Why can I flag something multiple times, and why can I get different results from each flag?

I flagged a post one day, for "misinformation". Another day, while I was reviewing, I came to the same post, but not recognizing it, I flagged it again, for the same reason. I was surprised when, looking back at my flagging history, I found that I had flagged it twice, and that both flags were deemed valid. I decided that though it was strange, I would try again. My third and identical flag was deemed invalid, so that I have a total of three identical flags on the same post, two of which are valid, and one of which is invalid. Why is this?

(There is another post I have flagged three times identically, and each time the flag was considered valid.)


I dismissed your flag because moderators aren't supposed to make judgements on whether a particular answer is "right" or "wrong". Wrong posts should be downvoted; only non-answers, answers with extremely poor quality, spam answers, and offensive answers should be deleted.

As for why the same flag may be dismissed multiple ways, that's because each individual flag must have a decision made. While I agree with your flag, there's nothing I can do about it. Other mods may take a different stance, because this is the type of borderline case where an argument for both "valid" and "invalid" can be made.

  • I see. That makes sense. So I can flag repeatedly, but I should try not to flag as "misinformation"? – Daniel Jul 20 '11 at 0:51
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    @drm65 If a flag already has "valid" or "invalid" next to it, we've probably already taken all the action we can (or are in the process of doing so), so I'm afraid there's rarely a point to flagging something twice. – waiwai933 Jul 20 '11 at 0:53
  • Except to rack up flag weight? Or is that unacceptable? – Daniel Jul 20 '11 at 0:56
  • @drm65 Flag weight is not to be gamed, only gained through appropriate flagging—if we see clear signs of gaming, it's abuse of the system. Also, you don't need to worry about flag weight—it's for the use of the moderators, and not something that people should be concerned about. – waiwai933 Jul 20 '11 at 0:57
  • I stand rebuked. I'll see I don't do it in future. Thanks for letting me know! – Daniel Jul 20 '11 at 0:59

I dismissed your flags as "valid" because they were "valid" in the sense that you were bringing up a valid point about the post and they didn't constitute noise or a waste of my time to consider. But, as waiwai933 said, there was no action to take based on your flag. So I guess in that sense, they were "invalid" but I reserve "invalid" for flags that I find annoy me or I disagree with.

  • So you are the one who gave me 20 flag weight from those flags? :-) – Daniel Jul 20 '11 at 0:52
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    I guess so... for now I am trying to reward any flagging that is not blatantly a waste of everyone's time as 'valid' to encourage more flagging. – nohat Jul 20 '11 at 0:53
  • OK. I am interested in being a Deputy, so I'm encouraged by your viewpoint here. ;) – Daniel Jul 20 '11 at 0:55

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