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I flagged a post as "unclear what you're asking", which was then closed as "unclear what you're asking". However, in my Flagged Posts history it shows as declined:


flag declined


How does that happen?

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  • I had a same experience like this before. I flagged a post as Off-topic any my request was declined but that post was removed from the site for reasons of moderation :) :) i.stack.imgur.com/xF6sW.png – Sathiya Kumar Oct 23 '15 at 10:48
  • @AndrewLott Wasn't me, I agreed and closed it when I saw it in the review queue under Close Votes, I guess after the flag had already been handled by another moderator though. We can each have our own opinions/interpretation, though most often we tend to agree. Also, the addition of Close Votes by the community later on, as was the case here, might impact those as well. – dan Oct 24 '15 at 1:08
  • @SathiyaKumar As we discussed here earlier, flags are just meant for moderators and they don't mean much otherwise. There could be a host of reasons for declining a flag (though I don't often do so), such as trying to rehabilitate the question instead of having it automatically voted down as a result of the flag. I'd suggest voting for questions to be closed instead of flagging in the case where the question is somewhat on-topic but should be closed for other reasons. – dan Oct 24 '15 at 1:16
  • Flagging should be primarily used to get the attention of a moderator when there's significant issues with a post or comment (such as spam, something offensive, etc...), whereas Close Votes should be used to indicate to the community (via the review queue) that the post appears off-topic, so it can be handled by the community (if there's enough votes), but are often noticed by moderators too because the site is not that busy. – dan Oct 24 '15 at 1:21
  • Close votes are only available to users with 3000+ reputation. Even then this site doesn't usually have enough of those users to close anything without a moderator. Questions on this site almost always get closed when they get flagged for closure by a low-rep user, or when a moderator goes through though the close queue. – Stephen Ostermiller Oct 24 '15 at 8:46
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It appears that a moderator declined the flag. At the point that the flag was handled, the post had already been put on hold. As a moderator, I try to use "declined" sparingly. I would not recommend that moderators decline flags in such situations.

The good news is that declined flags do not have any bearing or your reputation or standing with this site. There has been some discussion of using a "flag weight" concept to ignore flags from users with many declined flags, but as far as I know, nothing has come of it.

Once you get 3000 reputation you no longer have to flag posts as off-topic. At that point you start voting on them which closes them more directly. Then there will be no chance that moderator will handle your flag after the closure has already been dealt with.

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  • Good information to know. – closetnoc Oct 23 '15 at 16:01
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    @StephenOstermiller FWIW, if you review the Post Flag History, the flag was declined before I saw all the Close Votes later and decided to close it - other than that, I concur. – dan Oct 24 '15 at 1:42

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