I recently came across this "answer" from march 10, 2011, where a mod has added a comment reading :

This should be a new question, not an answer. Also, if you indent your code four spaces, it will display formatted.

As I believed that the general idea was that non-answers should be deleted, I flagged it for deletion as "not an answer". However, in my flag report I have now a line :

-1 Implementing nsIProtocolHandler with Delphi not an answer –

Joris Meys 12 mins ago

♦ Added Comment, Edit Body

I understand that this indicates the earlier action undertaken by the mod, but I wonder :

  1. why the answer wasn't deleted in the first place
  2. if this indication will prevent other mods from checking the post

It might be that moderators get more info on this than we do, but I wonder if it would be feasible to add a date of action to the indication.

  • 1
    Your flag is nothing related with previous edit (one month ago) by moderator. – YOU Apr 14 '11 at 13:56
  • @YOU I see that, but I can't see why the question wasn't deleted. I reckon the mod left it there for a while and forgot about it. Or there were different rules then compared to now? It would be deleted right away if flagged now and not edited before. – Joris Meys Apr 14 '11 at 13:59
  • Well, if there is nobody reported about that is not an answer at that time, he probably won't choose his decision alone, because that could attract some extra claims. – YOU Apr 14 '11 at 14:01

why the answer wasn't deleted in the first place

The comment I left was 8 minutes after the "answer" was posted, and the user had just joined SO that day. I didn't delete it right away so I wouldn't scare the user off. It's deleted now.

if this indication will prevent other mods from checking the post

No, we'll still look at flags on posts that other moderators have looked at and commented on. We can see the timestamp of when a moderator looked at a post. In cases like this where I commented a month ago, it's perfectly okay (I'd even say encouraged) to reflag it to remind us to follow up.

  • Thx for the answer, I was thinking something in those lines already. But it's always nice to be reassured. – Joris Meys Apr 14 '11 at 14:33
  • 1
    @Joris: No problem. I used to look through my old comments and clean up posts like this, but things have been rather busy lately. You can probably get some easy flag weight points right now if you search for comments like the one above. :) – Bill the Lizard Apr 14 '11 at 14:43

The history of a post is not necessarily an indication of the present need for changes. The fact it may have been dealt with in the past does not, for example, indicate that it was flagged for the same reasons that you may have flagged it. So it may not truly qualify as "dealt with", as what you want to have dealt with might differ.

There is also no guarantee that you'll necessarily agree with the decision that a moderator concluded with in the past. Specifically, times change, policies change, and there may be reason to revisit a post that was previously addressed under different circumstances.

On the moderator end, any post that was previously flagged that ends up flagged again also drudges back up all of the old flags, so we do indeed get more information. On the user end, I think the fact that a flag has already been dealt with doesn't necessarily mean anything if the user still has a problem. In scenarios where something gets repeatedly invalid flagged, I've seen moderators simply leave comments explaining why no action was being taken.

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