I flagged this post as Very Low Quality. The flag was declined.

Was this flag declined correctly?

I changed the flag based on the helpful feedback by moderator Mokubai. In the interest of not making the same mistake again, I took a look at the flagging options to try to determine why I applied the incorrect flag.

Reading the question (it was part of my review queue), I realized something was wrong with it. My options were:

  • spam - no, definitely not spam
  • rude or abusive - no, definitely not
  • should be closed - well, that seemed a bit harsh; there is no real question, but as Mokubai pointed out, there is an implied question
  • a duplicate - no, none of which I was aware
  • very low quality - yes, seems to be very low quality
  • in need of moderator attention - no, nothing that severe

Consequently, given the UI presented by the StackExchange system, I made what seemed like the best choice (very low quality).

I agree with Mokubai's assessment and analysis; perhaps the StackExchange UI can be improved to help reviewers make more appropriate choices. I am willing to help, if asked.


1 Answer 1


As the flag states:

This question has severe formatting or content problems. This question is unlikely to be salvageable through editing, and might need to be removed.

While there is no real question in the question itself it is implied that they have a problem, an error message is given and they would like help. It can be edited to make it usable and/or useful. It doesn't really need to be removed because it's not a stream of complete gibberish or unintelligible rubbish.

The meaning is reasonably clear, if poorly formatted and phrased. It is salvageable and therefore not VLQ.

What you could have done though is gone to Flag -> Should be Closed -> then either Unclear what you are asking or Too broad.

So, yes, it was correctly declined.

If anything "Should be closed" should be changed to "Should be put on hold". This is closer to what actually happens and has the benefit of sounding less like a final proclamation and more like "Your question is important to us, all our operators are currently busy."

It would also have the benefit of removing the slightly harsh tone from "should be closed".

In theory we no longer "close" questions but put them on hold pending needed improvements. If improvements fail to happen they they convert to a close and if nothing continues to happen then the roomba will probably viciously maul it's ankles off. If someone edits it to bring it into line then awesome! It can be reopened and live a long and productive life.

Though in fairness while I can see that the question is quite low quality, it (to me) is not excessively low quality. I can see why you would have chosen that flag as it is somewhat low quality, it just fails to live up to the "very" modifier.

The VLQ flag is a difficult flag to deal with, mainly because we all have different standards for what is very low quality. For some low quality is anything that doesn't meet their exacting standards. I recommend you apply the exact criteria of how the detail of the flag is written and ask the question "could this be edited?" before using it.

We used to have another painful catch-all flag for questions: Not A Real Question. Now that was good and vague but could have worked here...

Think of it this way: VLQ and NAA (Not An Answer) are the way you tell the community and mods "I want this dead". "Should be put on hold" is more like "this isn't quite good enough but you can improve it by doing X, Y and Z."

VLQ is the step below "rude or abusive". The content should be deleted but isn't actively harmful to the community.

  • Thank you for the details and explanation. I have applied the correct flag per your explanation. Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 23:06

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