As a moderator I occasionally encounter a custom flag "in need of moderator intervention" with a request to re-open a closed question. I am generally reluctant to unilaterally override the decision of the close voters and re-open the question. However, the practice of flagging for a moderator to re-open a question is recommended in the help center (H/T @Monica Cellio) and here on Meta. The help center on every site says:
- Flag the question for moderator attention. Again, explain why it should be reopened. There is more than one moderator, and moderators do reconsider their decisions.
And here are some example posts on Meta recommending the practice:
Once you've [edited and fixed the question], then you should flag the post for moderator attention to get it re-opened or bring the issue here to Meta, hoping to elicit the votes of 4 more community members.
Closed questions can and should be edited to improve them and address the reasons why they were closed in the first place. Once this is done you might need to either flag the question for moderator attention or raise a meta question to bring it to everyone's attention so it can get the necessary views that might translate into reopen votes.
You could flag the post with a custom reason to get a moderator to look at but this is not the preferred method to gain attention to your post.
I think the use of custom flags for this reason is a bad practice, though (which the last quote above hints at). For one, it doesn't put the question in the re-open review queue where it belongs. Furthermore, if I'm unfamiliar with the subject matter of the question then the close voters are probably better suited than me to judge whether the question should be open or closed. It's possible that none of the site moderators are familiar with the subject so waiting for another moderator to handle the flag doesn't always work.
How should I handle such flags in the case where I'm not sure whether to leave the question closed or re-open it?
- Should I mark the flag helpful or decline it?
- Should I actually re-open the question if I think the question should be re-opened, even if I'm not sure?
- What, if any, moderator feedback should I provide the flagger? Tell the flagger to ask for re-open votes on the meta site? Should I discourage the flagger from raising such flags in the future?
My instinct is to mark the flag as helpful (because it is a recommended practice) but decline to re-open the question unless I'm sure the question was wrongly closed. I usually instruct the flagger to petition for re-opening the question on the meta site. Is this the recommended practice for moderators?