I know that sounds rather simple, but if you read the privileges page, you will find out that:

The offensive and spam flags are designed to automatically eliminate truly offensive posts through the collaboration of the community.

  • 3 flags -- post is banished from the front page.
  • 6 flags -- post is locked, deleted, and the owner loses 100 reputation.

    Users with the Moderator Tools privilege can see how many offensive flags a post has accrued, and may opt to flag it themselves.

  • So, my question is, if it has been already banished from the front page, how is it possible to flag it again? Wouldn't it mean that the actual maximum is three, not six?


    Yes, this is quite possible and happens all the time. Once a post is flagged, it appears in the queue of flagged posts available for perusal by all 10k users, who have access to the "Moderator Tools" that are mentioned in the excerpt quoted in the question:

    What is moderation?

    As one of our most experienced users, we're counting on you to guide the community and lead by example.

    You can ...

    • cast delete and undelete votes on questions
    • view deleted posts
    • see spam and offensive flags on posts
    • have access to moderator tools

    When they are going through the list of flagged posts, if they agree that the post is indeed spam or offensive, they can add one of their own flags. When the post gets to 6 flags, it is automatically deleted (at a cost to the original poster) without requiring direct intervention by one of the busy moderators:

    When should I act on spam and offensive flags?

    If you feel a spam or offensive flag is truly warranted, add your own flag to it. Once the post reaches 6 spam/offensive flags, it will automatically be deleted.

    However, be advised that this incurs a -100 reputation penalty to the original post owner, so this is not something you should do lightly -- please reserve casting spam and offensive flags for serious offenses only.

    • This answer should probably be updated - spam/offensive flags no longer appear in the 10k flag queue; they're only shown to moderators.
      – nhinkle
      Apr 4 '13 at 1:25

    The front page if MSO (this very site) is http://meta.stackoverflow.com; the questions are listed in other pages, including https://meta.stackoverflow.com/questions.
    The question is banned from the front page, but not from the other pages. The question is still referenced in pages such as the review ones and, for who can see it, in https://meta.stackoverflow.com/tools/flagged. The same is true for every SE site.

    This means that a question can still be flagged from users, even if it has been flagged three times.

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