7

I posted a VLQ flag on a one-liner answer with no definition, reference or link, and which had been answered with the same word more than three years earlier. Noun for "a person who deeply appreciates aesthetics"

The word you're looking for may be "aesthete".

deleted from review 7 hours ago by NVZ, Dan Bron, pyobum, Glorfindel, Skooba, Hank

answered 18 hours ago

7 This answer has already been posted, and with a definition, source and link. – ab2 18 hours ago

Just puzzled! Did my flag come too soon after the answer was posted and so was automatically declined because I gave the poster no opportunity to improve his answer?

  • 7
    Don't stress about declined flags. They're as imaginary as reputation points, and no one has a perfect flagging history. What matters is whether overall your flags have been helpful to the community, not whether here or there a mod has disagreed with you. Same thing as the odd drive-by downvote: it's going to happen, it does not matter in any meaningful way, and so the appropriate attitude is to shrug. – Dan Bron Feb 21 '17 at 12:08
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    @Dan Bron Thanks, but I am not stressed, but I always want to know WHY? – ab2 Feb 21 '17 at 13:48
9

On your 'flag summary' page, ab2, check to see whether the reason that the moderator gave for declining the flag looked like this:

declined - flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention

—because that's the message I received in response to my VLQ flag on the very same question you ask about.

Maybe a mod got annoyed that we flagged the post instead of marking it for deletion (although it was deleted just 11 hours after posting). Or maybe the mod was just having a bad day. Or maybe there has been a sea change in mods' tolerance for flags that don't "require their intervention."

I had always imagined that when an answer garners enough delete votes to trigger deletion, any flags associated with the answer switch off (meaning that mods don't have to deal with those flags at all), and that flags remain live only when too few delete votes are recorded to delete the answer within some arbitrary period (say, a week). If that's the case, I don't know why any moderator should have been made aware of our flags in this particular instance, since that should have happened only if the answer were still live after the arbitrary period had elapsed—unless we had flagged the answer for spam, rude/abusive, or a customized reason, which we did not.

Flaggers have also received advice from moderators at various times to flag answers that don't seem salvageable, as for example in these comments by MetaEd to Why was my VLQ flag rejected?:

Consider that a Very Low Quality flag is a flag for deletion. But a wrong or unreliable answer is still valuable to readers because it attracts downvotes. A downvoted answer warns a reader “don’t go this way”. A deleted answer does not have the opportunity to warn readers of anything. Also, moderators have been told we are not arbitrators of whether an answer is wrong. That decision is left to the whole community by way of up- and downvotes. Deletion is for answers on which a downvote would be wasted: answers that are not even wrong.

...

In short, if the answer is right or wrong, reliable or unreliable, vote it up or down. Otherwise, if unsalvageable, flag it.

Since I can't both flag a bad question and vote to delete it (unless I leave the review queue), I have often flagged rather than voted to delete VLQs and NAAs. That way, if the votes cast for deleting a bad question don't reach its threshold for deletion, a moderator will see the flag for reviewing the still-live answer after it has been up for a week and can judge whether to delete it anyway. On other occasions, I jump to the original answer and both flag it and vote to delete it; however, if you try to do this in the wrong order, you'll find that you can't do both.

If the moderator's reason for declining our flags represents a shift in policy by EL&U mods as a group, I will submit fewer flags in future. My intention never was to make work for moderators; it was to reduce the likelihood that bad answers might slip through the review process unscathed.


Update (2/22/17)

In a series of comments below this answer, Janus Bahs Jacquet clarified what must have happened to the VLQ flags that ab2 and I left on the original post in question. In the event that his explanation gets deleted for some reason, I will reproduce it here:

The flags we're dealing with here were definitely declined by a mod, not a queue: the reviewers unanimously voted to delete, and a decline reason was given, which is only an option for mods. But that reason makes no sense whatsoever for a VLQ flag since those do not require moderator intervention.

It would be quite out of character and completely pointless for any of our mods to decline a flag that requires no mod action with a statement that flags should not be used to make mods aware of things that do not require their intervention. The only logical conclusion is that the message was [not] in response to ab and Sven’s flags, but to a “requires moderator intervention” flag which we obviously cannot see.

I remember mods saying in the past that when declining flags, it is not possible to do so individually: all pending flags are declined at once; so declining an incorrect “requires moderator intervention” would automatically also decline ab and Sven’s correct VLQ flags. [See "Disputing flag reviews".]

The upshot is that the moderators weren't annoyed at the VLQ flags from ab2 and me in connection with this post, and their standards for finding such flags helpful haven't changed. Instead, the VLQ flags that ab2 and I submitted got bundled with a flag that required a moderator response—and when the moderator rejected that flag, the other flags on the same post got rejected, too, en masse.

Thanks for solving the mystery here, Janus!

  • 1
    As far as I know, VLQ flags do not require moderator intervention—mods would likely never have seen your VLQ flags unless they came across them in the review queue. However, if I recall correctly, the way the system is set up moderators decline all flags when declining one. So if someone flagged this answer for moderator attention, that flag should certainly be declined, and your VLQ flags would probably be declined with the same message, as collateral damage. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 22 '17 at 12:31
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    The answer was deleted from the Low Quality review queue, so your flag(s) definitely did put it there and caused it to be reviewed accordingly. I too believe that flags are ‘switched off’ when the review is complete, but if the moderator decline came before the review was complete, that would take precedence. (Also, I don’t think spam flags go to the mods, nor even rude/abusive flags. Only custom flags, i.e., “requires moderator intervention” do.) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 22 '17 at 12:39
  • @JanusBahsJacquet No, I think you have got it all wrong, or at least most part of it. 1/3 – NVZ Feb 22 '17 at 17:59
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    @JanusBahsJacquet All flags reach the moderators. They can take action on it or leave it hanging for a while. If 6 or so "spam" or "abusive" flags are cast on a post with low score, it gets deleted automatically. If "vlq" or "naa" flags are cast on a post, the post first enters the community review queues, and after, say, 15 minutes or so, enters the moderator's queue. Most of the time, mods simply let the community reviewers handle the flagged "vlq/naa" post. 2/3 – NVZ Feb 22 '17 at 18:02
  • @JanusBahsJacquet if mods ignore their vlq/naa queues, then if community reviewers deleted the post, all flags are marked helpful, and if community reviewers differ in their choices, all flags are marked "disputed", and if all reviewers choose "looks okay", all flags are declined. 3/3 – NVZ Feb 22 '17 at 18:05
  • @NVZ All flags can be seen by mods, of course, yes. I meant that those votes primarily go into community queues—that is their purpose. They do not require moderator intervention, but can be handled by the community. Also, flags are not necessarily marked as helpful if reviewers deletes the post, only if they do so unanimously. If the post is deleted but with differing votes, flags are marked as disputed. And as far as I can tell from my own flags, even when all reviewers choose “looks okay”, the flag is only disputed. Every declined flag I have was declined by a mod, not a queue. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 22 '17 at 18:30
  • The flags we're dealing with here were definitely declined by a mod, not a queue: the reviewers unanimously voted to delete, and a decline reason was given, which is only an option for mods. But that reason makes no sense whatsoever for a VLQ flag since those do not require moderator intervention. It would be quite out of character and completely pointless for any of our mods to decline a flag that requires no mod action with a statement that flags should not be used to make mods aware of things that do not require their intervention. The only logical conclusion is that the message was -> – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 22 '17 at 18:38
  • -> in response to ab and Sven’s flags, but to a “requires moderator intervention” flag which we obviously cannot see. I remember mods saying in the past that when declining flags, it is not possible to do so individually: all pending flags are declined at once; so declining an incorrect “requires moderator intervention” would automatically also decline ab and Sven’s correct VLQ flags. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 22 '17 at 18:41
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    Ah, found it (an old question of my own, even): flags are always handled in bulk. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 22 '17 at 18:47
  • @JanusBahsJacquet funny thing is, I was referring that linked question of yours also, without realizing it was... yours! :D – NVZ Feb 22 '17 at 19:09
  • @Janus Bahs Jacquet So Sven and I were collateral casualties? – ab2 Feb 22 '17 at 22:56
  • @ab2 I would say almost certainly so, yes. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 22 '17 at 22:56
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    As a mod on another site, I can tell you for sure that flags of different types are not always handled in bulk. It's perfectly possible to decline a spam flag and approve a NaA flag on the same post. It's not possible to decline one NaA flag and approve another, but why would you want to do that anyway - flags that are exactly the same should be treated exactly the same no matter who they come from. – Rand al'Thor Feb 27 '17 at 11:52
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    Also, I can't think of any situation when "flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention" would be an appropriate decline reason for a VLQ flag. VLQ flags are by design not simply moderator attention flags; they send a bad post to the Low Quality Posts review queue where the community can vote to delete it. So by raising a VLQ flag, you're not even trying to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention - you're marking the post for community review and potential deletion, in the best way possible. – Rand al'Thor Feb 27 '17 at 11:56
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    @SvenYargs: At the risk of picking nits, the premise of part of your answer is technically incorrect: ab2 is still under 20K rep and therefore doesn’t have the privilege to vote to delete answers (except in the context of the Low Quality Review Queue, and, of course, flagging a post is the only way to push it into the review queue). – Scott Mar 1 '17 at 8:23
4

If a duplicate answer posted hours later adds nothing new to what is explained by existing answers, then it should be removed to reduce clutter. 1

I used to think such duplicates don't deserve VLQ or NAA flags, as they often are valid answers, albeit of okay quality. And I was reluctant to downvote them and thereby give up my brownie points, as such answers are not technically incorrect.

I had at times used a custom flag, and elevator pitched mods to remove a duplicate, and I'd say there's a 50/50 chance of getting my flag declined, and if so, sometimes with a message that goes like "use standard flags for this".

So nowadays I lean more towards 1, but sometimes I try 2, where I:

  1. Downvote and leave a comment about how it's a pointless duplicate, perhaps guilt-tripping the answerer into deleting it. 2
  2. Take the risk of getting flags declined and go ahead with a standard VLQ flag for borderline low quality duplicates, hoping that the community's review queues handle the matter before some mod decides to visit the moderator's review queue.

And if I had 20k points, I'd maybe try replacing 2 with "use my own delete votes".

And if I were asked to make a feature request, it'd be something like this:

Six or so "pointless duplicate" standard flags from users with 3k or so should automatically delete the duplicate answer, given that it has less than a certain score.

3

Your flag was most likely declined by a moderator who might have considered the answer to be technically correct (so NAA flag would be declined) and salvageable by fleshing out the answer (so VLQ flag would be declined).

It has happened to me at times when I flag such duplicates as VLQ. The response I get varies as does the moderator who handled the flags.

  • 1
    I would expect a moderator to decline a NaA flag on a technically incorrect answer. See MetaEd’s statement: “But a wrong or unreliable answer is still valuable to readers …” Some people state a policy that an answer should be deleted only when it’s not even wrong. – Scott Mar 1 '17 at 8:24
  • @Scott That is correct. – NVZ Mar 1 '17 at 9:39

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