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The description of the Melpomene hat reads: "participate in successfully closing or deleting a question".

I've found that it is awarded generously: you don't have to have be able to cast close votes or delete votes, it is enough if you flagged a question that is later put On Hold.

However, it is not awarded for flagging spam.
At first I thought that maybe spam was removed so fast and permanently from the system that it is gone before the Winterbash hat-awarding script runs.
But there was a spam post on WebApps.SE that lasted for 30 minutes before it was gone, and I didn't get the Melpomene hat for that.

So the question is - is this by design? Does flagging spam not count for this hat?

For the record, I don't mind not getting it on WebApps.SE. I've got it on enough other sites. I'm just curious.

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I think this is by design, since 6 spam flags trigger automatic process which lock the spam post then deletes it, with the Community account serving as the executioner.

So yes, you took part, but this is special case, like rollbacks are not counted towards the Timey Wimey hat. (Final outcome of a rollback is edit, but still - a special kind of edit.)

I believe that if a moderator will manually approve a spam flag, this will cause the hat to be awarded.

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