On a few occasions I have disagreed with the flags on an answer, and have flagged it (as prompted) as "invalid flags" to indicate that I believe the existing flags should be ignored. On all of these that I've looked at that have been reviewed, I see "disputed - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it", but the flagged content remains, which I assume means that the moderator agreed with my conclusion that the existing flags were not valid.

My naive assumption is that this is because when the existing flags are disagreed with by a moderator, my "invalid flags" flag is also pulled in along with the flags on the content, and is also considered "disputed", despite being commentary on the flags, and not the content.

This doesn't really bother me, but it seems to be a limitation of the implementation detail of "invalid flags", if my assumption is correct. Perhaps the way it is implemented should be changed so that a moderator agreeing with an "invalid flags" flag doesn't result in "disputed" in the flag history.


1 Answer 1


I think your understanding is right, but to make sure, the flag response message will be of the form:

{helpful | disputed | declined} [- why]

"Disputed" means it had both flags and counterflags (flagging a flag as invalid). If the flag was resolved helpful, it will either say "helpful" or "disputed", depending on if it had counterflags, and there will be no "why". If the flag was declined, it will either say "declined" or "disputed", again depending on counterflags, and it will have whatever "why" the moderator who declined the flag chose.

Flag responses are always to the main flag, not to any counterflags. That means you need to invert the reactions if the flag type is "invalid flags". If you flagged "invalid flags" and the response was "disputed - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it" (or some other reason), that flag was declined, which means your counterflag was correct. If it just says "disputed", that means the flag was marked helpful, which can mean your counterflag was wrong or not -- I frequently mark flags helpful if I had to think for more than a moment about what to do

In short, the whole interface does seem a little confusing. You probably want to see the result of all your flags, even counterflags, but saying that it was "declined" when your flag was right is unintuitive.

  • 2
    This really needs fixing—its more than a little confusing. It actually says "a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it" (emphasis added). I had given up on disputing flags, figuring you all didn't like it, because it appears you all had rejected all my "invalid" flags.
    – derobert
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 12:15
  • 1
    Yes, @derobert makes a good point: the lack of clarity around feedback means people are effectively disincentivised to participate, as opposed to being encouraged to.
    – jasonwryan
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 20:00
  • @derobert don't worry, in 6-8 weeks that will be fixed.
    – Braiam
    Commented Dec 21, 2013 at 14:46
  • @ChrisDown you know that SE doesn't have an exact timetable, right? But some related info meta.stackexchange.com/q/160338/213575
    – Braiam
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 4:01
  • @ChrisDown It's a joke from the SO community, see meta.stackexchange.com/a/19514/150311
    – Lekensteyn
    Commented Dec 29, 2013 at 10:33

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