I flagged a post on Stack Overflow, but as it wasn't accepted, I got a "disputed" in my flag stats. But to my surprise, the question was actually put on hold an hour later. 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?


  • for the "but the question was put on hold" part, see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/105391/… Commented Dec 18, 2013 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.
    – Daahrien
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 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. Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 17:08

1 Answer 1


tl;dr: no, other than spam and rude/abusive flags, a flag's status will never change once it is no longer "active".

Flag status types

There are six different flag statuses:

  1. Active
  2. Helpful
  3. Declined
  4. Disputed
  5. Retracted
  6. Aged away


The flag has been raised, but not yet handled by a moderator, the community, or the system.


Helpful means a mod specifically marked the flag as helpful, or the general action implied by the flag was taken by a mod, the community, or automatically by the system.


Declined, generally, means that a mod specifically declined the flag. In some cases, a flag can also be declined by actions by the community in the review queues.


Disputed basically means neither happened. Other than spam or rude/abusive flags, a mod never took specific action on the flag and likely never looked at the flag, 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.

For spam and rude/abusive flags, "disputed" means that a moderator specifically "cleared" all spam and rude/abusive flags on the post. When a moderator does this, the state of all spam and rude/abusive flags on the post is set to "disputed", regardless of the flag's prior status.


The user who raised the flag has retracted it.

Aged away

The flag has expired due to the passage of time. This is most commonly seen for close or reopen flags. Some other types of flags used to be able to age away, but the system has been changed such that other types of flags no longer age away.

General information

Note that any flag as "In need of moderator intervention" will be seen by a moderator, and no actions taken by any user will ever automatically resolve the flag, as such "In need of moderator intervention" 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
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 23:21
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    @RichardTingle Ah, yes edited.
    – Servy
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 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. Commented Dec 18, 2013 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
    Commented May 2, 2015 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 Commented Mar 3, 2016 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. Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 13:25

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