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So I flagged a post on Stack Overflow. But it wasn't accepted, so I got a "disputed" in my flag stats. But my surprise 1 hour later, the question was actually put on hold. No edits or anything different, just a different person checking the flags. My question is, can I get rid of that disputed in my flag stats? as it was actually correct. And how?

disputed

  • for the "but the question was put on hold" part, see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/105391/… – Kate Gregory Dec 18 '13 at 23:12
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    This has happened much more times since I asked this question :/ We should have an automatic system that when a question is closed any previous flags change status. – Lestat Feb 26 '14 at 16:49
  • A disputed flag will never change status. It means that someone disagreed with you. If I disagree with your flag, mine is born "disputed". Think of disputed as +0, with helpful +1 and declined -1. Do not get upset about disputed flags. As for declined, the work to automatically change them to helpful when questions get closed would be horrendous - and for what? Anyway, if you want that to happen, post a new question tagged feature-request - but be prepared to back it up and justify the programming effort. – Kate Gregory Feb 26 '14 at 17:08
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tl;dr: no, a flag's status will never change once it has been set.

There are three types of flag statuses:

  1. Helpful
  2. Declined
  3. Disputed

Helpful means a mod specifically marked the flag as helpful, or the action that you were suggesting through a flag was taken by the community.

Declined means that a mod specifically declined the flag.

Disputed basically means neither happened. A mod never actually looked at the flag and declined it, but the action you suggested wasn't taken in response to the flag either. This can happen in any number of cases; certain flags are marked disputed when the post is edited; non-moderator users can choose not to act on a flag (either through the 10k tools page (which has since been removed) or through certain review queues) which disputes a flag, etc.

Note that any flag marked as "other" will be seen by a moderator, and no actions taken by any user will ever automatically resolve the flag, as such "other" flags cannot be marked as "disputed".

While having declined flags is bad, having disputed flags is...less so. They're certainly not something to be as concerned about, because it usually means someone wasn't specifically evaluating your flag, but rather performing some related action that rendered your flag "moot" in some way.

Declined flags will "count against you", but disputed flags won't; it's more like you never submitted them in the first place.

In generally I'd say don't be too too concerned. By all means look through your flags periodically; if you see declined flags then a trusted site moderator specifically felt that your flag was wrong, so you should consider reforming something. While a disputed flag might mean that you're not suggesting the proper action, it also might not. By all means look into it, but if you can see that you did the right thing (i.e. the post was later closed/deleted) then you know you're fine and move on.

Flag statuses are primarily just a form of feedback to you. So long as you know how to properly respond to similar instances in the future, everything is fine. If you have a particularly huge percentage of declined flags then you may enter the field of "flag abuse", resulting in some sort of consequences, but you'll almost never unintentionally get there. Beyond this feedback, the number isn't really used anywhere.

  • @RichardTingle In the very last paragraph I really did mean declined, not disputed. Mods tend to be a lot more concerned about flags that waste their time than on flags that get automatically resolved by the community. – Servy Dec 18 '13 at 23:21
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    @RichardTingle Ah, yes edited. – Servy Dec 18 '13 at 23:24
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    +1 for actually explaining what a "disputed" flag means; this is the first actually clear explanation I've seen of it. – Ilmari Karonen Dec 18 '13 at 23:43
  • This is happening to me a lot lately. In triage I flag a (low quality) question as unsalvageable, the other reviewers vote "should be improved", and my flag is disputed. A short time later the question is closed. I don't care about the status of the flag, but the review process is surely broken - those voting "should be improved" need to be hit with a review audit. – trooper May 2 '15 at 15:13
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    Note that the system only really looks at declined flags over the past 7 days (unless you flag < 10 times per week, at which point all you'll ever get is a warning for your most recent declined flag). See Allow recovery from flag hellban – Martijn Pieters Mar 3 '16 at 17:04
  • As it turned out in meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/361549/declined-too-broad-flag the sentence "Declined means that a mod specifically declined the flag." is not true and is confusing. Suffiecient number of reviewers will also cause the flag to be declined. – Vladimir F Jan 9 '18 at 13:25

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