Many older questions and answers here on Meta discuss or mention an "invalid flag" flag, often in the context of the "10k flag queue". However, right now, there's no such flag, and there's no such queue. What is the context of these posts? (In other words, what were these flags and this queue about, back when they existed, and how did they work?)

  • 1
    I'm moving to leave this open as this is a much newer question whose answer describes the historical context in detail, especially to new users who joined SE long after the feature in question was removed. The answer on the other question doesn't really help describe it to them. Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 16:16
  • @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog I don't care if this is opened or closed. I resent having a post from years earlier being marked as a duplicate of this one. Particularly a post that is a vestige of the downvoted misery of hell that meta used to be. If the site wants people to feel welcome, they better make the people who struggled with this site even years ago feel welcome now.
    – user310756
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 16:27
  • @YvetteColomb I am sorry if my VTC on the other question made you feel unwelcome. I wasn't even paying attention to who posted it or when - I had shared Sonic's view that this question was more comprehensive and thus deserved to be the dupe target. Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 16:42
  • 1
    @RobertColumbia thanks for that comment. It was feeling unwelcome all these years ago and I'm shocked at how sharp it is. It makes me more aware of how horrible so many people still feel on our sites. It's probably a good thing to remember that and strive to make people feel OK, rather than worthless.
    – user310756
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 16:44
  • @YvetteColomb thanks. If I may ask, could you share a little about what happened to you all those years ago? I wasn't even around here in 2013 and don't really have the context. Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 16:49
  • 1
    @RobertColumbia I first joined the site some years ago - I was on the site for about a year before I ever posted. I really struggled to understand the meta culture - the humour and what was expected of me. I struggled to find meta duplicates and soon it became a war whenever I posted. I was trying to fit in. My posts were downvoted. There was the inevitable back and forth and I would end up exploding a lot. I also tried to say I didn't think the site was very nice and was difficult to fit it. Well that went down like a lead balloon. Suffice to say it unravelled into a war. ../1
    – user310756
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 16:53
  • 1
    I also tried to address the falling numbers of women in programming - actually enrolling and that also went very badly. A lot of what I posted was misconstrued and I ended up rage quitting and there was a whole bunch of angst that was so destructive on both sides. I didn't want to leave the site - even though people often told me to - because it was the goto site for programmers and a vital source of information. I didn't think it was fair that if you didn't understand the nuances of the site you couldn't participate on meta. So I left for a while, but I came back. .../2
    – user310756
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 16:56
  • 1
    under an anonymous account (this one) and pretended to be a bloke. Kept a generic username and avatar. Then chose a man's name, eventually used a reversed pic of Gregory Peck - then became a horse, then revealed I was a woman, then revealed it was me. I worked hard at improving my explosions... got my account re-associated and worked hard to become a mod. That was hard at first. When the site admitted to being exclusive - I almost had a breakdown, as it was such a relief after fighting for so many years, I kinda collapsed. .../3
    – user310756
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 16:58
  • Ironically, after all these years, I've developed a deep affection for our MSO community and seem to understand people and advocate well for them. It's bizarre. I couldn't connect to the community at all. And now, I'm well aware of our faults, but you notice it's OUR, I'm part of the us of our meta community - this is MSO - MSE is a different beast. So that's kinda it. I'll grab you a link. hang on. The link had been deleted. Another time. End. @RobertColumbia
    – user310756
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 17:00
  • 1
    @Yvette thanks. I remember that I opposed your run for SO mod because of the attitude I read in some of your MSO posts. The concerns you raised were valid and even important, but I really didn't appreciate that you seemed to be promoting a Name, Blame, and Shame the Oppressors solution rather than one that worked to reduce inequality at a more fundamental level. Anyway, I'm glad things worked out and that you are still around. Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 17:49
  • This is not a duplicate because the older question merits closure as no longer reproducible and this one (obviously) doesn't.
    – pppery
    Commented Sep 9, 2019 at 21:42

1 Answer 1


In an older version of the flagging system, flags were handled by two main queues. The diamond moderators, obviously, could see and act on flags at will; that's one of the main jobs of being a diamond moderator. However, users with sufficiently high (10,000) reputation could also see many sorts of flags, but had only a lesser ability to act on them.

The privileges available at 10k reputation were (and still are) sufficient to do many community moderation tasks; for example, the ability to delete questions could usefully be used in response to valid flags on the question. Even lesser privileges could be very helpful: raising additional flags on a particularly problematic post would prioritise the post within the moderator queue. However, most of the community moderation abilities are intended for content that needs to be changed in some way.

As such, if a flag was nonsensical or invalid, a separate method was needed (and thus provided) for a 10k user to help in the flagging process; they could flag a flag as invalid (here's a question discussing when to do that). This was, at the time, the method via which a flag became disputed. Disputing a flag had no direct impact on the flag or the post, but a moderator reviewing the flag would be aware that there was a disagreement.

The 10k flag queue was considered problematic, so the moderation end of the flagging system was changed fairly comprehensively in April 2014. Instead of going into a 10k flag queue, flags that can potentially be handled without diamond moderator powers (such as "not an answer" flags and "very low quality" flags) now send a post into a review queue, with the 10k queue no longer existing (the rules for diamond moderators didn't change; they can still see and act on flags if they wish); and instead of being marked disputed when receiving an "invalid flag" flag, flags will instead be marked disputed when an action is performed that contradicts the flag (for example, a "Looks OK" review outcome in the Low Quality Posts review queue will dispute a "very low quality" flag, as the actions take entirely opposed viewpoints on the post). As a result, "invalid flag" flags no longer exist, and posts discussing them are typically of historical interest only.

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