Can we have a "reason" box just like we have "other" box which explains the moderator? The reason behind asking for such a feature is, many of the times, some answers which are flagged as "it has invalid flags" often end up being disputed or declined.

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For example, this answer was flagged as not an answer, not sure though as we have no ways to detect that I had marked invalid flag for what? Low Quality? or Not An Answer... but that ended up as disputed.

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Also in another case, this answer had flags of not an answer, so I flagged it as invalid flags, result? Disputed, again..

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Now I see no reason to mark that as disputed, answer may be wrong, but as the mods reply as should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, this answer fits that description, it's an answer, with a code, and is also formatted correctly.

So somewhere thing are going wrong according to me....

Well, I am not sure how are these flags handled, whether community decides to decline the flags, or the Mods decline, am sure it's the latter one, and I believe that judgement does vary, so won't blame the mods as well, but it would be better if one can explain the reason behind flagging as "it has invalid flags".

I do understand that marking a flag which has a flag of "not an answer", states that am marking the flags which are flagged as "not an answer" as invalid

But the system gets vague here, if I decline the "not an answer flag" as "invalid flags", the flag is either disputed or declined, and if I flag it as "not an answer", the flag sometimes decline stating that the "flags should not indicate technical inaccuracies".

Many a times I've seen users flagging posts which are often badly drafted, or the codes aren't highlighted. Instead of flagging them as "very low quality", they flag it as "not an answer", so declining these types of flags as invalid is perfect in my opinion.

So providing a reason box will really clear the flaggers view of flagging the question, whether he flagged the question because it was NOT AN ANSWER, IT WAS A REPLY TO AN EXISTING ANSWER, CODE NOT HIGHLIGHTED etc etc..

This will not only help users to close the posts with a valid reason, it will also help moderators decide easily.

  • 2
    I think all "invalid flag" flags end up at least disputed because they are in dispute with the original flag. Seems stupid by hey-ho Feb 13, 2014 at 11:04
  • @RichardTingle Not sure, though I have a counter of 101 disputed flags, ya I've high amount of accepted flags but out of this, 80% can be deemed as invalidly disputed..
    – Mr. Alien
    Feb 15, 2014 at 5:01
  • See What is a disputed flag? Feb 15, 2014 at 14:19

1 Answer 1


Normally, every "invalid flags" flag is marked as "disputed" (emphasis mine):

A disputed flag is a flag that was issued on a post that then received an "invalid flag" flag from a user with access to moderator tools. Both the original flag and the flag used to mark it as invalid will be listed as "disputed" in the respective user's flagging summary. Once a flag has been disputed, its state will not be changed by any additional action on the post.

This may seem kind of weird, but it does have some logic behind it, as explained by Jeff Atwood when this behavior was introduced:

  1. [The old behavior] pits flaggers "against" each other, which is not at all in the spirit of the thing. In order for one flagger to "win" (gain flag weight), the other has to "lose" (lose flag weight). In my view everyone who flags, with extremely rare exceptions, is making the site better and I almost never reject a flag.

  2. It's not uncommon to have flags at two different points in the post lifecycle that are both correct. That is, an answer will be (correctly) flagged as "not an answer", then the OP will go back and edit in detail to make it a better answer. Now someone (correctly) flags it as "previous flags invalid". Both flags are correct!

There's also the minor technical issue that, currently, mods can't dismiss flags individually; they can either decline all flags on a post, or mark them all as helpful. The old system included a kluge that, in effect, reversed the dismissal type for "invalid flags" flags, but that was changed so that, if any of the flags on a post are "invalid flags", then they'll all be dismissed as "disputed", which counts as neither declined nor helpful.

That said, apparently, there may still be some bugs in the system that can cause "invalid flags" flags to be sometimes marked as "helpful". (A bit perversely, this seems to mostly happen when they actually aren't, i.e. when the original flags were valid and acted upon.) That's not really supposed to happen, though, it's just an edge case that the devs haven't got around to fixing yet.

Ps. It would be kind of nice if there was an option to include a message to the mods when casting an "invalid flags" flag, although I can see how that might clutter the UI a bit too much.

As a limited work-around, if you really feel that you have something you need to inform the mods about regarding the flags on a post, you can always cast a custom "other..." flag instead of an "invalid flags" flag, and pass a message to the mods that way. The downside of this work-around is that, since, as noted above, mods can't actually dismiss flags individually, your custom flag may end up being marked as declined when it was actually helpful, or vice versa. Generally, that should not be a big deal, though — having a few random declined flags in an otherwise reasonable flagging record is basically harmless.

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