I flagged this answer with the note "pictures are a little excessive" and the flag was dismissed as invalid. I would like to publicly note that this is a terrible, terrible precedent. The images are completely unnecessary and are taking up far too much space to be helpful. Perhaps one and then a list of text example would work? In any case, I strongly disapprove of this behavior.

Even more, I don't think people should be penalized with an invalid flag for noting something like this. No action being taken is fair, as this is a judgement call, but I don't think bringing such a post to the attention of the moderators is a bad thing. I don't personally care about me getting this particular invalid but I hate the idea that anyone who flags posts like these will stop doing so.

To be fair to the poster, I have waged war on images in other SE sites and lost.

  • If 10K users gets a flag like that, they can't do anything other than either agree with it, or mark it as invalid. Well, I suppose they can ignore the flag, but then it'll keep coming back up on the list. But there isn't a "take no action" choice.
    – Marthaª
    Commented Aug 15, 2011 at 20:21
  • @Marthaª: A 10K user's "this flag is invalid" flag does not lower flag weight. It actually causes no flag weight to be gained or lost by the original flagger, regardless of the final dismissal by the moderator.
    – mmyers
    Commented Aug 15, 2011 at 20:34
  • Only diamond users can mark a flag as invalid; if I would mark it as invalid, I would really mark it as disputed.
    – apaderno
    Commented Aug 15, 2011 at 20:45
  • oh wow that was DEFINITELY valid. Scary large post-ruining images. I can only assume it was a slip of the mouse click from the moderators. Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 14:47
  • Why on earth wouldn't you leave a comment for the author upon seeing something like that? He might do it again!
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 15:22
  • @Shog: It isn't my job. That may seem flippant but any further discussion is more appropriate for a private discussion.
    – MrHen
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 23:37

2 Answers 2


As a moderator on Stack Overflow, I often dismiss flags as invalid when the flagger could easily have taken care of the problem himself. I don't know if the moderators here follow the same convention.

I just cleaned up the post by setting the image widths to 100 pixels and moving them into the same line.

  • 1
    Honestly, I think that is a terrible convention. The only feedback the user gets is "Invalid." If there was a, "Invalid because you could have handled this yourself" dismissal, great. But even then, the whole reason I flagged this is because I didn't want to take care of the problem myself. And it isn't because I am lazy. There are at least three reasons and one of them isn't something I should talk about publicly.
    – MrHen
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 13:16
  • @MrHen: I should clarify a bit. My "often" is in the case that the flagger could and should have done something, which is actually a very, very small percentage of flags. And even then, there could be other surrounding issues that were worth bringing up, so the flag would be valid in that case.
    – mmyers
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 17:33
  • 1
    Fair enough. I didn't feel like putting all of the reasonings into the flag; I just trimmed it down so that the point was intact.
    – MrHen
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 23:36

As mmyers said, the problem could have been resolved by any user with enough rep to edit, and moderator tools would have been of absolutely no use.

Are you right in saying that the images were perhaps too excessive? Perhaps. But I didn't take action because I personally didn't find it too irritating—plus, actions by fellow community members are usually better received than actions by moderators.

You also say that these type of flags shouldn't be dismissed as invalid, when they raise a valid point. However, there's nothing special that I could have done that you couldn't have, and since you took the effort to flag the post, you could just as easily have edited the post yourself or left a comment on the post for the answerer if you don't feel comfortable editing someone else's post. In my opinion, you shouldn't be flagging these posts because you should be fixing them—or if you can't be bothered, then just leave them. If other people are irritated enough, they'll do it.

Also, don't worry too much about how flags get dismissed or your flag weight—those things are used in prioritizing the moderator flag queue and aren't things that should be obsessed over by the general community.

  • I agree, some users are too much worried about their flag weight, maybe because they want to gain the badge related to reaching a flag weight of 500. It would be different, if flags about non answers were marked as invalid, but then the answer is deleted by the moderators; with "marked as invalid," I am not referring to a flag that is disputed. I am not saying that this is what happens on EL&U, as I have never noticed such behavior; I am saying that is something I would worry about, but not for the lost flag weight.
    – apaderno
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 12:37
  • 1
    I'm not worried about my flag weight. Perhaps the confusion here is what I consider to be an acceptable battle for a normal user. I am not here to enact new policies. I don't feel comfortable exacting my will on posts without getting at least a passive go-ahead from the community or moderators. Honestly, it isn't my job. But this is the first time I have heard the flagging suggested to mean, "I couldn't handle this problem. Can you?" (Or maybe it didn't sink in the other times... who knows.) Instead, my thought process was, "Arg... that's annoying. Let's make sure the mods at least see it."
    – MrHen
    Commented Aug 16, 2011 at 13:13

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