I was reviewing a bunch of questions, and by mistake flagged an answer as... not a question and downvoted it. I'm very sorry, I didn't notice it was podted as an answer, and now can't reverse my flag nor downvote. What can I do now to make things right?

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    $\begingroup$ Wait--we can actually flag answers as "not a question"!? :) $\endgroup$ – apnorton Jan 17 '14 at 3:37
  • $\begingroup$ @anorton, xD. Actually, I wrote that in the part that says "other". I usually describe the problem instead of using standard flags. $\endgroup$ – JMCF125 Jan 17 '14 at 12:11
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    $\begingroup$ That's nothing. I once flagged a question as "migrate to crypto.SE"... while on crypto.SE. (I just left a comment on the question explaining my lack of sleep.) And speaking of confusing the mods, there's always the time I found a way to cast a "disputed" flag on a post with no other flags, although that was kind of deliberate. $\endgroup$ – Ilmari Karonen Jan 25 '14 at 23:32

Unsurprisingly, a moderator has already declined your flag; actually two of these.

As for the downvote, it is likely locked in right now, but if an edit is made to the post you may be able to undo the downvote (by re-clicking the downarrow next to the answer). Now just find a way to have that post edited.... (The other answer you mistakening flagged as "not a question" has received no downvotes.)

Please be more careful when you are flagging posts.

Added to completely answer the question

Once a flag has been raised, there is no way to undo it and call it back. In such cases it is probably advisable to keep an eye on the question/flag to see how we handle it. If we do act on your incorrect flag, you can always flag the post again* and, using the "other" option, explain why your original flag was wrong. (You cannot have multiple active flags on the same post, so you have to wait until something is done with your original flag.) If you can find one of us, e.g., in the main math chat room, you can explain your error there as well (though I guess you will lose your flagging anonymity to regular users in this way).

* Unless you are <10K and we deleted the post. In these cases you'll have to be a bit more creative.

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    $\begingroup$ When I was reviewing I just assumed they were all questions, it didn't occur to me they could be answers. I promess not to make the same mistake again. $\endgroup$ – JMCF125 Jan 12 '14 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ I suggested an edit using markdown, and could reverse the downvote. Again, I'm sorry this happened. I also upvoted the other answer I flagged. $\endgroup$ – JMCF125 Jan 12 '14 at 14:57
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    $\begingroup$ That's fine, but how to reverse flags that weren't declined/accepted yet? $\endgroup$ – Ian Mateus Jan 13 '14 at 1:24
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    $\begingroup$ A hint for people with sufficient rep that have accidentally downvoted: the modification that allows the downvote to be undone may come from the downvoter himself. I'm not sure how moral it is to randomly modify a post just to be able to undo a downvote... $\endgroup$ – Marc van Leeuwen Jan 13 '14 at 12:37
  • $\begingroup$ @IanMateus: Once a flag is in the system, there is no way to undo it. Watch it and see how the moderators handle it. There is also usually a moderator around, so you can try to ping one of us in the main math chat room if you have reason to believe that we'll act incorrectly. I'll add the first bit of this to my answer. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Jan 13 '14 at 12:45
  • $\begingroup$ @MarcvanLeeuwen: I personally don't see anything too immoral about this: as long as it is not an unreasonable edit, you're essentially just undoing the "harm" you've done another. (I freely admit that I might be overlooking some important subtlety.) I would find editing a post to remove an upvote infinitely more troubling. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Jan 13 '14 at 13:13
  • $\begingroup$ @ArthurFischer: There is the subtlety that any third-party edit counts towards the auto-CW-ification limit of the post, which is why it is polite to refrain from edits that aren't really needed. (Yes, someone whose post is pushed over the limit can ask a moderator to un-CW the post, but not all are aware of that). $\endgroup$ – Henning Makholm Jan 14 '14 at 18:05
  • $\begingroup$ @MarcvanLeeuwen, I did that by replacing bare links by markdown. $\endgroup$ – JMCF125 Jan 14 '14 at 19:48

Most of the time, there's probably no need to do anything. If your flag obviously makes no sense, then the moderator handling it will presumably see this, and will decline it. At worst, they might scratch their head wondering what kind of temporary insanity you were suffering from, but I suspect they've seen enough silly flags before — we're all just human, after all, and prone to occasional mistakes.

That said, if you really feel that your flag needs a follow-up message to explain or clarify it, probably the easiest way to send one is just to post it as an ordinary comment on the flagged post. Just start your comment with something like:

"To the moderator handling the flag I just sent: ..."

to avoid needlessly confusing other users. Also, once your flag has been handled by a mod (which you can see in your flag summary, linked from the "helpful flags" number in your user profile), please consider going back and deleting the now-obsolete comment (if it hasn't already been deleted) to keep the site clean and tidy.

  • $\begingroup$ This certainly is possible, if the user doesn't mind revealing him-/herself (which may not always the case). Even pinging one of us in chat may be similarly problematic, but at least the user who created the post wouldn't be automatically notified. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Jan 26 '14 at 9:42
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, one moderator must've been a bit confused, the flagging was: «Please see my comment, this is not a question. – JMCF125 Jan 12 at 13:33 declined - Why should something being posted as an answer be a question?». Also +1 for the notification you recommended, good idea. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – JMCF125 Jan 26 '14 at 13:24

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