[Have changed from feature-request to discussion, as my original request was shown to have flaws. Please discuss, push ideas, call me a fool, etc]

What is a "Disputed" flag outcome

A good description of the "Disputed" outcome from bjb568's answer:

When you flag an answer as NAA or VLQ and the post doesn't result in deletion but someone recommended deletion, the flag is disputed. Spam and offensive flags on posts that are rolled back are also disputed.

Why the word is misleading

The word "disputed" isn't usually used to denote a final outcome, and so users are likely to presume a final outcome to the decision on their flag is still being decided upon.

By definition it only defines "there was a dispute", and not what an outcome was. In some cases, this can be acceptable, but in Stack the outcome of flags needs to be clear.

Site: "User(s) looked at your flag and it was disputed"
Flagger: "Ok, what now...? Did they eventually decide if it was 'helpful', or not?"

It also sounds negative and gives the impression the user did something wrong when they did not, as their flag was simply "superseded" or "not used".

When a flag is raised, a possible outcome is:

  1. Helpful
  2. Declined
  3. Disputed

1 and 2 are self-explanatory, and users will pretty much expect their flag to have been one or the other.
However outcome 3 only indicates "there was a dispute", but it's not clear it's the final outcome.

So, it's not obvious a "disputed" flag is a final outcome, it's not common knowledge how a "disputed" flag occurs and nor is it made obvious via the word itself.
As such I really think the word for this outcome should be changed to something more final and universally understood.


Please suggest some.

I originally proposed "cancelled" which in essence is what happens to "disputed" flags, but "cancelled" seems like their flag was somehow useless and discarded - "we completely ditched your effort to report something but gave no indication why".

Requirements - The word needs to:

  1. Imply a final outcome; no longer active
  2. Be positive; imply the user did nothing wrong
  3. Not insinuate it was helpful or declined
  4. Portray why it's different to and was not helpful or declined
  5. Give impression it was not specifically based on their flag - i.e. imply it was not used due to a change, or inconclusive review

That is not a definitive guide, just a rough basis to work out a better word.


random suggested:
Settled and handled
Both are good, but neither fully covers (4) or (5) from the Requirements.

Doesn't really cover (2); only slightly covers (4) and (5).

Only slightly covers (2) and (4)

Arguably covers (2) and (4);


No matter what word is used (including current "disputed") it won't be "helpful" or "declined", and I think most users will logically be expecting one of the two.

They flagged, tried to help, and so their help was either "good" so all ok they got their flag count, or "bad" they can shrug their shoulders or dispute in Meta.

For example, I really like "handled", but people are going to want to know why not "helpful".

I still think we can do better than "disputed", however.

Why, James, why?

Why so much passion for such a thing?
Because every time I see it in my profile history it irks me a fair bit.
I still partially and briefly think "Wait, disputed, what was wrong with.. oh yeah".

  • 3
    You don't think "cancelled" would cause more confusion? That word is generally used in situations where something was dismissed without ever being looked at in the first place, like cancelling an order. It's an "oh, nevermind" kind of word. So then instead of "when will it be handled?" we will just have "why was my flag ignored?"
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 3:34
  • 1
    @animuson I disagree with some of that. i.e. "Cancelled" is not often something which was "never looked at" - you wouldn't "cancel" an order you'd "never looked at". And you wouldn't say "oh nevermind" if this month's wage was "cancelled" :P. But overall you're right. I just cannot think of a better word. Trouble is, anything that is not "positive" is potential for a user to visit to Meta and ask/debate etc. Even something like "obsolete" which describes the scenario better is just as problematic. "I tried to help, why was my flag obsolete". Will think of something. Cheers for the feedback
    – James
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 6:26
  • 1
    Settled or handled are in between
    – random
    Commented May 2, 2015 at 2:24
  • 1
    How about "dissolved"
    – mhlester
    Commented May 2, 2015 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


I like "Reviewed" or "Handled". "Inconclusive" also seems reasonable.

  • I agree with "inconclusive". The other two are far too vague, especially "handled", which just sounds like a synonym for "helpful".
    – user153011
    Commented May 6 at 23:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .