I’m still a long way from being able to cast close votes on SO (my rep is around 40% of the required amount). When I see something that looks wrong I generally flag it (usually as not a real question, duplicate, or needs to be somewhere else).

I get the impression that my flag weight is relatively high (around 557). Does this mean that I’m flagging too often or is it ok to flag whenever something seems like it’s in the wrong place? Should I instead be ignoring the questions and assuming that close/delete votes will be cast by members with sufficient rep?

If I am doing the right thing, then what’s the appropriate action when I do eventually get to the point where I can cast close votes? Do you just vote to close, or vote to close and flag, or is this a nonsense question that will make sense when I get there?

3 Answers 3


You have excellent flag weight, enough to earn you the silver Deputy badge. This means that when you've flagged a post, the moderator who viewed your flag felt that your flag was valid, and the moderator most likely took some sort of action.

The action could be as simple as leaving a comment on the post or as serious as deleting the post and suspending the user.

When you finally earn enough reputation to vote to close, some of the flagging options will disappear. For instance, you will no longer be able to specifically flag a question as being off-topic, since you can communicate this through a close vote. The moderators have tools that show them posts that have close votes so that, like flags, they can intervene and use a binding close vote, if necessary.

In short, if you're flagging a lot of off-topic questions now, you'll be voting to close them once you reach the reputation threshold. Once you have close votes, flagging is reserved for the really serious issues, not just the ones that can wait for 4 more 3k users.

  • 1
    Thanks, this was a really useful insight into how the system progresses.
    – forsvarir
    Apr 20, 2011 at 20:55

With that flag weight you seem to be doing it right :). I believe that when you get enough rep to close if you flag and have close votes left the flag is treated as a vote to close. I would vote to close unless the question needs urgent attention. You can always flag later if you feel that it is not getting enough attention to be closed and a mod will take care of it if necessary.

  • I don't believe the flag is treated as a vote to close. That wouldn't really make sense; otherwise, why would we have close votes if flagging did the same thing?
    – jmort253
    Apr 20, 2011 at 9:03
  • @jmort253 Take a look at ChrisF's answer to this question meta.stackexchange.com/questions/83861/…. If you looked at my last link I linked the wrong answer.
    – Belinda
    Apr 20, 2011 at 10:03

One thing... Please don't flag as dupe unless it is an exact 100% duplicate which suggests something else is going on.

Also, don't flag for low quality if the question can be edited to fix the issue. Just edit (or suggest an edit).

Other than that, full speed ahead.

  • 2
    That was two things.
    – user27414
    Apr 20, 2011 at 14:32
  • @status-declined: Wow, you can count. I, however, can't. And proud of it.
    – user1228
    Apr 20, 2011 at 14:34
  • Flagging duplicates is something I've been questioning a bit recently anyway, after a recent question where the answer to the OPs problem was a duplicate, but they didn't know how to identify their real problem, so there was some addditional value in the comments on the post. It's certainly something to think about.
    – forsvarir
    Apr 20, 2011 at 21:00
  • "exact 100%" - hm as far as I can tell the idea that duplication is expected to be perfect has been officially dismissed since Changes to “close as duplicate” (part deux): ...No argument about how exact an "exact duplicate" needs to be...
    – gnat
    Sep 17, 2013 at 11:56
  • @gnat: No, what I meant was that mods don't need to be involved in duplicate handling unless it is something odd. What is something odd? Normally, that would be a single user posting the same question twice (100% dupe) or two different users posting the same question (100% dupe again). Those are situations out of the ordinary that require a mod to step in (user ignoring the community holding a question, user accidentally reposting, user with multiple accounts, etc). All other dupe deciding is based on technical merit, something mods shouldn't use their powers for.
    – user1228
    Sep 17, 2013 at 13:26
  • "mods don't need to be involved in duplicate handling" -- well but after recent changes, they are not: "flags to close a question are no longer shown in the moderator only queue". With all due respect, that seems to make explanation in your answer double-obsolete so to speak (can't downvote twice sorry)
    – gnat
    Sep 17, 2013 at 13:36
  • @gnat: I guess they got rid of custom flags as well? And that change only confirms that I'm right. So nyah.
    – user1228
    Sep 17, 2013 at 14:18
  • since when "flag as dupe" mentioned in the answer qualifies as "custom" flag?
    – gnat
    Sep 17, 2013 at 14:23
  • @gnat: Whenever someone uses the "other" flag to let mods know that a question is a technical dupe of another. Are you seriously arguing this? I've had a fair amount of experience in this area. Been there, seen that flag hundreds of times.
    – user1228
    Sep 17, 2013 at 14:25
  • I have a suspicion that amount of your experience is not that fair when it comes to how it looks like for lower rep users. Anyway, I logged into site where I have mere 146 rep (my experience isn't fair, I admit) and checked how dupe-flagging dialog looks like for them: i.stack.imgur.com/QNl1v.png (I am flagging this question because -> it is a duplicate...)
    – gnat
    Sep 17, 2013 at 15:14

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