Just out of pure curiosity: How are flags handled?

Searching through Meta Stack Exchange and Meta Stack Overflow, I have found bits and pieces on how the flagging works and what is happening behind the scene.

As I understand, there is a voting like system behind, similar to the triage review queue. However there are cases that 'other' things are taken into consideration (Declined flags for joke comment. What should I do?). I am still searching something like documentation to understand how flags are handled.

For example, I have observed that off-topic, duplicate of and unclear what you're asking flags need more time to be handled than others like not an answer. Are there any priorities defined or the reason is the fact that the former are more subjective than the latter?

1 Answer 1


There are several types of flags and they are handled by different users:

  • Spam, offensive and abusive flags: handled by a moderator (unless the amount of flags per post reaches 6 either type; then it's removed automatically). The moderator will see the flag in a special flag queue for moderators. A moderator will determine if the post is spam by these rules. A moderator can go with the flag and give the appropriate punishment (going from the 100 reputation penalty or even account deletion / blocking);
  • Should be closed (including duplicate ones): are put in the Close Votes review queue. These are never sent to the moderator flag queue, and age away if not handled by the community;
  • Very low quality and not an answer flags: are put in the Low Quality Posts review queue if the post isn't an accepted answer. Depending on the site settings, a post is reviewed a number of times (I think the max is 5 times, depending on the number of okay's or not okay's needed). Users can vote to delete (3 votes required) or suggest deletion if they don't have 20k (4k beta, 2k private beta) rep (6 suggest-deletion votes required). After a delay, these flags are also sent to the moderator flag queue. If the post is an accepted answer, a moderator must handle them, as these are not sent to the review queue;
  • In need of moderator intervention: a moderator will handle them. How they are handled depends on the specific case present in the flag message.

Usually moderator handled flags need more time than community handled flags. Depending on the size of the site the number of reviewers might be quite low.

  • While true, you don't really explain how they are handled. E.g. moderators have their own queue, "In need of moderator intervention" usually take more time since moderator need to spend time deciding if it really deserves handling or not, review queues are handled by ordinary users with X rep, each review requires usually 2-3 users (depends on amount of flags) etc. Nov 19, 2015 at 12:50
  • @Sha updated some. Can't find all information I wanted to add. Nov 19, 2015 at 12:57
  • @nicael That 20K is different on beta sites right? Nov 19, 2015 at 13:26
  • Right, 4k and 2k for beta and private beta, this is just "trusted user" threshold.
    – nicael
    Nov 19, 2015 at 13:26

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