I had ~20 flags declined, and I do not know why. In addition, I posted to the "Ask a SU mod" chatroom why and did not hear back (hence me posting here).

Why were these flags declined?

EDIT: As a response to Diago's answer (now gone, not sure why) I would say a few things:

  1. I appreciate the fact that you don't want to deal with a lot of flags all at once, and in some small sense, I am sorry for that.
  2. That is NOT however, a reason to just mark the flags as invalid. I do not exactly know how mods deal with flags, but I believe that it is possible to not review the flags in order. As mentioned by someone (I think @Breakthrough) if you don't have time/patience to review the flags, then don't, but that is a terrible reason to mark them as invalid.
  3. To echo @Daniel Beck and I believe others (Breakthrough as well?) I acted with the best of intentions (as evidenced to some extent by my 700+ flag weight before this), in accordance with many meta posts, and made it clear, in act (this was not the first time I flagged so many things) and in word (I made a post asking for more flags) that this is what I was going to do to a greater or lesser extent.
  4. Finally, to quote someone else (don't remember who, apologies) it is not possible to spam flags. I don't think that the issue is that the flags were bad. I think (and I think that most people agree with me) that a valid flag should get marked as such no matter how many there are in the queue.

In response to Nhinkle: (Sorry, its way to long to fit into comments)

  • First, thank you for your thoughtful response.
  • Second, one of the things that bothered me most about this whole thing was the amount of time it took to get this kind of well thought out response.
  • Third, I understand moderators make mistakes, and generally speaking, they are not that big a deal (i.e. the fat finger error mentioned by Daniel Beck).
  • However what annoyed me most about this was the combination of
    • scale (it was applied to 22 flags I think)
    • the lack of care (it seemed in his answer that it was just an "its filling up the queue so I'll get rid of it cause I don't want to deal with it" (not hard quote obviously) type of thing)
    • the seeming lack of knowledge of the meta posts / mod comments etc that made me do what I did (quoted superbly by Daniel Beck)
    • but most importantly, a total disregard for what the "root cause" of this was. I would normally assume that
      1. rejecting 22 flags in a row from a single user is extremely atypical and that
      2. doing this to a user that has a flag weight of 700+ is even more exceptional.
  • I would hope, that if something that "off" for lack of a better word were to happen, there would be more patience, and not just a "I can't get to chat right now cause I'm at work, so without being able to know what was going on, I'll effectively nullify what amounts to around 250 good flags.
  • I do not mean to suggest that he was deliberately out to do this.
  • I do mean to suggest that when mods are taking such "large" actions they should be more careful / thoughtful.
  • As semi-summary, when a mod makes a careless mistake and acknowledges it upfront, I don't have an issue. When its broad, with (at least to the user) high impact, repeated, and not really acknowledged (by the mod in question) I expect better.

I do wish that there is a way to restore my flag weight. I understand that it has little to no relevance for mods as to whether or not my flag gets seen but it matters quite a bit to me. It is a representation of the time that I have spent cleaning up the community, and that means something to me I guess, in the same way the rep does. The fact that it does not confer extra privileges is of no concern to me.

  • 1
    I have heard of flags being declined because you have the ability to Vote to Close/delete - it has been done with users before. That may be why. Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 16:30
  • 11
    You went from 700+ flag weight to 510 in a matter of minutes?
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 17:24
  • 1
    @Daniel 1 invalid flag dropped me over 10 points, its crazy once you're over 600 Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 17:43
  • 3
    @Daniel, yeah, and i'm annoyed at it.
    – soandos
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 17:50
  • @Simon I know, and it bothers me as well. I still haven't regained the -10 from the last "bad" flag weeks ago.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 18:52
  • 6
    My comment was deleted with Diago's answer, so for posterity: @oandos just acted according to multiple ♦'s suggestions in these comments, linking this and this as link to infinite flag weight. He even asked whether votes could be increased, as his 40+ clearly weren't sufficient for his plans. It's not like this came out of nowhere.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 19:50
  • Here is a filtered comment thread with respect to the deletion of Diago's answer as it contains reasoning that was part of the whole and not just his answer. I think it's reasonable for him to remove his answer given that this is not related to a single moderator so he doesn't necessarily have to defend himself... Commented Aug 31, 2011 at 23:52
  • @Daniel and Tom, thank you. I would like some kind of response from moderator/s though.
    – soandos
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 0:01

1 Answer 1


Note: these flag decisions were reversed, and soandos's flag weight was restored. This discussion remains for historical completeness, but the issue has been resolved.

These flags were declined because of a misunderstanding and some miscommunication. We're still having some discussions among the moderators about how to handle things like this in the future. I am going to try to sum things up in a fair and unbiased manner. Please, let's try to keep the comments calm and polite - remember, moderators are humans too, and can make mistakes.

  • The flags were marked invalid because a moderator felt that quantity of delete flags in that amount of time was excessive.
  • There was a sentiment that moderators should not be removing vast quantities of questions at once with no community involvement, and that vote-to-delete privileges should be exercised for this purpose.
  • In the future, if you have a long list of questions that you think ought to be removed, it would be preferable to post them in a list on Meta, so that there is some community involvement in the removal process.
  • We have a vote to close/delete chat room which can be used for the community to coordinate working together to remove low quality posts
  • The general policy for handling flags is that if it appears the user was trying to be helpful, we mark the flag as valid, but this is not always the case.

This was a very isolated case, in which a moderator was unaware that users had been specifically asked to flag questions for deletion under certain criteria, and felt that the deluge of flags was excessive. Rest assured that we do want you to continue flagging posts when you see a problem! There are some times when other means might be better, but please don't be afraid to flag things.

Also, to put this in some perspective: although your flag weight dropped significantly, which is understandably very frustrating, our flag quee is normally short enough that it doesn't really matter. I know this may be of little consolation, but your flags are still being seen. Honestly, flag weight is not nearly the big deal that a lot of people make it out to be. That being said, your concerns about the sudden large drop are valid.

So, in the future, here is what I would recommend:

  • As you browse the site, if you happen across stuff that should be removed, feel free to flag it. Adding a bit more explanation (not just saying "Please delete", but why) helps add context to the flag.
  • If you're doing a major clean-up effort, then it might be better to put everything in a meta post and let the moderators and users with vote-to-delete privileges work through it at their own pace. This allows more community involvement and doesn't unnecessarily add to the flag queue
  • If you are flagging things because of the recommendations on a particular meta post, include a link to it in your flag, for example, please delete - see discussion of clean-up efforts in meta.superuser.com/foo/bar. This way the moderators know you aren't just randomly asking for dozens of questions to be removed.

I'm sorry that this misunderstanding arose. I don't know if there will be any further resolution from this or not, but we are discussing it and will see what happens. In the meantime, remember that flag weight is just a number, and this is just a website. If you keep contributing helpful flags like you have been, it'll go back up. Moderators are human too, sometimes mistakes are made. Let's just take this as a learning opportunity on both sides, and hope we don't have a problem like this again.

  • See revised question. My response would not have fit in several comments, Sorry (and the fact that I can format in the question does not hurt either).
    – soandos
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 2:22
  • @soandos thanks for your response. With regard to the time it takes to form a response: remember, moderators often are only able to step in for a few moments here and there. When there is something drastic like that, I agree that it would be nice if the mod could step in and talk, it's true that sometimes that just isn't practical. I refrained from posting my own response at first because I was not the mod who made the decisions. When you have a team working from all across the world in different time zones and with busy personal lives, it can be hard to coordinate in a timely manner.
    – nhinkle
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 2:51
  • 1
    I agree that this was not handled as well as it could have been; it's been a learning experience for everyone involved. I don't know if there's any chance of your flag weight being reinstated or not - that's something moderators can't change, and to my knowledge, has never been manually changed by a dev modifying the database. It's an extreme circumstance though, so there is some chance that it could be reversed. You would have to email [email protected] to ask about that, or wait and see if they post anything here.
    – nhinkle
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 2:52
  • This has been an unfortunate situation, but I think we can all acknowledge that mistakes were made and learned from. I believe that we will not see this problem again in the future - it was a very isolated case. I'm sure you understand that as a moderator, I can't really take sides - I understand why this moderator took the actions he did, and I understand your frustrations with it. Beyond that, I will refrain from expressing any personal opinions on the subject. Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for being willing to have a dialogue with us about it.
    – nhinkle
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 2:56
  • I will wait a day I think, then send that e-mail. Thank you for everything. As a heads up I guess, I will most probably be doing some random clean up pretty regularly, and I will make sure to mention that meta post (even though I would assume that mods would know about it).
    – soandos
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 2:57
  • sending e-mail.
    – soandos
    Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 5:01
  • @soandos Any news?
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 12:47
  • I got this in chat from a dev: "soandos, we did receive your email and I am looking into it."
    – soandos
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 14:08
  • 1
    @Daniel, weight restored :)
    – soandos
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 19:18
  • @soandos very nice, and good call by the devs. Good luck getting up to 749 ;)
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 19:57

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