I recently raised a flag for a question deletion and repost. In my flag I suggested the repost be deleted and the original reopened. My reasoning was that when I raised the flag the repost had exactly one comment, pointing out the it was a repost. While the original had 7 with users trying to help get the question reopened.

When I checked my flag later I saw that it had been declined, confused I looked into the details. Between me flagging the post and the flag being handled 8 comments and a meta post had been attached to the reposted question. So the declined flag made sense as the repost now had more value to remain.

I'm not disputing the flag, I completely agree with how it was handled given the context at time of handling. What I'm wondering about is the disparity between the state of something when it is flagged and when it is reviewed. I'm not sure what tools moderators have to see the context of when the flag was raised.

Ideally I think I'd like to see a flag reason of "no longer relevant" or something similar for situations like this. The flag was helpful when it was raised but by the time it is handled the context has changed.

Have other users encountered this? Or do I see more of it from being in a different timezone? Is there something we can do about it?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Given that enough declined flags carries a restriction on what you can do on the site, this is worrying. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 8, 2020 at 23:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @stopbeingevil I don't think it happens often enough to be a major concern. \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin Mod
    Commented May 9, 2020 at 5:15

1 Answer 1



(I was the mod who handled that flag.)

At the time we look at the flag--and there are a couple different UIs where that can happen, I was in the overlay in case another mod is wondering--we can see right there when the flag was raised. I easily could have looked back at the post's timeline to suss out what condition it was in when the flag was raised, though I'll confess I didn't.

Part of that, upon reflection, is probably the route to which I got there. I first saw the meta post, which directed me to the mainsite repost (which had some pretty useful-looking commentary), which directed me to the deleted post (which also had some useful commentary). So in my mind it was most useful to let the deleted one lie and the repost, which was being handled well through comments and meta by regular users, live.

There is a way on the mod-end to accept a flag but basically do nothing with it. And IIRC there's a way to do that while also providing custom feedback to the flagger. The UI is so badly designed and I'm so thick that I have more-often-than-not managed to botch that workflow. Which ends up looking like "I want to validate their instinct and give some feedback explaining why I didn't do what they suggest. CRAP! I just accepted the flag and executed the thing they suggested, but that's not right. Let me go undo that, and put the post right." So now you, the helpful user, end up with a "helpful" flag in the record, but it looks like we've completely ignored you.

Since I didn't want anything to happen to the post and I wanted to tell you what my thinking was, the "decline..." option in the UIwas the safest way to achieve that. So I declined, leaving you that explanatory note, and the post to live on as is.

I agree with you that a "no longer relevant" flag--basically, a "neutral" one--might be useful.

Actually, no. On second thought, I disagree with us. I would have liked to mark that flag "helpful" because it was! It got a moderator's eyes on a post that was--even when I got there--in need of some attention. Really, SE just needs to make the flagging UI better.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the insight into your workflow. I assumed it was something like that based on knowing our mods have good intentions. Is there a specific feature request or something we can take to main meta to improve this? \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin Mod
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 3:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @linksassin: We have have (had) a new trial workflow where we can escalate things from child metas to the company. That test period just ended and we are waiting to see if the test was successful. Either way, the first thing to do might be to propose a feature request here on RPG meta and see how that is received. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 6, 2020 at 3:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rubiksmoose What I'm trying to work out is what such a proposal should contain. I'm not sure where the tools are limiting in this way. \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin Mod
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 5:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @linksassin and, frankly, it may just be that the tools are adequate but the sheep is weak--that in three years I've just never gotten to the point where I'm making best use of the tools. But you won't have to worry about that much longer =P \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 12:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @linksassin: Oops! Sorry for misunderstanding your question. A good feature request would simply include the problem you are trying to solve and your proposal and how you think the proposal fixes it. It might be a bit tough for you to do this without full access to mod tools, but I'm willing to help how I can. However, I am a bit divided on how useful the thing you're requesting would be for me. I don't think it would often change my workflow and would largely go unused. But a nice proposal and some pondering may of course change my mind, I've never considered a neutral flag option. :) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 6, 2020 at 15:18

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