Today I saw this question and flagged it as Very low quality because as far I know, it doesn't belong here and should be closed or should me migrated.

I usually flag a lot of questions as Very low quality and my flag is marked as "helpful" when the question is migrated). But my flag was declined and I got -10 flag weight.

The moderator said:

"declined - question has details and is clear; only thing off is where it is located, nothing speaks VLQ"

I don't agree. Even if it was migrated, it was a very low quality for SU.

As this post says:

Flag actions are applied to all users who flag a post, regardless of what they flag it with. Any moderator action such as closing or deleting a post will automatically mark all flags as valid. If the moderator manually marks the flags as valid or invalid, that action applies to all flags on the post.

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    The point is, next time flag it as being off-topic not VLQ. The response is meant to educate you on the correct usage of the flags, that's all – Ivo Flipse Jan 16 '12 at 18:51
  • @DiogoRocha Didn't you have a Meta topic on a similar issue just two weeks ago or so? – Daniel Beck Mod Jan 16 '12 at 18:57
  • The quote you put in does not relate to this topic. It says that the flag actions are applied automatically unless the moderator chooses not to do it. Please remove that, it's distracting from the issue and Daniel has already explained to you why. – slhck Jan 16 '12 at 21:25
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    VLQ does not guarantee migration or flag weight, don't game the system and just do like anyone else here. VLQ is only applicable where there are severe formatting or content problems, in such way that we can't edit the post and thus it has to be DELETED. That's right, flagging it as VLQ is with the intent to get the post deleted. We simply have close reasons when there are other unrelated problems with the post... – Tamara Wijsman Jan 16 '12 at 23:10

You have the reputation required to vote to close questions as off topic or to have them migrated to a different site. When you flag to have something migrated, you're using the tools you're given the wrong way.

Whether a question is on topic on this site is completely independent of its quality. The question you linked to is, IMO, not low quality. Low quality means:

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

None of this is the case. The question's formatting is very good, and its content is substantial and easy to understand. It's not on topic on this site, correct, but your flag was still wrong.

The most important thing to keep in mind is the following: You flag to help the moderators keep order on the site. In the flag reason, you tell them why you flag a question. In many cases, I use the free-text input field to explain it in more detail.

As you can imagine, the handful of moderators we have often need to deal with many flags. In some extreme cases, they're simply overwhelmed. This is probably very rare, but still. The point of flagging is not to increase your flag weight, but to help moderators keep the site clean.

Once you've used the site for a while, and by participating and contributing have shown you know how the site "works", you get additional privileges. The relevant privilege here is vote to close. The site owners trust you to know what is an appropriate topic on the site, and what isn't, and with a few other users, you can close topics without moderator involvement. This helps keep their workload down.

That's why, starting with 3000, you don't flag as e.g. off topic, but vote to close. When you view the flag dialog, you'll notice "This question does not belong here".

enter image description here

This is what you should have clicked all along, and it will open the vote to close dialog instead:

enter image description here

Now, below 3000 reputation, it looks like the following (screenshot from a different Stack Exchange site where I have 300 or so reputation):

enter image description here

Under no circumstances do you need to flag as "very low quality". If the question doesn't belong, there's a list item for it. Below 3000 reputation, it will result in a flag. Above it, in a vote.

By selecting "very low quality", you simply aren't helping. You have the privilege, through your reputation level, to vote to close and should have started using it a long time ago. Yet you continue to flag instead, for a wrong reason which requires moderators to do what you should have been doing, which is voting to close, and requires them to decipher the flag message: Since the question is not very low quality, your flag doesn't make sense. And that's why your flag was rejected.

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    @DiogoRocha your flag weight itself should never be a goal in itself. Granted it may feel a bit harsh to be set back 10 points, but there's no way to correct you without declining your flag. – Ivo Flipse Jan 16 '12 at 19:09
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    @DiogoRocha The topic you link to says exactly what I wrote: You can VTC, so don't flag. What's your point? – Daniel Beck Mod Jan 16 '12 at 19:11
  • @Diogo If you want to read it all again, I'd suggest: What is with these invalid flags? – slhck Jan 16 '12 at 19:13
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    Also, if you say (quoting you): "flagged it as "Very low quality" because as far I know, it doens't belongs here and should be closed or should me migrated", then you need to check the flag reasons again. You probably want "off topic". But even then, only use this if there is no default migration path for the site you think the question should be migrated to. – slhck Jan 16 '12 at 19:16
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    @DiogoRocha When you had below 3000 reputation, you were able to flag questions as off topic. This disappeared when you gained the ability to vote to close. That you were able to successfully flag as low quality after that when you should have been voting is simply goodwill by the moderators. You flag for a reason that simply does not apply to the topic at hand. You were simply using the wrong tool. Now you know, and now you can act appropriately. FWIW, 90+% of my flagging is not an answer, and I don't get to flag very much because of that. – Daniel Beck Mod Jan 16 '12 at 19:28
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    @DiogoRocha If moderator reaction on your flags has been inconsistent, then indeed that should not happen. However, the way moderators should handle has been clear for a long time, and obviously they've let you pass with your flags until now. Of course, you were just trying to be helpful, but this is in a way abusing the system. And you can't say the reaction wasn't right, was it? – slhck Jan 16 '12 at 19:36
  • @Diogo What exactly was last year? Can you link to any post or chat message? – slhck Jan 16 '12 at 20:16
  • @DiogoRocha They can reject a flag and still act on the topic. – Daniel Beck Mod Jan 16 '12 at 20:24
  • @DiogoRocha The topic you linked to says: If a moderator processes a post with one or more flags, all flags are marked valid automatically, regardless what the post was flagged with. Unless the moderator rejects the flags first, which is what happened in your case: Your flag was rejected, and then the question was migrated. So that topic just does not apply here (you'll note the question is completely unrelated). – Daniel Beck Mod Jan 16 '12 at 20:29
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    @DiogoRocha That's the whole point. Since you are allowed to vote, you are supposed to vote. Voting to close questions that don't belong here completely replaces Flagging questions that don't belong here. I know, you get no flag weight for it. Tough. That's why I'm not at 749 either. Deal with it. But cheating the system by selecting the wrong option, which results in considerably more work for moderators isn't the solution here. – Daniel Beck Mod Jan 16 '12 at 20:54
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    @DiogoRocha You said yourself in your question: "as far I know, it doesn't belong here and should be closed or should me migrated". Yet you did not click on "This question does not belong here" (see screenshots in my edited answer), but selected a different reason just so you get the reward for it. That is cheating the system and you damn well know it, you said it yourself: "if i was doing this i would not have flag weight bonus" – Daniel Beck Mod Jan 16 '12 at 21:13
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    > "it needed to some moderator get the question and move to another forum" — No, it did not. And the post you've linked to says that you should just vote to close instead of flagging. – slhck Jan 16 '12 at 21:20
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    @DiogoRocha What did you learn in the linked topic? You obviously did not learn to flag properly. It simply explains what to do in what situation, and you're not doing it. – Daniel Beck Mod Jan 16 '12 at 21:21
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    @DiogoRocha "I was flagging because it needed to some moderator get the question and move to another forum" That's simply not true. You have the ability to vote to close, which works without any moderator involvement, so it didn't need moderator attention. See my answer again. You are trusted to do the right thing, and you deliberately don't. – Daniel Beck Mod Jan 16 '12 at 21:22
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    @DiogoRocha your own arguments are working against you, in the post you linked (meta.superuser.com/q/3154/79358) it states for migration to a site not listed in the list for you to "Vote to close as off-topic and flag for ♦ moderator attention using the free-text box." NOT by flagging as VLQ (which it isn't) as you seemingly have been doing. VLQ is not a subjective "VLQ for me" or "VLQ for my site", it's VLQ for everyone, on every site. This site is about helping people, not gaming the point systems. – Mokubai Mod Jan 16 '12 at 21:32

You should use "very low quality" for posts that are very low quality. The post you flagged was not very low quality.

If a post is "off topic", you should, according to How should my flagging change when I gain the ability to vote to close?:

  • If you're below 3k:

    Flag as off topic with the appropriate site selected, or a custom message.

  • If you're above 3k:

    • Vote to close as off topic if there is a site you can select (e.g. Web Applications).
    • Vote to close as off topic and flag, if there's no site you can select (e.g. Wordpress).

And, to emphasize again:

Do not flag for moderator attention when you already have the power to close and migrate questions.

This was made clear in this Meta.SU post.


You're abusing the use of very low quality flags. They're not supposed to be a user's way of making a moderator close, migrate or edit if you're at a level of reputation to do any of those things. For those below, they're your training wheels until you can.

(Migration requests via mod flags to other non-pre-selected sites is a different case and should explain why and where.)

Very low quality flags should only be made on posts that are so horrible, so off their face or just should not exist anywhere and have no hope of salvation through edits. A question posted at the wrong site, and being its only mar, does not qualify.

That you managed to get previous VLQ flags accepted as helpful is either goodwill, processed with other valid flags or simple oversight.

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    @DiogoRocha You're taking this very personally, which shouldn't happen. Getting flag weight means you've helped the site, and flagging where it's needed helps the moderation team a lot. Just keep it up. I've also had 3 flags rejected, but I really don't care about that. There are really more important things than this. – slhck Jan 16 '12 at 19:55
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    @DiogoRocha The point is, you flagged something that did not require moderator attention, and you flagged it with the wrong reason. You might have been lucky that your older flags passed, probably because the moderators that acted on them thought, "Okay, he only wants to help". But, the rules are actually a bit different, and declining your flag was just a way of making this clear. I know that this can be upsetting — I still don't understand why my 3 flags were declined after all, but in the end, I still got 750 flag weight. It's not like you've been banned from flagging. – slhck Jan 16 '12 at 20:23
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    Please just continue participating. Nobody personally wants to harm you.. but take this as a chance to look into the proper flagging etiquette. – slhck Jan 16 '12 at 20:25

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