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Yesterday I flagged

https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/360476/how-is-algebra-equations-geometry-etc-going-to-help-with-life

citing reason 'it is too broad to be answered'

the flag was rejected 'only flag if it needs moderator intervention' - well, sir, whoever you are, do you think I flagged this for a laugh?

Today, I noticed, by chance, the post was closed. well, to me 'it is too broad to be answered' means, it is not a very constructive question. what should I have written?

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    $\begingroup$ "only flag if it needs moderator intervention" - actually right. Since we now have a good number of people with the ability to close questions that are less than suitable, mods don't really need to do anything about such. Flag only if what you've seen is overly offensive, spam, or in general exceptionally bad. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Apr 14 '13 at 12:21
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    $\begingroup$ @J.M.: It should be noted, however, that general flags do appear to 10K users, and I suspect that closure flags add questions to the review queue. In both cases clearing the flag is actually actively making sure that 10K users (or closing review privileged users) will miss that question. Of course it may still get closed, but it might take much longer. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Apr 14 '13 at 12:28
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila is there a thing as closure flag? i just typed in the box appeared when I press flag button. $\endgroup$ – Lost1 Apr 14 '13 at 12:30
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    $\begingroup$ Closure flags is when you flag and select "it doesn't belong here or it is a duplicate". If you raised a free-form flag, then the moderator decision was very correct, because they shouldn't intervene in those issues unless something is very wrong, and other users cannot see free-form flags. In any case the question is now deleted. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Apr 14 '13 at 12:35
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    $\begingroup$ @J.M. The pre-written flags are visible to and can be handled by 10k+ users, moderators should not decline them just because it is something the community can handle itself, as that also removed them from the view of 10k users. The close flags will also be dismissed automatically once another user votes to close, as the question then is put into the close vote review queue. $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Apr 14 '13 at 12:37
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    $\begingroup$ @MadScientist: I have seen questions on the closure review queue that didn't have any votes to close, I assume those got there through flagging, but that means they entered the queue before someone else voted to close. On the other hand, I have seen open flags for closure and the question would have closure votes (but the flag may have been raised after a vote to close was cast). $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Apr 14 '13 at 12:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Mad, is the closure flag something newly deployed? I'll admit I've had closing abilities on this site for so long that I don't quite remember being able to flag just for the sole purpose of closing. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Apr 14 '13 at 12:51
  • $\begingroup$ @J.M.: That's as old as the system. :-) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Apr 14 '13 at 13:08
  • $\begingroup$ @Asaf, if memory serves, the particular option used to be just "it doesn't belong here", and did not have the additional fancy choices for why you thought said post did not belong. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Apr 14 '13 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ @J.M.: If my memory serves me, you could have flagged it with similar reasons to the closing reasons. I'll start directing bounties to you, until I get to less than 3000 points; but you have to promise to return them as soon as possible! :-) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Apr 14 '13 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ Unless you can travel back in time @Asaf, it won't work; I was saying that "it doesn't belong here" was not as elaborate back then as it is now (again, contingent on me remembering things right). $\endgroup$ – J. M. is a poor mathematician Apr 14 '13 at 13:22
  • $\begingroup$ I have known you long enough to know that your memory is not as nearly unreliable as mine, @J.M., but it is still unreliable enough that I am going to have to invest my fortunes into a Delorean and a flux capacitor. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Apr 14 '13 at 13:45
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    $\begingroup$ Well, Sir, do you think you could have phrased this question in a less confrontational tone? That helps, you know... $\endgroup$ – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Apr 14 '13 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ The way of how moderators are dealing with the flagged comments/answers is a mystery and will remain so till the end of time. In moderators we trust! $\endgroup$ – user26857 Oct 16 '13 at 11:26
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    $\begingroup$ I wonder what the moderator could have done in this situation though. If they had voted to close then their vote is binding and so the question would have bee automatically closed. Would they have had any other option? I mean, yes, the flag is helpful, but in an odd way the moderator is so powerful as to render them powerless to help...(Unless I am miss-understanding moderators supreme powers?) $\endgroup$ – user1729 Oct 16 '13 at 13:07
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This old question is no longer relevant, because SE fixed the underlying issue a while ago.

flags to close a question are no longer shown in the moderator only queue (source)

The reason mentioned by the OP, "too broad", falls into the above category.

So, low-rep users should feel free to flag-to-close to their heart's content. The flag will put the question into the close queue, instead of being dropped on the moderators' plate. If at least one of reviewers votes to close the question, the flag is automatically dismissed as helpful. (This happens even if other reviewers disagree and the question remains open at the end.) If no reviewers vote to close, the flag is automatically declined.

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure about the conditions for helpful/disputed flags? One of my flags was disputed (I flagged an obvious crap answer for low quality), but the answer was later removed. And this answer seems to contradict what you are saying. $\endgroup$ – Daniel R Oct 16 '13 at 13:48
  • $\begingroup$ @DanielR I believe that this post is about questions. Answers are dealt with differently. For example, there is no "review queue" for answers, but there is for questions. That is, the community decides on the quality of questions, but not of answers (you should downvote them instead). $\endgroup$ – user1729 Oct 16 '13 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ @DanielR Flags-to-close exist for questions only. Answers can be flagged for various reasons, they may be deleted etc, but they don't get closed. $\endgroup$ – user100000 Oct 16 '13 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ @user1729 Community does have a say in the quality of answers, that's why there are flags "it is not an answer" and "it is very low quality". Also, there is a review queue for answers: Low Quality Posts. $\endgroup$ – user100000 Oct 16 '13 at 14:06
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, yes, sorry. Although I always thought that the Low Quality Posts review queue was automatic rather than instigated by flags. $\endgroup$ – user1729 Oct 16 '13 at 14:13
  • $\begingroup$ @user1729 Part automatic, part VLQ flags: source. $\endgroup$ – user100000 Oct 16 '13 at 14:42
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    $\begingroup$ Ah, thanks for the clarification. I have to admit though, that I find the whole flagging business a bit confusing. To flag or not to flag, that's the question... The flagging interface could be clearer about what's going to happen after a flag has been raised. $\endgroup$ – Daniel R Oct 16 '13 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ I have remembered where my opinion about flags and answers came from - I (relatively recently) flagged a post which was wrong, but got the reply "declined - flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer". Which implies that, well, flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer... $\endgroup$ – user1729 Oct 16 '13 at 18:49
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It seems to me that the question can be summarized as: a user flagged a question for moderator attention, but the reason given would have been more appropriate as the reason for a close vote.

Of course the moderators are unlikely to act on that, unless the question is blatantly abusive. If the question is just "bad in a usual way", the usual close system will have to deal with it. In the case at hand, it looks like the usual close system did deal with it.

If users do not have enough reputation to vote to close, they are unfortunately prevented from participating in that system, but the solution is for them to ask and answer questions until they get enough rep, not to use the flagging system to bypass the reputation limit.

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  • $\begingroup$ The problem with this answer is that it is saying "If you see something bad then you might want to just leave it alone until someone else sees it, unless it is just so bad." I disagree, rather I think the moral should be "flag, but don't really mind if it is declined". The problem with the flag in this specific instance was that it was a free-form one rather than a close-reason one. Flagging would still have been appropriate, just not this specific type of flag. $\endgroup$ – user1729 Oct 16 '13 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ What are the moderators going to do, though? Because a close vote from a moderator counts as a super-vote and instantly closes the question, the moderators usually refrain from voting to close unless the question is blatantly against site policies. If there is any room for discretion, they should let the usual close system do its job. So, for the flag mentioned in the question, it is essentially guaranteed that the moderators will decline to act, because the issue at hand (whether that particular question should be closed) is not theirs to decide. There's no benefit to leaving such flags. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Oct 16 '13 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ I see now that you said essentially the same thing in a comment below the question. $\endgroup$ – Carl Mummert Oct 16 '13 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I was about to point out my comment! :-) My point is that the problem you talk about is with this specific kind of flag. I am not a 10k user, but I understand that if you don't pick the free-form flag then 10k users see the flag (although this is just from reading Asaf's comment, above, and the flagging reasons have subsequently changed, so perhaps this has changed too?). Thus, standard flagging would have been appropriate, but free-form would not have. No? $\endgroup$ – user1729 Oct 16 '13 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ @user1729 It's worth noting that the question is dated by April, and the flag mechanism changed since then. $\endgroup$ – user100000 Oct 16 '13 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ @user100045 Yup - read my above sentence in the parenthesis :-) (Although I was unaware of just how much they have changed - your answer is certainly useful. Also, you should have arrived on this site 45 users sooner!) $\endgroup$ – user1729 Oct 16 '13 at 13:47

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