I was reviewing flags and I found this answer flagged as not an answer. I disagree with the flag, so I marked the post as having invalid flags.

The outcome is

disputed - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it

If my understanding is correct, the following things happened

  • a user flagged the answer (flag 1)
  • I marked it as having invalid flags (flag 2)
  • a moderator reviewed it, and rejected flag 1
  • this has the effect of marking both flags as disputed

Clearly my flag was helpful, whereas the first one was not.

Now, I know this kind of situation is a fairly discussed topic, but I always thought the "monolithic" rejection/acceptance of flags would only cause some discrepancies and I can put up with that (even though it's really confusing).

However it looks like this is not a chance, rather a certainty: whenever I flag a post as having invalid flags and a moderator reviews the flag, it is impossible for my contribution to be marked as helpful.

Is my claim true? If yes, I find it an awful design choice, as it's basically discouraging people from reporting invalid flags.


2 Answers 2


This is working as designed.

The flag resolution of "disputed" means that the flags were neither "helpful" nor "declined".

At the moment (November 2013) when we resolve a flag, all the flags have to be resolved the same way, so that if there are any incorrect flags we have to either reward the bad flag or punish the good flag. As it's more important to punish the bad flag we will usually decline the flags.

However, there is a special case - when a flag has been marked as "invalid". In this case when we handle the flag it's simply removed from the queue and not marked as either "helpful" or "declined". While this doesn't "punish" the bad flag in quite the same way as declining the flag it also doesn't punish the good flags either.

  • Thanks for the input, so this is just badly designed as I suspected. Nov 17, 2013 at 19:43

Not impossible, per say. I believe there's still a bug where if a moderator agrees with the original flag and deletes the post, all the flags get dismissed as helpful (even though in that cade yours should be declined).

This all boils down to the fact that moderators cannot dismiss flags for different reasons. It's unfair to mark an "invalid flags " flag as helpful or declined along with the original flag since technically they should be opposites. The intermediate effect that they came up with was to just dismiss them all as disputed no matter what action a moderator takes.

This should all be fixed, though, whenever they start pushing the new flag handling mechanisms, which will allow us to dismiss flags separately.

  • So it's impossible by design (i.e. not considering bugs). Do you know when the new mechanism will be put in place? Nov 17, 2013 at 19:40
  • 6 - 8 weeks? I only know they're working on it. Hopefully soon, because I can barely contain my excitement anymore.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Nov 17, 2013 at 19:41
  • Can't wait for the 8 weeks to pass quickly! Just kidding, unfortunately... Nov 17, 2013 at 19:42

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