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If a post has a low quality score flag on it, it's automatically dismissed as helpful if a user edits it, which results in an automatic Community downvote. I understand (kind of) adding a downvote if a moderator marks the flag helpful, but it seems bad to downvote the post at the exact instant somebody edited it to fix the problems that resulted in the flag in the first place. Either the edit should dismiss the flag and not cause a downvote, or the flag should stay around until a moderator has looked at it, regardless of post activity.

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The system will now revoke the automatic downvote if, after the flag is marked Helpful, the post later gets an upvote.

Remember, the automatic downvote essentially exists because folks use this flag in cases where they should be downvoting. As such, it serves an important role... But should still be considered weak compared to actually downvoting the post in cases where there is conflicting information.

A situation where the post isn't actually deleted (either because the post was edited or because it was simply undeleted) and goes on to attract positive feedback is clearly a situation where the flag itself is weak signal, and it no longer makes sense for the system to impose an automatic downvote.

I think this serves to address both the scenario you've identified and also the scenario where a VLQ flag results in deletion via /review/low-quality which is later overridden by the post's author, trusted users, or a moderator.

  • 4
    Clever fix, since I usually end up upvoting the post immediately afterward – Michael Mrozek Sep 16 '15 at 16:39
  • 1
    What if someone flagged on purpose, the post was edited, and then there were, suddenly, 2 downvotes? – EKons Jul 22 '16 at 13:01
  • Kinda sounds like you've already figured out the "what if" there, @ΈρικΚωνσταντόπουλος... – Shog9 Aug 3 '16 at 19:13
  • @Shog9 That... can... hurt... fr... – EKons Aug 3 '16 at 19:14
  • Huh, I never even knew this feature existed. Hmm... does this mean one could effectively cast a double downvote by first downvoting normally and then flagging the post and editing it? – Ilmari Karonen Dec 6 '17 at 18:24
  • Yes, that's been true for years @IlmariKaronen (you can do the same with spam flags but those tend to get declined which revokes the vote immediately). – Shog9 Dec 6 '17 at 19:55
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Personally, I think the edit action should dismiss the flag as disputed, which is actually what it did for a long time and I thought it still did. I was never able to figure out when the change actually took place though.

There are other questions on Meta (one from August 2012 and another from August 2013) that suggest very low quality flags did get dismissed as disputed, and for quite a length of time from the looks of it. I'm not just imagining this. I don't understand why it was changed away from that.

It really doesn't make sense to dismiss these as helpful. A very low quality flag in itself is saying this post is not salvageable. Yet by editing, I'm saying it is salvageable - look, I'm salvaging it right now! I realize that it's prone to abuse by users who are just editing to dismiss the flags but: a) A user never knows their own post has been flagged as low quality, so they'd just be editing as a guess that they might have one and b) dismissing these as helpful doesn't really damage the user abusing this method anyways. So they got a downvote, so what? The flag is still dismissed, which means if it really is low quality, it won't get deleted like it should. So really we're only punishing the people making legitimate edits.

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    I looked this up, because I couldn't recall either; the change was made July 23rd, 2013 - given the time period, this was likely done as part of the change that added these flags to the LQ review queue. That automatic downvote made a good deal of sense for a long time, but we've made some pretty substantial changes in the year since then - in particular, most of these flags aren't handled by moderators anymore - so perhaps it's time to revisit this behavior. – Shog9 Jul 22 '14 at 2:12
  • Actually, on DA, I am still handing low quality flags. Sometimes I edit the post to make it clear; sometimes, I mark the flag as useful. Do I get something changed after 2014, or does it happen because DA is a small site? – kiamlaluno Dec 2 '17 at 13:18

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