods were to handle all these posts, they could do nothing else.
    – user213634
    Sep 30, 2013 at 8:24
  • @DavidEisenstat Take a look at this, this, this, this and this. Most, if not all, could be VLQ in the broadest interpretation, but that simply would not fly. So we have to flag/close them more accurately and then let them expire as I expect most of them will. And then hope somebody fixes the Close Vote queue.
    – user213634
    Sep 30, 2013 at 8:32

Very Low Quality flags are mainly for severe formatting (or content) problems which make the thread not salvageable.

I was going to say that maybe the question you've cited would fit more under:

off-topic (asking for code without showing any effort)

and indeed it was already closed with this reason, now.

Not sure if this is a strong reason to reject the flag, though.

  • 4
    Very Low Quality flags are not for formatting. Formatting is something that can be fixed, usually in no time.
    – Ry-
    Sep 29, 2013 at 23:18
  • 1
    Most formatting problems can be comprehended, even if it takes looking at the Markdown to do that. Anyways, the criteria are “can’t fix this, ever” and “should be gone now”.
    – Ry-
    Sep 29, 2013 at 23:28
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    @minitech, I edited the answer in an attempt to make it clearer. VQL excerpt states "formatting" and it exists to cover situations where formatting is not salvageable. Sep 30, 2013 at 0:11

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