A user will get the casting close vote privilege after 3k reputation. According to this post, voting for close is prior to flagging. It is almost impossible to flag 500 times before reaching 3k reputation. So what is the point of this badge? Also, not even many people have got the "Deputy" badge, which is 80 flags.

Another perspective will be: what is the purpose of flagging if a user can vote for close? I tried to search in meta but did not succeed in finding an answer.

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    $\begingroup$ I got the Marshal badge! You should flag this as not being constructive :D but in seriousness: it seems most helpful flags, at least from myself, come from flagging useless/obsolete comments and answers that aren't really answers. Comments, I would imagine, are one of the biggest sources of helpful flags because people often converse in comments, fixing and addressing things...these comments then become obsolete (i.e., worthy of flagging). $\endgroup$ Apr 30, 2015 at 16:21
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    $\begingroup$ I am closing in on 3000 flags, and the majority of them were raised well after I could vote to close. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Apr 30, 2015 at 18:41

2 Answers 2


There are lots of other reasons to flag posts:

  • it is spam.
  • it is offensive... errr... inappropriate.
  • it is very low quality.
  • it was posted as an answer, but it isn't an answer.
  • something else has happened that requires moderator attention. (This can pretty much run the gamut: the post seems to be plagiarised, there's an ongoing edit war, a display name or avatar is offensive/inappropriate, should be locked or protected, possibly you want it made Community Wiki, you need an answer to your question now!!11!!.)

And this doesn't include comments which can be flagged for being too chatty, non-constructive, obsolete, rude/offensive/inappropriate, and also in need of further moderator attention.

Closing is just a small part of the flagging puzzle.

  • $\begingroup$ Just curious: Do users actually sometimes flag for "need an answer now"? $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Apr 30, 2015 at 16:36
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    $\begingroup$ Not too often, but at least a few of these appear every week, @quid. (If this doesn't happen on matheducators.SE, I am only more envious.) $\endgroup$
    – user642796
    Apr 30, 2015 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ So far not, at least not that I'd recall. But then this site creates the total number of questiosn on MESE in about 36h, so in some sense my sample is not that large. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Apr 30, 2015 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ I'm sure that there is less urgency for many questions on matheducators, too. $\endgroup$
    – user642796
    Apr 30, 2015 at 17:04

If a user can vote to close, they can no longer flag to close (such flags will be automatically converted to votes). But there are more types of flags than those: Spam, Offensive, Not An Answer, Very Low Quality, free-form flag for mod attention, and various flags for comments. All these count toward Marshal. The Help Center page on flagging has links to usage guides for each of these flags.

Having earned the Marshal badge on several sites (Mathematics, Stack Overflow, Stack Overflow на русском, Android Enthusiasts, Drupal Answers, and Meta Stack Exchange) I can observe that the distribution of flags differs by site:

  • Drupal Answers and Meta Stack Exchange get a lot of spam
  • Android Enthusiasts site is flooded with non-answers posted as answers
  • Mathematics and Stack Overflow sites are more balanced: there is a bit of everything. There are offensive posts to be deleted, there is spam, a lot of questions-posted-as-answers, and comments that should never have been written. Flags are used to deal with all of this.

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