I flagged this question on February 25 and now I see my flag has been declined. There is no reason visible in the flagging history on my profile.

I raised that flag because the question appears not to be (effectively) answerable unless the OP provides further information.
Specifically, the behavior described by the OP is:

  • likely not related to the shown configuration and errors;
  • possibly intended, depending on how they installed their Desktop Environment. The OP stated they installed "Gnome Desktop", but they did not include the package name, nor the exact command they used.

Clear guidelines to this kind of flagging seem hard to find (among the "should be closed" flags, only "off-topic" has its own guide linked in the Help). Nevertheless, my reasoning was inspired by:

  • the frequently given reasons for quickly voting to close. In short: inviting the OP to fix their question and preventing low quality answers;
  • a few previous flags I raised, e.g. on this question (now closed as unclear) and on this question (still open, but flag marked "helpful").

I'm aware that a declined close flag may be the result of some "leave open" votes, but it looks like I have no way to know if that is what happened.

As far as I know the useful/declined flag counters of each user are not publicly visible, so there is not much reputation (in a broad sense) problem involved here. But still I'd like to improve my comprehension of how U&L works, both to give the best possible contribution and to avoid wasting time on issues that are not generally seen as such. (Actually I have been tempted to flag other questions for the same reason, but I opted for the prudent approach of not doing it too often).

Am I missing something? Is there something wrong in my reasoning?

  • just for some data (not an Answer), yes: there was one "Close" and three "Leave Open" votes from the Close Review Queue. Seeing that might be one of the things that comes with 10k reputation.
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Commented Feb 27, 2019 at 13:44
  • @JeffSchaller Thank you. Maybe I'm just confused since "should be closed" flagging seems to work somehow more as a less powerful way of voting than as true flagging as defined under "When should I flag?" in the Help.
    – fra-san
    Commented Feb 27, 2019 at 14:14
  • 2
    Yes, a VTC will put the Q into the close-review queue, where this particular question was "handled by other members of the site like yourself, who've earned review privileges". Thank you both for flagging and for putting helpful comments on the question!
    – Jeff Schaller Mod
    Commented Feb 27, 2019 at 14:25

1 Answer 1


When you raise an "Unclear what you're asking" flag, that will put the post into the Close Vote review queue. The flag will only be shown to moderators after a delay to give the community the chace to vote. Additionally, mods will often leave those flags to the community since it's something that the community can do.

In this case, the post was reviewed by 4 users, and 3 of them voted to leave it open. Presumably, they felt that the post was indeed answerable. Since the voting was to leave the post open, your flag ended up being rejected. But no moderator was involved in any step of this process.

As for flag stats, you're right, there's no reason to worry. If you have many flags declined, you will get a warning and, eventually, might be banned from flagging for a short period of time. You only have one declined flag, so it's absolutely nothing to worry about. Just keep up the good work!

  • Thanks! Do we (as U&L) have any official policy about questions that seem unanswerable without further information? E.g. "leave open and wait for edits" VS "close and wait for edits" as suggested in the Meta SE answer I linked to in my question? Or is it freely up to the reviewers?
    – fra-san
    Commented Feb 27, 2019 at 15:25
  • 2
    @fra-san it's kind of up to the reviewers, yes. There are people on both sides of that argument.
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Feb 27, 2019 at 15:29
  • @fra-san And there's people (like me) who goes both ways on that too.
    – Kusalananda Mod
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 11:11
  • @Kusalananda Ok, I'm fine with that. It looks like this subject (flagging "should be closed") doesn't have set-in-stone rules and I needed to fine tune my understanding of it. Thank you for helping.
    – fra-san
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 11:58
  • @terdon Technically, this says that a flag would "be dismissed as helpful as soon as another user votes to close", and that seems to be what happened here (I flagged on Feb 21, flag helpful), while here the flag was declined, despite the analogous timeline of flag and votes. But there might be factors at play that I'm missing and this seems really a minor point, overall, so I'm not actually asking for an explanation — just noticing.
    – fra-san
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 12:03
  • @fra-san hmm. It might also have been because the user edited the post after you cast the flag. I don't remember, but I think there was some mechanism about that sort of thing, presumably because an edit may have made the post clearer so that could theoretically dismiss the flag? I really don't know though, I'm just guessing.
    – terdon Mod
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 12:14
  • @terdon I knew that edits may have played a role here, but both questions have not been edited since December 2018. I could make further guesses (something about close reasons? Time gap between close votes? (both as in "next to each other" and in "vote to close"...)), but I think it's too subtle of problem to be significant. Please, don't feel compelled to put effort on this.
    – fra-san
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 12:33

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