I have not yet had a need to click the "flag" link, and was wondering that does (I don't want to experiment with some poor, innocent post). Is it immediately flagged? Are you able to retract flags? Do you get a choice of flag categories? Are you sent to another page?

This is a follow-up to What are appropriate criteria for flagging a post as spam?

  • 3
    For what it's worth: I had similar trepidations about clicking the flag link... Commented Jul 8, 2009 at 19:13
  • 6
    Every time you click the flag link, a moderator curses under his breath.
    – Eric
    Commented Jul 8, 2009 at 19:39
  • 3
    @Eric - nah; as long as the flag is valid, we're happy...ish. Commented Jul 8, 2009 at 20:21

4 Answers 4


Here you go. Here is what you will see if you venture into the "flag" link.

enter image description here

Select, poof. Then it is gone. I don't know what comes after that (retraction, etc).

  • 2
    Thanks. And, I mustered the courage to click "flag" on your Answer just to make sure that the flag for Answers is the same for questions. It is (if anyone was wondering). And I did click "cancel."
    – Feckmore
    Commented Jul 8, 2009 at 19:10
  • Does anyone know if there is a chance to "retract" a flag, similar to the ability to retract your vote?
    – Feckmore
    Commented Jul 8, 2009 at 19:10
  • "Select, poof. Then it is gone." Unless you select "Requires Moderator attention," then you'll get a textarea too.
    – Sampson
    Commented Jul 8, 2009 at 20:27

A spam vote (like an offensive vote) is very simple; there is no retraction (or even obvious visibility). But don't panic if you do it by accident; it needs about 6 such votes before the system will automatically step in.

Before that, items with spam/offensive votes are visible to users with 10k rep, and to ♦ moderators. The ♦ moderators will check the list (which is usually empty or short) periodically and investigate. If the item is obvious spam, it'll usually be deleted. If it is a false positive (i.e. innocent), we'll clear the flag. If it is unclear, we might let it ride for a while to see if any more community members agree it is spam.

Flagging for a moderator is different; you need to give a reason, and only the ♦ moderators can see it. This is made really clear to us (a red counter at the top of every page), and we'll investigate ASAP. Assuming it is a reasonable complaint, of course ;-p

Moderator toolbar

  • 14
    You hacked Jeff's account!
    – womp
    Commented Jul 8, 2009 at 20:25
  • 1
    We need a badge for that. Commented Jul 8, 2009 at 20:31
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    No, the image is from the blog: blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/05/a-theory-of-moderation - you'll notice it is actually out of date; they revoked the sheriff-style star in favor of ♦ ; I'm not sure why... Commented Jul 8, 2009 at 20:42
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    I think it's because the star was an image (that didn't scale particularly well) whereas the ♦ is an actual character. Though I don't know why they didn't just use ★? Commented Jul 8, 2009 at 21:02

As an addendum to what rcar mentioned: Clicking on the "flag" link on both a question and an answer brings up the "Please flag with care:" dialog screencapped in his answer; however, clicking on the flag icon on a comment will simply flag the comment for moderator attention; while clicking on the "flag" link on a question or an answer is undoable, clicking on the flag icon on a comment is NOT undoable (much like upvoting a comment).

As an addendum to this addendum: I asked a question about whether or not we could get a question to be used for testing the flagging mechanism; it caused a bit of activity. You might find it useful; it's here.

  • Thanks. You answered my follow-up questions to rcar by the time I was done typing them.
    – Feckmore
    Commented Jul 8, 2009 at 19:13

Clicking the flag on a comment brings up a dialog box saying:

Really flag this comment as offensive, spam, or hate speech?

With the options of Ok and Cancel.

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