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There is an option to flag a question “it doesn’t belong here, or it is a duplicate” (emphasis added). This seems to invite flags on duplicate questions.

Yesterday for the first time I flagged a duplicate question. The flag was declined with the explanation that “flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention”. To me this means I am being cautioned that duplicate questions do not require moderator intervention after all – I was wasting moderator time.

I am sensitive to moderator workload, and aware that their job is to handle exceptional cases that the community cannot resolve.

Merging duplicate questions requires moderator intervention. Surely this is why the flag option exists. The option to merge is not identified as a privilege available to a non-moderator, no matter how much reputation they have earned.

Even flagging an unanswered duplicate helps moderators. I have seen moderators intervene immediately in such cases before. I assume it is because closing them right away saves moderator time later by avoiding the possibility of a merge.

Where am I going wrong? I do not want to create grief for the moderators.

7

Since you have over 3k rep, you should vote to close duplicate questions instead of flagging them for mods. In fact, if you try to flag a question as a duplicate, your flag is automatically converted to a close vote if you have over 3k rep. In this instance, however, it appears that you manually entered the flag text, thus the flag was left in the moderator flag queue. Accordingly, the flag was declined since it did not merit immediate moderator attention and you had enough reputation to cast a close vote.

On that note, question merges should only come after a question has been closed, when the community has been given reasonable time to evaluate the closure and allow the question to be reopened if the closure should not have taken place originally.

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    Just to clarify - I assume mods do in fact welcome "duplicate flags" from users who've correctly identified a question as a duplicate, but don't [yet] have to rep to closevote accordingly. – FumbleFingers Sep 4 '12 at 14:09
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    Can you please clarify what a "reasonable time" is? I'm guessing no more than a week? – Zairja Sep 4 '12 at 15:02
  • @FumbleFingers Yes, that's entirely correct. – waiwai933 Sep 4 '12 at 15:09
  • @Zairja I'm going to say don't flag for a merge until 3–4 days after closure, but there's no concrete guideline here. – waiwai933 Sep 4 '12 at 15:10
  • @Zairja It's 6-8 weeks. ;) – kiamlaluno Sep 12 '12 at 2:29

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