I know there is already a question about undoing a comment flag. However, that question was before there was the concept of flag weight.

I flagged an answer for attention because it contains both A. a copyright notice, and B. a substantial amount of code. I wanted a moderator to take a look at this. However, I also left a comment to the OP explaining that SO's posts are under CC-wiki, and that he had (possibly inadvertently) released his source code under that license.

Now, since I flagged, the OP has confirmed that he did intend to release his code as CC-Wiki, and therefore the flag I placed on the answer no longer is really valid. I want to remove the flag, but there does not appear to be a way to do so. A moderator who does the "right thing" is going to mark my flag invalid, which will negatively affect my flag weight (even though I've realized the bad flag before it ever got to a moderator). It would be nice if I could remove my own flag from the moderator's queue (and therefore not negatively affect flag weight).

  • 5
    A decent flag weight and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee. I really wouldn't worry about it. If you're a good flagger, an invalid flag here or there won't matter that much.
    – user102937
    Commented Jun 29, 2011 at 23:24
  • 3
    @Robert: I'm not too concerned about it. But it does seem like kind of a gaping hole :) Commented Jun 29, 2011 at 23:28
  • 1
    I dismissed the flag as valid. Which, in fact, it is.
    – user102937
    Commented Jun 29, 2011 at 23:29
  • @Robert: LOL -- Well I'm sorry for saying you did the wrong thing. :P Commented Jun 29, 2011 at 23:30
  • Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/96026/… Commented Aug 1, 2011 at 14:20
  • 23
    I flagged something as a duplicate. Now, based on ongoing discussion in the comments, I have my doubts about this. My flag is still "pending review". I think removing the flag while the moderators still didn't have time to look at it is needed. It will reduce moderator workload, at least.
    – haimg
    Commented Oct 6, 2011 at 19:42
  • related: How to unflag a comment when it was flagged by mistake?
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 23, 2012 at 8:15
  • 1
  • I just flagged a comment, assuming it was supposed to go into an answer rather than my question. Then, I looked at the times of the comment and answer and realized there was no way the commenter intended to comment on the answer unless he went back a few minutes.
    – moonman239
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 23:56

3 Answers 3


There's another reason for making it possible for people with sufficient rights to remove a flag they placed: Saving the moderators' time.

Moderators have a lot of flags to get through. If you flag something, and then something changes making it no longer relevant before it's reviewed, you should be able to remove the flag so no one needs to review it.

Recently I flagged a question that had been deleted by a moderator with the reason "too localized" because the question wasn't too localized (in my view, or apparently the view of the many others who had viewed it and not voted to close it). After I did that, the moderator edited the question saying that they'd deleted it because the OP asked them to (the OP couldn't, it had answers). So I wanted to remove my flag, as it served no purpose, and a moderator didn't need to spend time on it.

Similarly, I have sometimes flagged something "not an answer" which was, when I flagged it, not an answer — which then got edited and became an answer. So again, no point in a moderator reviewing that flag.

And yes, in both cases it would be nice not to have flags "declined" because while they were valid when I made them, they became invalid and I noticed them. I'm not going to worry about that part too much, although it does rankle slightly.

In general, engineering is about balance. If you have an "add" feature, prefer to have a "remove" feature. If you have "up", expect you'll need "down". Violating this rule, creating an unbalanced system, should only ever be done intentionally and for very good reason.

  • 38
    +1 for the concept of retracting flag because question changed, thus no reason for a moderator to review the flag.
    – Jake1164
    Commented Jul 3, 2012 at 14:53
  • @Jake1164 - removal would also be nice if you realize that you have used the wrong flag category or that the post shouldn't have been flagged at all. From what I heard flag queue are long - very long, so I belive that self-made noise cleanup can help. Now, I will understand if some staff member decline this proposal because implementing it is too hard and the price isn't worth... but I wouldn't discard it as not usefull before that. You have my vote. Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 9:19

A moderator who does the "right thing" is going to mark my flag invalid

I don't really agree with this. Why would it be invalid? If I see in the comments that this worked itself out, I would probably mark you flag as valid. The concern was valid, the flag was submitted with good intentions. Things worked out without moderator action, but that doesn't mean that the flag wasn't valid at one time.

Even if your flag is dismissed for being invalid, it isn't the end of the world, and flag weight is just a number.

I think the case for wanting to remove a flag is pretty limited, not sure it needs to be added to the UI.

  • 3
    Needs an update
    – waffles
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 12:33

Another reason is just changing your mind, you find out you're wrong, or you learned something new since flagging something. For example, I flagged a post for migration just a little while ago, simply because it was Drupal and on SO. Immediately upon flagging it I started thinking, "Are we supposed to be migrating things simply because they're Drupal? Or is the preferred action to let sleeping dogs lie?" So I came to Meta, looked it up, and see that we shouldn't just be flagging for migration just because there's a SE site dedicated to the topic. So I know I won't do that again, but I still have a flag out there that a moderator has to look it eventually. There's really no reason for them to look at it since I know now that the flag is wrong.

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