Just a simple question. I flagged this question as low-quality because thats what it is. I do not need to elaborate and call it off-topic or anything. However my flag was declined. May i know the reasoning?

This was the reason for my flag being declined "declined - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it" https://stackoverflow.com/questions/19448441/remove-javascript-from-pdf-in-java

  • Possibly it should have been flagged under "unclear what you're asking" Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 11:27
  • 1
    @RichardTingle, Maybe, but the quality of the question is bad, its propbably doesn't even belong on SO and will be eventually deleted.
    – MarsOne
    Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 11:29
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    all close reasons but duplicate are "on the path to deletion" Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 11:30
  • If you see the reason the mod gave sounds wierder than my reason to flag it... Sorry but true
    – MarsOne
    Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 11:30
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    thats a standard response and basically means "stop using this flag for this" in this context Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 11:31
  • Also, see this - specifically VLQ essentially meaning This content should not exist. Delete it. Now. It is not salvageable through editing.
    – user213634
    Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 11:33
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    Exactly my point. So did i flag it wrongly? Because i flagged a similar question 2 mins back as VLQ and that flag was accepted. SO why the ambiquity? stackoverflow.com/questions/19448352/…
    – MarsOne
    Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 11:35
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    Some people are simply more generous with the rules, "Unclear what you're asking" is the correct flag Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 11:36

2 Answers 2


That question seems like either "Unclear what you're asking" and such a flag would have likely been upheld or now "off-topic because you need a minimal understanding of the problem" because there is no attempt from the OP to solve the problem.

It is important to remember that different flags go to different people so it's important to get it right, an "off-topic because" flag goes to >3K users; the largest pool of users who answer flags - as such it is the least "weight" on the system and the desirable flag in this case. Additionally this question could conceivably be edited to clarify it, so belongs "on the road to deletion" rather than being deleted outright.

I would flag absolute nonsense as Very Low Quality; things which could never be salvaged and should be deleted right now are VLQ flag worthy.

As George Stoker says within his highly related answer

When you're flagging a post as Very Low Quality, it's as if you're saying the following:

This content should not exist. Delete it. Now. 
It is not salvageable through editing.
  • 1
    Sounds fair. However i would still argue that the question is borderline "VLQ". Thanks for your opinion.
    – MarsOne
    Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 11:36
  • The VLQ flag from the OP was declined. I didn't decline it, but I would have, given my answer here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/189362/… Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 11:54
  • It's not "unclear what you're asking" because a plain english read of the question let's you know what they're asking -- I don't have to infer anything from it. It's poorly formatted and it's not researched, but it is salvagable through editing. Remaining closed as "off-topic because you need a minimal understanding of the problem" seems appropriate here. Regardless, it's closed, and the OP can choose whether or not to improve their question. Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 11:57
  • @GeorgeStocker The question makes a lot more sense now after your edit Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 12:01
  • @GeorgeStocker, Sorry if i did not bother to look at the duplicate question. Was just miffed at my flag being declined at a -10 rated question. Anyways, I got to learn something new that a VLQ flag goes to the Mod's directly. Did not know this
    – MarsOne
    Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 12:04
  • @marsone no worries. Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 14:30
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    @MarsOne - Looking at this some more, there was a spam flag on that question at the same time as your very low quality one. I bet what happened was that the spam flag was declined, which triggered your flag being declined at the same time. We can't yet decline these individually, but I hear that's coming. The moderator who declined the spam flag may not have even seen your flag at the time they acted on the spam flag. Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 15:35

The mods themselves are not 100% in line as to what is and what isn't VLQ, as you can also see from this and this and their related discussions.

I think the main point is that strictly speaking, a VLQ flag is only one notch better than a spam-flag. So you could say it is to be reserved for those question where absolutely no real effort has been made, and you cannot tell whether the OP really has a question in the text somewhere.

Also, I think the thought process, when you consider flagging as VLQ is to be whether this question is so bad that you don't want to give the OP a chance to improve it. The process with putting the question On-hold for a few days and then only closing and subsequently deleting it is to give users a chance to improve and was instituted specifically

to better convey that questions can be improved and re-opened.

In contrast, the VLQ flag is interpreted as:

This content should not exist. Delete it. Now. It is not salvageable through editing.

The example you provide in your question and the other example in a comment both have a question in them. ("Remove javascript from pdf" and "Create rectangle when I push a button", respectively.) They are lousy questions and they should be closed and deleted if not improved, but they are questions.

  • A very recent example of a VLQ here on Meta is this - or one edition of it. I can't see it anymore, as it has been removed but if any 10k'er would find it to be a relevant example, feel free to edit it into my answer.
    – user213634
    Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 11:47
  • Thanks for your thoughts. I agree. An example would be nice
    – MarsOne
    Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 11:49

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