There was an answer to this question, which I flagged as low-quality, since I thought it was beyond repair and full of nonsense. It was not the case that it contained an error or so, it was as if it was written under the influence of something really expensive. At least, that's how I remember it.

The flag was declined with the reason "declined - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it". Fair enough, I know that moderators should not be judges of mathematical content, and in hindsight this answer might have been in a grey area.

However, the answer is gone now. What is the reason for that? Did the original poster remove it himself/herself or is there some other process for removal of answers?

Also, I think the help center could make the flagging process a bit clearer. For me, it's a bit confusing what happens when a question or answer is flagged depending on the flag type. Does it go in a review queue for community handling or does it cause moderator attention? I would for example be more hesitant to flag a post if it increases the burden on the moderators compared to if it goes into a queue handled by a zillion of users.

I might add that if I had known that the flag would be handled by a moderator as opposed to being added to a review queue, I probably wouldn't have flagged.

Why not add an array in the help center having flag type, description and action as columns?

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  • $\begingroup$ This happens at times. I've flagged terrible questions that were closed soon thereafter, getting the same feedback. Don't take it too seriously - you won't have a perfect flagging record, but it's just the way it is. In this case, there's also the possibility that whoever gave the presumably bad answer realized it, and deleted it. $\endgroup$ – gnometorule Jun 25 '14 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ It was deleted by a moderator. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jun 25 '14 at 21:08
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Ok, thanks. Is it still viewable by 10k users? Anyway, that added a bit to my confusion. $\endgroup$ – Daniel R Jun 25 '14 at 21:13
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    $\begingroup$ It takes much more than a site moderator to keep something from 10k users. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jun 25 '14 at 21:14

Normally, flags not explicitly intended for moderators do not get handled by them: they are processed in the review queue. However, for spam/offensive flags speedy action is desirable, so moderators may handle them before enough of them accumulate for automatic action. They can also choose to act on "not an answer" or "very low quality" flags, though that is rare nowadays. They do not see close-suggestion flags.

It's possible that someone flagged the post as spam/offensive and moderator disagreed with that. Until recently, moderators could only mark all the flags on a post helpful or decline them all. Now they can dismiss flags individually, but only if they remember to do so. So it's possible that, having fat-fingered the "decline" button, the moderator corrected for that by deleting the post.

For other scenarios, see Why does flag marking as helpful/declined not always correlate with moderator action?

Summary: everyone makes mistakes; a declined flag does not mean the mistake was yours. Do not let an occasional declined flag discourage you from flagging as you see fit. (If you get multiple rejections, that'd be a sign to adjust.)

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  • $\begingroup$ Normally, flags not explicitly intended for moderators do not get handled by them: they are processed in the review queue. Is that true? $\endgroup$ – Thomas Jun 27 '14 at 22:44
  • $\begingroup$ The answer in the post was not flagged as spam/offensive. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jun 28 '14 at 1:33
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    $\begingroup$ I agree it's not a big deal to get a disputed or declined flag (even wrongfully so). But there might be easy measures to reduce the confusion that arises after this happens. For example, this answer (or a reformulation thereof) could be amended in the help center, as well as a matrix containing all flag types and the following action. Also, when I go to the flag summary in my profile, the flagging history on the right hand side says that I have "$x$ moderator attention flags", which is somewhat misleading considering most flags are not handled by moderators. $\endgroup$ – Daniel R Jun 28 '14 at 11:29

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