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I have noticed over the past few months some inconsistency with certain flags. If I flag PSQ with the closeflag "offtopic: missing context" and then it is edited later to be okay, I have had both flags declined (recently) and marked as helpful (previously). Since the flag came before the edit, shouldn't the flag still be marked as helpful? I think this should be the case since flags don't work like votes to close where you can retract the vote. Once you flag, it is their until a mod looks at it which could be many hours or even the next day later.

It appears that some mods check the revision history with the flags and others check the current version with the flag. Shouldn't the flag always be compared with the time of event not the current status?

I have only had a handful of flags declined so it isn't a big deal at the moment, but I would like some clarification of how something of this nature will be handled in the future.


From What is the difference between disputed and declined flags?, it states that decline means mod intervention and disputed mean a 10k+ user disagrees.

However, What is a disputed flag? says that the flag tool for 10k+ users has been removed.


I guess an add on then does disputed only mean a low quality post has been edited which automatically disputes a low quality flag? Because, I have a few disputed flag and haven't really used that flag so I am not sure how I would get a disputed flag then now.

What is the real meaning of declined or disputed??

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    $\begingroup$ Just in case, please make sure that the flags are actually declined and not disputed. Edits can automatically dispute VLQ flags, declining is something only mods can do. This is something that gets confused very often (and it is actually terrible UX and likely to confuse people). $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Jan 3 '15 at 23:05
  • $\begingroup$ @MadScientist they flag in question was declined not disputed. $\endgroup$ – dustin Jan 3 '15 at 23:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Behaviour yes it that is what I mean. $\endgroup$ – dustin Jan 3 '15 at 23:07
  • $\begingroup$ @MadScientist This is about a closeflag, not VLQ. I clarified the post. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jan 3 '15 at 23:07
  • $\begingroup$ The close flags are not handled by moderators. $\endgroup$ – quid Jan 3 '15 at 23:10
  • $\begingroup$ @quid the ones not handled but mods are generally marked as disputed though, correct? This flag was declined. $\endgroup$ – dustin Jan 3 '15 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ I do not know the details off-hand, but I am pretty sure a closeflag is never handled directly by a mod. $\endgroup$ – quid Jan 3 '15 at 23:13
  • $\begingroup$ @quid in another question I asked, I was informed that disputed was handled through a queue and declined was mod action. I will double check this but I believe that was the information I was given. $\endgroup$ – dustin Jan 3 '15 at 23:14
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    $\begingroup$ @dustin Hmm, I'm not actually sure if the new handling via the review queue can decline flags. Mods generally don't see close flags, so this case might actually result in declined flags without mod intervention (contradicting my previous comment). $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Jan 3 '15 at 23:14
  • $\begingroup$ @quid see edit to post. $\endgroup$ – dustin Jan 3 '15 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ @MadScientist The Close Review can decline flags, dustin gave an example earlier: see the screenshot, and Arthur's answer. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jan 3 '15 at 23:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Behaviour I have edited my post, because from Author's answer, we would assume decline means peer review but from meta it says mod intervention. So I have no idea what decline means now. $\endgroup$ – dustin Jan 3 '15 at 23:25
  • $\begingroup$ The meta thread "What is the difference between disputed and declined flags?" is from 2012; information there is very much outdated. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jan 3 '15 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Behaviour that is all I have found on it so far so that is what I have to go on. $\endgroup$ – dustin Jan 3 '15 at 23:28
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    $\begingroup$ A feature-request by @MadScientist related to this meta.stackexchange.com/questions/246516/… was just placed too. $\endgroup$ – quid Jan 3 '15 at 23:47
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What is the real meaning of declined or disputed?

Declined: someone (either moderators, or reviewers) found your flag to be without merit.

Disputed: someone (either moderators, or reviewers, or an editor, or perhaps another entity) did something about the post that resulted in your flag being dismissed, but without a decision on whether it had merit or not.

The difference for you, as a user casting a flag, is that declined flags count against you: if you have too many of them, you may be flag-banned temporarily. Disputed flags do not; the "disputed" mark is neutral.

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  • $\begingroup$ From my reading on meta, I am under the impression disputed comes from a low quality flag. Are you saying it can occur for other flags beside just low quality? $\endgroup$ – dustin Jan 3 '15 at 23:42
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, other flags can be disputed too. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jan 3 '15 at 23:42
  • $\begingroup$ I think we need some updated answers on meta. $\endgroup$ – dustin Jan 3 '15 at 23:43
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    $\begingroup$ I put bounties on two of those meta posts to draw attention to the need for updates. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jan 3 '15 at 23:45
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    $\begingroup$ I see you are going above and beyond the call of duty now. $\endgroup$ – dustin Jan 3 '15 at 23:45
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A flag to close is never handled by a moderator directly. All it does is put the question in the close-review queue (a moderator just might happen to handle it there but this is almost irrelevant to the question).

If the review does not find merit in the flag it is declined. (I do not know the precise thresholds, but 3-2 against suffices for decline according to this more recent answer on MSE; note the answer is from an SO mod, and a comment by another SO mod confirms my statement that mods never see such a flag).

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  • $\begingroup$ So what is a disputed flag then? $\endgroup$ – dustin Jan 3 '15 at 23:29
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    $\begingroup$ Moderators can choose to act on those flags if they visit the review queues directly. That is not all that likely, the review interface is not exactly ideal for mods, but mods can choose to handle those flags, though they don't see them by default. $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Jan 3 '15 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ @MadScientist I am not sure if you had not seen my addition before writing this, or if you mean to raise another point. $\endgroup$ – quid Jan 3 '15 at 23:34
  • $\begingroup$ @dustin I am not sure this is current, but see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/95275/what-is-a-disputed-flag $\endgroup$ – quid Jan 3 '15 at 23:34
  • $\begingroup$ @quid I have added that information in my post as well as why I don't understand disputed already. $\endgroup$ – dustin Jan 3 '15 at 23:36
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    $\begingroup$ @dustin vlq and naa flags go through review. If the outcome is "mixed," (I do not know the precise thresholds) the flag is marked as disputed, and escalated to a moderator flag. The moderator then decide, but I think what the mod decides has no baring on the flag. I am not sure if close flags can also be disputed. Anyway, normally, all this is not decided by a moderator. As Arthur told you only for a comment flag and an "other" flag should you assume as default it was a moderator that decided anything. $\endgroup$ – quid Jan 3 '15 at 23:42

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