A question was posted a couple of days ago that was blatantly off topic. I do not yet have 3,000 reputation here so I am unable to vote to close a question. Instead I flagged it with the "Blatantly off-topic" reason:

Screenshot of flag reason

One minute after I flagged it, someone edited the post to make it ask for a site recommendation for where to ask the question that had originally been posted. Now, of course, the question is on topic. The question went through the close review queue and unsurprisingly got three votes to be left open. This caused my flag to be declined.

As I understand it, there is some kind of penalty for having a certain number of flags declined. It seems odd that I could possibly get into this situation by flagging a question for a perfectly valid reason which only became invalid due to a change that was made after I flagged it.

Is this ? Should I not flag posts for closure due to the concern that they might later be edited which will render my flag retroactively invalid?

Here are some screenshots just to show the timeline:

This one shows that I flagged the post at 16:52:38.

Screenshot of flag time

This one shows that the post was edited at 16:53:41.

Screenshot of revision history

This one shows the three leave open votes over the course of the next hour or so, with the final one coming at 17:59.

Screenshot of review results

And this one shows that the flag was declined at precisely 17:59, i.e. as soon as the review was completed.

Screenshot of decline time


This happens to me a lot. Just remember: it takes 5 votes to close a question for a very good reason. Nobody is perfect at closing questions. So just don't worry about occasionally having a close flag declined.

The only penalty of having a lot of declined flags is that it can decrease your daily flag limit overtime. Other than that, there's not a penalty for declined flags.

  • My concern is not for the possibility of there being a legitimate disagreement or difference of interpretation about a post. I'm okay with that. My concern is that flags can be declined because reviewers are looking at something that is a fundamentally different post from the one that was flagged. – Alex Dec 27 '18 at 3:45
  • 2
    but this is why it takes a lot of declined flags for there to be any effect. Because some declines are not because you're wrong. It's not a big deal if it's one. – Kate Gregory Dec 27 '18 at 3:47
  • @Alex it doesn't matter if it's declined even if it was originally valid. – Pika the Master of the Whales Dec 27 '18 at 3:47
  • @Davidthethird It does, because as you noted it can affect your flag limit. – Alex Dec 27 '18 at 3:48
  • @Alex it takes 10 declined flags to decrease your limit by 1. As Kate Gregory said, it takes that many because things like this can happen. – Pika the Master of the Whales Dec 27 '18 at 3:49
  • @Davidthethird It can happen ten times as well. All it takes is one Good Samaritan to rescue such questions by simply converting them into a "Where can I ask about this?" question. Granted, I don't think it is likely to happen too often, but it still seems like this is an underlying issue. – Alex Dec 27 '18 at 3:51
  • @Alex however, if you flag well, you're very likely to get more accepted flags than declined flags. While it can happen 10 times, you're likely to have gotten a lot of helpful flags by then as well. 10 helpful flags increases your daily maximum by 1. – Pika the Master of the Whales Dec 27 '18 at 3:52
  • @Davidthethird True. I agree it's not the biggest deal... – Alex Dec 27 '18 at 3:54

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