I came across a question that didn't meet the guidelines for the site it was posted on. On the site, questions that are based on typos or problems that cannot be reproduced are considered out of scope. As such, I flagged the question as "Question is a typo". My "Needs improvement" flag couldn't be submitted, so this was the only way I could flag the question for closure.

However, I got a message the following day saying: "Declined - flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention".

The question was later closed for the reason I flagged it as, so it seems my flag was correct.

Why was this flag declined in this case?


1 Answer 1


As a moderator, I would have chosen a different rejection reason:

Using standard flags helps us prioritize problems and resolve them faster. Please familiarize yourself with the list of standard flags: see What is Flagging?

Using a standard 'recommend closure' flag makes a question entering the Close votes review queue, where regular users with close voting privileges sort them out. ♦ moderators are not needed in this process, but they are the (only) processors of custom flags. In that way, the rejection reason you got makes sense too.

As @CodyGray pointed out, the question was already closed when you submitted the flag. You might not have been able to see that, so that's not your fault, but if you had tried to use a standard flag, it would not have been possible to submit it. But it does explain the rejection reason: the question was closed, so there was nothing to do for the moderator.

  • As far as I know these are the only reasons in which a close vote can be started: Duplicate, A community-specific reason, Needs details or clarity, Needs more focus and Opinion-based. And there's only one flag about typo. Whether you resoning is correct or not it is far from the descriptions and options in stackoverflow flags.
    – André
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 8:50
  • 2
    @André Flag -> "Needs improvement" -> "A community-specific reason" -> "Not reproducible..." Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 8:54
  • 2
    Maybe the What is flagging help page should explicitly say that the in need of moderator intervention custom flag should only be used as a last resort, when none of the other flag types cover the current situation. It's easy for users to get the impression that mods see all flags because they're told "please flag it and bring it to the attention of the site moderators!"
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 9:49
  • 2
    And maybe the flagging dialogues themselves could make that info explicit. Not everyone reads the Help pages, or remembers the fine details. ;) Eg, the different flag categories could be marked as Automatic, Community, or Moderator flags.
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 9:53
  • The comment from Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog is the reason I asked this question in the first place. That's exactly the flag I raised.
    – André
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 11:15
  • 1
    @André no, that's not possible. ♦ moderators cannot decline such flags with that reason. Anyway, I feel there's room to improve the guidance, and you won't be punished for a single or even three of those 'wrong' flags.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 11:18
  • 5
    The moderator who declined the flag picked the reason that they did because the question was already closed at the time the flag was raised. The flag (a custom flag saying, "Question is a typo.") was raised on 2023-03-07 at 12:32:57Z; the question was closed by 3 community members on 2023-03-07 at 12:27:50Z. Had the question not been closed at the time the flag was raised, then I'm sure that the mod who declined the flag would have used the reason you suggest using. Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 11:28
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    @CodyGray thanks for providing those details. That's five minutes - it might be that the question wasn't closed when they started to flag, or that the page didn't update (though in the latter case, I've seen something like "The question has been closed since you last loaded the page - please refresh" when clicking the Flag link).
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 11:40

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