In my flagging summary under the statistics, there is 1 flag listed as "disputed".

This is the first time I've ever seen a disputed flag in my summary, so I'm just curious, what is a disputed flag? How would you even dispute a flag? Is this the same as voting a flag as invalid?

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1 Answer 1


A disputed flag is whenever your flag was dismissed as neither helpful nor declined, or that your flag was reviewed but no conclusive action was taken. This is intended for use in cases where the validity of a flag is ambiguous.

Currently, the following scenarios result in a flag being disputed:

  • An active spam or "rude or abusive" flag was cleared (but not declined) by a moderator. These flags are unique in that marking them as helpful can impose lasting penalties on the post and its author, so a special mechanism is provided for borderline flags to be cleared without penalizing the author or the flagger. This can also be done retroactively on already-dismissed flags, if a moderator clears all such flags on the post (both active and dismissed flags).
  • A "not an answer" or "very low quality" flag was active on the post while it was being reviewed the Low quality posts or Low quality answers review queue, and the final result of the review was "Looks OK".

Sites with the Triage review queue only:

  • A recommend closure flag was active on the question while it was in the Triage review queue, and the result of the review was "Looks OK" or "Needs community edit".
  • A spam, "rude or abusive", or "very low quality" flag was active on the question while it was in the Triage review queue, and the result of the review was "Needs community edit".

Disputed flags are considered neither helpful nor declined, regardless of the action taken in response to them. They do not affect a user's daily flag count and don't count toward flag bans.

Note that in most cases, moderators cannot manually mark a flag as disputed (except in the above first case of clearing spam or "rude or abusive" flags), so borderline flags that are manually reviewed by a moderator will generally be marked helpful or declined per the moderator's discretion.

See also: What is the difference between disputed and declined flags?

  • 14
    "Disputed flags are considered neither helpful nor declined" -- an excellent explanation for this is provided in this answer "There are two issues here that I don't like... So going forward, if flags are disputed, no flag weight -- positive or negative -- will accrue to anyone on that particular post."
    – gnat
    Jan 10, 2014 at 15:37
  • 1
    The part about the moderator tools is no longer correct but I'm unsure how disputed now works for NAA in the FPQ/LQQ and what action makes those NAA flags disputed.
    – rene
    Nov 16, 2014 at 13:11
  • 1
    /cc @Shog9 ^ since I'm not sure myself
    – Tim Stone
    Nov 16, 2014 at 18:18
  • 6
    Reading this answer doesn't help me understand what the difference is between getting a disputed/invalid flag and getting a declined one. Dec 10, 2014 at 11:29
  • 4
    @starsplusplus For that, see What is the difference between disputed and declined flags?
    – user259867
    Jan 4, 2015 at 2:04
  • 22
    ......huh. This makes me wonder if "disputed" is really the best term. So if the OP edits the post, that counts as a "dispute"? The tag-wiki for "disputed-flags" says "handled and deemed invalid by a 10k user." That hardly seems accurate, based on this answer. Apr 14, 2015 at 23:25
  • 2
    @KyleStrand The tag wiki recently got updated in Jun 17'17 and I think now covers your point correctly. Mar 8, 2018 at 3:10
  • 1
    @GaurangTandon Oh good, that's much better. ("Disputed" is probably still not the best name, but it's not a big deal.) Mar 8, 2018 at 17:47
  • 2
    I'm still missing the last part of the process here: what do "disputed" flags become? Do they just stay "disputed" forever? Or they may become "declined" or "helpful" later, at some point, for some reason?
    – iago-lito
    Sep 17, 2018 at 8:49
  • 2
    "They do not affect a user's daily flag count" - To be clear, they do still use up a daily flag. Your daily flag count does not go back up 1 when one of your flags from that day is disputed. Rather, this means that future daily flag counts are not affected by your disputed flag count.
    – Harmon758
    Dec 19, 2019 at 19:27
  • 1
    But spam and rude and VLQ are worse flags than closure, so why wouldn't Looks OK dispute them too, but need community edit does?
    – CPlus
    Jun 16, 2023 at 18:13
  • 2
    @iago-lito They stay disputed forever. The only way non-pending flags can change is if a moderator changes a helpful or declined spam/rude flag to disputed. Which means all non-red flag handlings, and all disputed flags are permanent.
    – CPlus
    Jun 16, 2023 at 18:15

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