# Declined flag - What should have I done instead?

I flagged a comment in this answer ( or maybe I flagged the answer itself, can't remember which) with the custom reason "There seems to be a problem with a bounty".

My intent was to bring the situation to the moderators attention. Regardless of there being a bug or not, there was in fact a problem with the bounty. And apparently the problem was that a user didn't know how they work (of course I had no way of knowing this).

The flag was declined. Is there anyway to flag the answer with the same intent I had, but make it acceptable? What should have I done instead of flagging as I did, i.e., instead of flagging with the aforementioned reason?

One possibility is to simply let the users know they can flag for moderator attention (but I suspect such a flag would probably be declined too). However, I didn't feel like interacting with them and doing what I did seemed like a viable alternative.

Edit:

In view of the comments and answers below, let me point out that the question "What should have I done instead of flagging as I did, i.e., instead of flagging with the aforementioned reason?" is still unanswered.

One point people are making is that there was no problem with the bounty, but as I said, I had no way of knowing this. Of course I could be wrong and I could have a way of knowing this. If I'm wrong, how could I have known it? Relevant comment to this paragraph.

• Maybe I'm a bit dense, but what exactly is the problem with the bounty? I don't see any problem. – Mad Scientist Jan 15 '15 at 9:52
• @MadScientist I read this comment as square_one having expected the bounty to have been attributed to the author of the answer and that not having happened. This is the problem. – Git Gud Jan 15 '15 at 9:55
• What would you expect a moderator to do in this case? (For the record you flagged the comment, meaning that (1) the user who flagged is was anonymous and (2) the only options were essentially to delete the comment or decline the flag. See here.) – user642796 Jan 15 '15 at 9:56
• @ArthurFischer Review the bounty history, inspect if there was any bug and in case there wasn't, inform the user on how bounties are supposed to work. Also I'd expect my flag to be accepted. – Git Gud Jan 15 '15 at 9:57
• Again, for comment flags there are very limited options available to moderators. Deleting the comment didn't seem to be an appropriate course of action, and so I took the other option. Had you flagged the post instead I would have had more options available. – user642796 Jan 15 '15 at 10:03
• I'll never understand these down votes. – Git Gud Jan 15 '15 at 16:58

You flagged a comment to the answer with the following reason:

There seems to be a problem with a bounty.

After inspecting the situation, there was actually nothing wrong. The asker didn't manually assign a bounty, and the criteria for automatically awarding the bounty wasn't satisfied by the lone answer. In short, the system worked as designed.

I did write a comment communicating this to the asker, but afterwards was left with the issue of the comment flag. In difference to post flags, comment-flags leave two options to the moderators: delete the comment (marking the flag as helpful) or dismiss/decline the flag. Since deleting the comment didn't seem to be appropriate, I declined the flag. (There is a recent feature request on MSE to make more options available to moderators when handling comment-flags, but there is at present nothing to suggest that it will be implemented anytime soon.)

Had you flagged a post instead there would have been more options available to me. (In short, you should only flag comments when there is something wrong with the comment itself. Flagging a comment to bring moderator attention to some other potential problem may well result in a similarly declined flag.)

Let's look at the issue of whether you could have known that nothing really went wrong, at least as far as automatic bounty awarding is concerned. (No-one can guarantee that the button to award the bounty was never clicked; Occam's razor, however, suggests that it was never clicked.) Looking at the revision history and public timeline (or hovering over pertinent parts of the posts themselves) we get the basic timeline of important events:

Bounty Started:              2014-12-28 11:15:46Z
Hans Engler's answer posted: 2015-01-03 19:58:41Z
Bounty (Grace Period) Ended: 2015-01-05 12:42:53Z


Since the answer is still scored +1/-0, a simple check of the MSE bounty faq shows that in all likelihood the criteria for automatic awarding of bounties was not met at the time the grace period ended:

### What is automatic awarding?

Approximately 24 hours after the end of the bounty period, if the bounty starter has not manually awarded the bounty, the bounty may be awarded automatically.

If the bounty starter accepted an answer during the bounty period, that answer is awarded the bounty. Answers accepted before the bounty period are not eligible to be awarded the bounty automatically.

Otherwise, if there are eligible answers, the highest scoring is awarded half the bounty amount. The criteria for an answer to be eligible are:

• The answer must have been given after the bounty was started
• The answer must have a score of at least +2
• The answer must not have been written by the bounty starter

If two or more eligible answers have the same score (if their scores are tied), the oldest answer is awarded the bounty.

If neither of these conditions apply, the bounty is not awarded to any answer, and is not refunded to the bounty starter.

• I was unaware that when one wants to bring attention to something in a thread, one should flag questions and answers instead of comments. Thank you for that information. – Git Gud Jan 15 '15 at 10:16
• @GitGud: Yeah, comment-flag-handling is pretty primitive (apparently because comments are, at best, second-class citizens in SE). A post-flag can always include a link to a comment if you think that moderators will miss the point of the flag without being explicitly directed to it. – user642796 Jan 15 '15 at 10:22
• I also didn't know I could check the bounty history in the revision. This clears up that point. The bounty history doesn't show up in my timeline (want me to upload a screen shot?), but if it was the case that it showed up in the timeline and not in the revision history, I'd refuse this point because the timeline is really obscure, I only learned about it a couple of months ago or so. – Git Gud Jan 15 '15 at 10:56
• @GitGud: I only included the timeline to get the time the answer was accepted. The rest can be obtained from the revision history of the question or the posts themselves. (Actually, the time the answer was accepted can also be obtained by hovering over the green check-mark (as I just tried/found out). So you could really avoid the timeline altogether.) – user642796 Jan 15 '15 at 11:02
• It's not entirely clear to me what I should have done instead of flagging. I'm aware of the possibility of me posting the same comment as you did. But suppose I do not do that, what's the second best thing? Do nothing or is there something else I can do? – Git Gud Jan 16 '15 at 12:49

"There is a problem with this post" is not exactly a clear statement, why didn't you spell out the problem in the flag? Flags that don't actually mention what the problem is are likely to get declined if the moderators don't see anything wrong with the post.

This specific case is nothing that should be flagged, the user simply didn't choose a post for the bounty. Explaining that to the user is something you can do yourself, you don't need a mod for that. Moderators can't assign bounties, that reputation is lost in any case now. And if it was a bug, you should post a bug report on meta, and not flag.

The flag was unclear and there was no issue that required moderator attention there.

• The reason I gave was not "There is a problem with this post", it was "There seems to be a problem with a bounty" which is a bit more specific than what you said. I mentioned what the problem was. "The user simply didn't choose a post for the bounty" did I have a way of knowing this? In other words, did I have access to the information that user148176 failed to attribute the bounty? If I did, please tell me how could I have accessed that info. If I didn't, how was I supposed to know whether the user didn't attributre the bounty or there was a bug? – Git Gud Jan 15 '15 at 10:11
• @GitGud The former is the far more likely explanation, but in both cases a flag would not be an appropriate response anyway. – Mad Scientist Jan 15 '15 at 10:12