I see this message more often nowadays.

Attention: some of your recent flags have been declined - please review them before flagging this post!

And the reason, almost always is given as

declined - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it

But the actual flagged posts are deleted or closed or punished as needed.

Here are some examples where the flagged posts are deleted. I can't visit the links myself, but maybe high-reppers can. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. I have a dozen examples where they are closed. And I get banned ultimately. I don't understand why.


  • So why decline my flags in the first place?
  • Do mods see my name with the flags?
  • Are these some sort of personal revenge-declines? How's this even possible?


  • The linked posts that I flagged to delete, were in fact deleted, not by a mod, but for various reasons and sometimes by the actual OPs. And I assume the same fate for my other flag-declined posts.
  • The mods that did review these flags, thought it's best not to kill the posts instantly and chose to decline my flags instead.

And thanks to all for your help.

Update (30/5/16): I now have a gold Marshal badge, thanks to my improved flagging behaviour! Now I'm one among the 21 users so far to have ever received it on ELU. :)

  • I'm sure it varies, but what kind of flag do you have the most rejections for?
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 13:01
  • @DanBron My flags are mostly for VLQ. Because, IMO, no amount of editing can make them a useful post. Then, NAA. Because, those answers are actually more like rants, comments, questions, etc.
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 13:11
  • 5
    That's detail worth adding to your question here. And these VLQ flags, are they to the questions (as you've linked to), or on answers? I vaguely remember the last time you raised this issue it turned out the policy for VLQ questions shouldn't be to flag them but to VtC them, and if you're out of close votes for the day, either bring the unsalvagable questions to others' attention in chat, so they close VtC, or just trust the system to work in the long run and let the bad questions go.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 13:19
  • 1
    Did you flag the question or one of the two answers in #5 you linked? I guess you are flagging too many posts and that's why the chances of your flags getting declined are higher than other users. Why not stop flagging posts for a while? I remember I stopped flagging anything for a few months.
    – user140086
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 14:57
  • 3
    Just in case it's not clear, a flag can be declined if it's for the wrong reason yet still be acted on. Once a mod's attention is brought to something by a flag, they can act for other reasons. Action on a question you've flagged doesn't make a wrong flag valid. Also, the NAA flag may not even be making it to a mod. Even bad answers are answers; one person disagreeing will make your flag disputed. Bad answers should be down voted (then deleted by high-rep users), not flagged. Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 18:20
  • @medica Thank you, it's clear now.
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 18:30
  • @Rathony I can't see what it was, now. I am reviewing almost every time I sign in, and there are posts that beg me to flag. From now on, I'll not give away my flags lavishly. Thank you for the suggestion. :)
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 18:33
  • @DanBron I agree, completely. Thank you for the input. It's okay now. I've discussed it with a mod :)
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 18:35
  • 2
    @NVZ Sometimes it's political, sometimes it's because people have different ideas about what constitutes a 'bad flag'. Often as you increase in site-rep you'll find your flags get better, often people will just notice that pattern and are more likely to assume a good-faith flag if they're not sure. Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 14:02

1 Answer 1

  1. So why decline my flags in the first place?

As we told you before, do not use VLQ flags as close votes. Low-quality questions should be downvoted and close voted, not flagged. When you keep doing it and we keep declining your flags, you get the notice to review your declined flags. If you ignore the notice, you have your flag privileges revoked automatically because you don't seem to be getting the message: Stop flagging off-topic questions as VLQ.

  1. Do mods see my name with the flags?

We see names with some types of flags, not with others. Sometimes we can identify a flagger if we want to go through a lot of effort to look. There aren't any in the queue at the moment, but I believe that we can see the flagger for VLQ flags.

  1. Are these some sort of personal revenge-declines? How's this even possible?

Your flags have been declined by a variety of moderators. The declines are not personal. Moderators decline flags that are not valid for a variety of reasons. The user who raised the flag is not generally something we even notice. If you are finding that a large number of your flags are declined, it is because you are not flagging appropriately. Your automatic suspension from flagging is a clear indication that you need to adjust your flagging behavior.

4. What defines a post as objectively flag-worthy?

These do.

  • Thank you for your time. I think you're missing the point here. I'm not asking why my flags were declined. I'm asking why they were declined when ultimately they were helpful?
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 15:43
  • I actually took a lot of effort in reading dozens of FAQs and meta posts before I posted the question here, hence my 4th question was only rhetorical.
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 15:46
  • What I came to conclude is that a flag is a double edged sword. I'm therefore reduced to doing just "downvote and move on", which IMHO is what drives more people into becoming drive-by downvoters.
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 15:53
  • 1
    @NVZ What's your evidence for "ultimately they were helpful"?
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 15:55
  • I don't have enough rep to see deleted posts, but from my declined flags list, I've posted a handful of links in this question. In those links, a question/answer was deleted, but my flag wasn't responded to as helpful.
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 15:57
  • 5
    @NVZ It's because your flag wasn't helpful.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 15:57
  • For example, this answer I had flagged not an answer and it was deleted. But I got my flag declined. I don't remember now what that answer was, but I'm sure it deserved my flag. Can you please check?
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 16:04
  • 1
    @NVZ You flagged it as VLQ. It was declined. The owner self-deleted.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 16:06
  • NO, I flagged it as NAA. What about those 5 I linked? Can you confirm those? I'll stop bothering the mods. :)
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 16:07
  • @NVZ Ah, yes. Well, it was an answer so that's why it was declined. Confirm what? Three of the others were off-topic questions, which you've been told not to flag as VLQ. The other one was a weird one that you flagged twice with opposite results -- VLQ was declined, NAA was helpful.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 16:11
  • "flagged twice"? I don't see any VLQ flag history for that one in my flag history.
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 16:14
  • If those were merely off-topic and didn't deserve to be deleted, why were they deleted? If I flagged them VLQ, then I believe my intention was to get them deleted, not to close. I don't flag as VLQ to close them, not anymore, not after the previous meta question.
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 16:17
  • @NVZ If they are closed as off-topic and the user never returns to edit, they are automagically deleted after a certain period of time without requiring any kind of intervention or effort from the moderation team. None of the three required insta-kill. They could have been edited into shape and reopened.
    – Kit Z. Fox Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 16:20
  • 6
    The point of all of this is that flags ask moderators to take action because you can't. If you can do something (like Vote to Close, or edit into something reasonable) then do that instead.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 21:20

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