This question about onions:

Had 4 close votes and has since been deleted by the owner.

It was a poor question because it depended on too many variables: what knife you use, how tolerant the cutter was, how many windows were open, even how many onions the asker was referring to (one or many).

Yet, I was given a declined flag.

I already have 7 declined flags here for questions that were later closed or deleted.

It would be good to find out on what basis the flag was declined and what was worthwhile about this question? How can this question be objectively answered?

I'm trying hard to keep the site clean, but if my flags keep getting rejected it seems pointless; I may as well just let the system look after itself.

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    The question didn't need moderator attention, the community was closing it and the owner deleted it. Flags should not take the place of close votes or used as a "stronger close vote". I am not sure but I believe that could be the main reason of the other declines. – Sklivvz Aug 30 '11 at 23:58
  • @Sklivvz - At the time I flagged it there were no close votes. Secondly, what is the point of the flags? I thought it was for getting moderator attention to low quality questions (or spam etc.) this definitely fits in the low quality bin. – going Aug 31 '11 at 0:08
  • See my answer below. – Sklivvz Aug 31 '11 at 0:16
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    @Sklivvz: You dismiss as invalid when the flag is correct, but action is not needed because the community took care of it? – Borror0 Aug 31 '11 at 2:58
  • @Bor, the flag was incorrect so I dismissed it. – Sklivvz Aug 31 '11 at 8:10
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    Did you vote to close the question yourself, or did you only flag it? – Grace Note Aug 31 '11 at 14:17
  • @Grace - I did both. I see a bad quality question - I try my best to get it closed as fast as possible. My only aim is to benefit the site. – going Sep 1 '11 at 22:29

I agree that these flags were not, technically speaking, invalid.


Moderators have to handle a lot of flags, and sometimes they make mistakes.

I would not sweat the details of one or two flags if you have a history of excellent flagging. It depends who looks at it, what time of day it is, and the phase of the moon. No batter bats 100%.

When clearing flags on SO (which gets 500+ flags per day) I generally try to err on the side of clearing as helpful since the user was trying to be genuinely helpful, even if I don't agree with the flag.

I recommend only declining flags when the flag is egregiously wrong, rude, or just plain dumb.

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    It's not 1 or 2 flags. It's 50 % of my flags. 14 declined flags and I would suggest only 1 or 2 of them are invalid. The rest are complete garbage. Take for example this question which has 16 upvotes and is just some guy asking whether his girlfriends non-FDA approved medicine is a good option. 1. It's not notable. 2. It's not answerable 3. There's no claim to investigate. It's like me asking if ebay is OK because there are scammers on there. – going Sep 2 '11 at 5:51
  • This site is so border Yahoo answers. Because it attracts these sorts of questions it needs strict moderation which it isn't getting. – going Sep 2 '11 at 5:59
  • @xiao the answer on that question is quite good, though, wouldn't you agree? That said, even if I disagree with a flag, I very rarely decline said flag except in what I consider to be egregious cases, and I strongly urge other moderators to follow suit. – Jeff Atwood Sep 2 '11 at 6:01
  • In other words, mark a flag as helpful even if no direct action needs to be taken? Sounds like a good directive. I remember doing this differently (like Sklivvz) when being pro tem moderator on tex.sx … perhaps this could be made a guideline for new moderators? – Konrad Rudolph Sep 4 '11 at 9:08

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