Just today there seemed to be slew of "not a question" flags that showed up. These were generated by various users, and as part of the mod tools (I think), >10k users also get to review the flags.

Looking at most of the flagged posts, it was clear that a moderator had already added a comment to the answer.

Is it therefore useful for me to add my own flag (which I understand to be a vote in favour of the flag), given that a mod seems to have already taken some action?

I don't mind doing this, but if it's annoying to the mods, I can easily stop.

I'm not quite sure what the purpose of this reviewing is.

4 Answers 4


This is a personal take, but to me having one flag per issue seems best. The approach we've taken on tex.sx is that flags stay'on' for some time, as we want to allow the OPs time to come back and changes, see comments, etc. There are places where a flag as a proxy for vote-to-close is useful, but as 10k users can actually vote to close that seems preferable.

I tend to remember how many flags are set at any one point, so more flagging sends me looking for new issues to read. That can be a little bit of a pain when the flag is on a question I already know about.

  • 1
    That's what I suspected. Since the issue of having a large list doesn't arise here, it seemed to me that the extra flagging might be annoying.
    – Alan Munn
    Jun 19, 2011 at 13:10
  • You are describing a workflow / notification issue ... not an underlying issue with the people adding more flags. Jun 20, 2011 at 2:50
  • If you need a feature that allows you to "bookmark" a flag so you can follow up later, perhaps ask for it on meta? We should be able to deal with flags early to keep the queue tiny. Jun 20, 2011 at 2:51
  • @waffles: It might be a good idea to highlight the yellow flag box in a different way when the user (mod or 10k+ user) has already reviewed all the flagged posts, not flags. Then when a new flagged post is appearing the box returns to its default style. This would indicate that, while the flag number increased, there are actually no new issues to look over. Jun 22, 2011 at 14:44

The only difference the number of flags makes is to determine the order in which flagged content appears in the moderation list. On a site with the volume of StackOverflow this is very important -- it's not uncommon for the list of flags to get too long for a single moderator to address in one sitting, so floating things flagged multiple times to the top makes it easy for mods to prioritize content most in need of their attention. TeX.SE, I imagine, has a lower flag volume, so the number of flags doesn't make much difference in the grand scheme.

The purpose of showing the >=10k users this list is that with that much rep there's very little difference between you and a diamond moderator. You're an experienced, trusted community member and perfectly capable with dealing with some of these issues if you'd like to take the time to do so. Act on the ones you are sure about; if something is borderline or you don't know how best to deal with it, just leave it for the next person to handle.


I don't really have an answer to this, but I wanted to add a bit of weight to Joseph's answer. There is a clear distinction between:

  1. How a feature was envisioned to be used by the SO overlords when it was put in place,
  2. How that feature is used on the Big Sites,
  3. How that feature is used here.

Clearly, the intent of this feature is that it be a way for high rep users to play more of a role in the moderation of the site. But to do that effectively, it should not interfere with the way that the moderators already work. So I would use this feature as a way of getting notification of potentially problematic posts, thereby allowing us to do things that we would normally do anyway if we were aware of it (such as leaving messages, or voting appropriately) but as Joseph has said that adding more flags doesn't do anything, and can even be a minor irritant, I would not add any more flags unless I was really, really sure.

(And as a final comment, the notion of using flags as bookmarks dates right back to the early days of the site and, from my days as a moderator, I remember it working just fine.)


I'm not quite sure what the purpose of this reviewing is.

The main purpose is to give additional visibility to problem posts that have not been handled by moderators.

This increased visibility allows for a degree of self-service. You may for example delete a "not an answer" post or close a "not a real question post". When this happens stuff drops of the list.

Additionally, you can "pile on" flags, or add additional information to the flags to help the moderator make an informed decision.

For example you could look at the post, then other posts by the user and say:

"I have noticed a trend with the user his posts are generally spam and he needs to be banned"

"not a question" flags are best handled by voting to close the question, once you do that - the post will "vanish" from your list. In this case I would not pile on votes.

"not an answer" flags are slightly more complicated, if you are certain its not an answer and needs to be deleted, adding a flag can give moderators a higher sense of urgency.

  • Except >10k but <20K users can't delete or close posts (just cast votes to do so). So the question is whether on this site piling on "not an answer" flags is helpful to the mods or not.
    – Alan Munn
    Jun 20, 2011 at 14:07

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