After I flag a post I see, in my flag summary, the word active, meaning that it is awaiting a moderator's attention. But what happens after that is unclear to me.

I see the word helpful after a while, which I assume means the reason for my flag has been accepted. I've also seen declined, which I assume means my flag has not been accepted (indeed, the moderator kindly adds a reason for the flag rejection).

But what I don't understand is:

  1. Why does the word disputed appear? Does this mean that one or more moderators have reviewed it and don't agree with each other?
  2. If I don't agree with a declined flag, is there any recourse or should I just accept the moderator's verdict?
  3. Why does a little (non-clickable) number occasionally appear next to a question in my flagged list?
  4. Does the number of permitted open flags increase with successful flagging? I thought the default is 25, but now for me it seems to be approaching 30. What is the formula?
  5. Why do some flags remain on active for >24 hours when others (before and after) are no longer active?
  • 1
    I can immediately answer #5: Because some flags are easier to deal with and dismiss (as either helpful or declined) than others. Nov 12, 2013 at 22:46
  • 2
    Disputed flags are covered here "A disputed flag is a flag that was issued on a post that then received an "invalid flag" flag from a user with access to moderator tools. (you're almost there!) Both the original flag and the flag used to mark it as invalid will be listed as "disputed" in the respective user's flagging summary. Once a flag has been disputed, its state will not be changed by any additional action on the post." Nov 13, 2013 at 2:39

1 Answer 1


I'll see if I can cover your bullets:

  1. David's comment resolves this. This meta thread has the details, but the long and short is that a disputed flag is not the result of a moderator decision, but it's that a 10k user disagrees with your flag. 10 and 20k users have a limited flag queue available where they can pile on to flags, use their delete votes and do other modish type things. A disputed flag was handled in the 10k queue in a manner that indicates other users disagree with your flag.

  2. You've got 3 options when a flag is declined

    • You can re-flag the post with a custom flag making your case. We'll try to make sure a different moderator takes care of it so we get a second set of eyes on the potential problem.
    • You can take your concern to meta. This obviously sacrifices some anonymity, but if your flag is related to a wider problem it's probably the right place for it.
    • Your final recourse is to use the "contact us" page at the bottom of any page. This contacts the SE community team directly and has numerous options to choose from. This team of SE employees are the ones who directly interface with the mods.
  3. I see what you're talking about and if you mouse over the number, it tells you that it's the number of answers on the question.

  4. Yes, details here. You start with 10/day, and for every 2k reputation or 10 net helpful flags you have you get another flag per day up to 100.

  5. There are 4 of us handling flags, a lot of time someone will cruise through the queue chewing through the easy to handle ones and skipping the hard ones until they can either think about them, discuss them with another mod or just give the flag some time to breath. The other possibility is that the mod doing the clearing was involved in the question in a way that they felt they couldn't objectively handle the flag.

Hope that answers your questions.

  • Excellent, thank you! About point 3, I usually use an iPad so don't see that. But when I click mobile, the standard site is still shown (until I click on an answer). I'm wondering if this is a bug? Nov 13, 2013 at 21:05
  • 1
    @Wikis - I don't know. Feel free to report it (here or MSO, I'd search hard on MSO before asking though)
    – wax eagle
    Nov 14, 2013 at 19:55

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