This default excuse (in the title) for declining flags from users is inconsistent.

Nearly half of the flags I invoke to moderators will get this carte blanche stamp on a flag decline. There is no explanation nor accountability.

  • If I didn't think that there was content that required moderator attention, then I would not flag in the first place.

I claim that it is inconsistent, predicated on the fact that the other half of my flags are received as helpful (though they are submitted for identical reasons).

Generally I flag if I think that a question will not survive (or feel that it should not) based on the site guidelines. Nebulous questions, open philosophical differences, questions that will (and do, invite discussion in comments).

My question:

  1. Why the disparity?
  2. Why is this not more accountable?
  3. Who decides, and why?
  • Edited for better flow and a variety of grammatical bits; please review to make sure it still scans correctly. I would suggest that you put the question about flags in one question, and the question about edits in another question. As presented, the top line question got nice coverage and then you wandered off into the edit bit. Please consider cutting that part out and making it a separate question. (I realize that Caleb covered the whole thing, but it really is two separate questions). Commented Dec 27, 2017 at 20:57
  • No don't delete it, but if you're going to split out the two (three?) different issues please actually post them and I'll split my answer as called for. That would make them more useful reference for anybody else wondering about similar issues later rather than just being about you.
    – Caleb
    Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 8:08
  • I count two up votes. Let me go and check the other question. Hmm, I thought the other content about edits was indeed worth another question, but as you have had your concern addressed, perhaps just reverting to where both bits are in this one is fine. I agree with Caleb, in terms of, please don't delete this question. You are not going to be the only user who may find the mod/flag thing puzzling. (It took me a while to figure it out). Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 17:11

1 Answer 1


EDIT: Most of this reply is mixing up my memories of your flags with another user. I haven't actually handled your flags and my memory was on a user regularly miss-using flags in a different way. This info may still be useful to know in general, but see also the end for some more tailored info.

This default excuse for declining flags from users, is inconsistent.

We only have a couple options to choose from when handling flags. The decline reasons are not "excuses", they are moderator's feedback to you.

Any time you flag something, what you are asking for is a moderator to review it and use their best judgment on how to handle it. This is a human intervention, not an automatic formula and even the same person handling your flags might not always see the same things in them from post to post or day to day. Additionally there are multiple moderators and each might handle things a little differently.

Nearly half of the flags I invoke to moderators will get this 'carte blanche' stamp on a flag decline.

Having handled quite a number of your flags I would note that that your NAA flags are often spot on but your VLQ flags are often for the wrong reasons.

As also mentioned in this recent explanation moderators are not expected to intervene based on the quality of the content in a post. We're not here to censor content except for specific attributes that have made it into our site guidelines.

The Very Low Quality flag does not apply to stuff like this:

 Ezra was actually an Ethiopian and his mission was to
 bring a remnant of Jews back from exile in central Africa.
 The text of Ezra was originally written in Amharic, not Hebrew.

This is gibberish and surely very low quality content and factually wrong, but that's what the downvote button is for, not the VLQ flag.

The VLQ flag would apply more to stuff like this:

in the 3St chaptr of Creation by easterlings the ideals
ooof WIND in explained in tems of mid continental shiftings

The "quality" issues of this post are less about the logic and accuracy and more about the the fact that even if you edited to fix all the spelling errors it still wouldn't make any sense.

Somewhere there is a good meta post about VLQ flags which I'll link when I find it, but this one about NAA flags is worth reading too.

There is no explanation or accountability.

The mechanism doesn't provide us much opportunity for either, but both are available here on meta. That's what meta is for. If you have a question about how the site is supposed to function or want to challenge whether the moderators are handling things appropriately post on meta.

If I didn't think that there was content that required moderator attention, then I would not flag in the first place.

Perhaps it would help to think of this in terms of "action" not "attention". What actions would you expect a moderator to take? If you expect them to downvote the post, that actually is something you can do and does not require a moderator. If you expect them to close it, that is something you can do. If you expect it to be edited, that is something you can do. Only if it requires action that users can't take do you need to flag it. If it requires deletion for some reason, or if a user might need reprimanding, then a moderator's attention might be required.

generally I always flag if I think that a question will not survive (or feel that it should not) based on the site guidelines. Nebulous questions, open philosophical differences; questions that will, and do, invite discussion in comments.

These aren't reasons to flag! These are reasons to vote to close. Vote to close is a user privilege, not a moderator only one.

Diamond Moderators seem to have privileges that are inconsistent with the fundamental principles that are intended to govern this site (accountability, disclosure, justification, academic provision

There is virtually nothing a moderator can do that doesn't leave a paper trail. You'll have to be a lot more specific with what you think is not being handled properly here.

I make an edit to a diamond moderators post (grammatical errors, punctuation suggestions [subjective]); and the moderator seems to be able to entirely disregard the edit; make the evidence disappear, vis. The edit history on my home-page, concerning the proposed edit is gone. like it never existed.

Moderators do have one mechanism for removing content without a public edit history that is setup to avoid private information (like private identifiable names, passwords, credit card info, etc.) being permanently on public record. However to my knowledge it is rarely used on this site. I doubt very highly whether you've seen anything of the sort.

When moderators make edits, revert edits, etc. they leave the same edit history everybody else dose. Perhaps you don't know where to look for it, but that doesn't mean diamond mods are doing something magic. For example your history of proposed edits (including rejected ones, who rejected them, and why) is available in your profile here. Rejected edits do not show up in the edit history for posts. This has nothing to do with diamond moderators, that's just not where those things are linked from. Only actually enacted edits show up in a post's edit history.

If a moderator (or any other user) rejected an edit, it will show up in your edit suggestion history. If the edit was made, then rolled back, that would show up in tho post history.

There is no credit given (I actually saw a +2 for a moment when the push notification hit my iPhone). When I went to the mobile app to see why, it was gone.

If an edit suggestion is accepted (and remember accepting and rejecting edits is not a diamond moderator task, that can be done by the post owner or any users with access to the review queues) then you will get credited the +2 and will show up in the edit history. If it is rejected, you won't. Note this isn't transient, it won't be given and taken away like you describe, you are surely mixed up with something else going on there.

A complete record of you reputation history is also available in your profile. The +2 you earned seems to have to do with a post that was deleted after it was downvoted. There was a -2 from the downvote, then when you deleted the post the 2 was "refunded".

Edit: After reviewing your flag history in particular, I have these to note:

  • Your flags on comments and on offensive posts have all been accepted and acted on.
  • Most of your declined flags are on questions that:
    • Need editing (this is not a moderator intervention)
    • Need closing (this is not a moderator intervention)

Note that at 3000 rep all users can start voting to open/close questions. You aren't there yet. Please feel free to offer feedback on questions helping users to understand the site guidelines, but it will be up to any of the 70+ users of the site that can vote to actually close.

If you do flag question with a close reason, what happens is it gets put in a review queue where the users who can place those votes review it. Some of your flags have been declined not by moderators but by being rejected by site users in those review queues. A flag is an alert or suggestion but it doesn't mean that whoever handles it will agree that action is required.

Edit 2: On further inspection I found one of your rejected edits (the most recent one) was to one of my posts. Note that whenever you edit something the original poster is notified with an inbox message. Additionally anybody with 2000+ rep can review these. Whoever gets there first. In this case I was notified of your edit as a regular user and my action was something ANYBODY could have done, no special mod privileges were involved. For the record I rejected that edit because it was full of grammatically invalid changes. Sure you fixed a couple spelling mistakes (thanks for that) but you also added a whole bunch of punctuation that was mostly wrong. I actually tied accepting it and going though to fix your mistakes but it was too hard to find all the commas, so I rejected it and went back and added the spelling fixes manually.

I know I used long run-on sentences, but you can't just "fix" those by cramming in a bunch of commas in the middle of phrases.


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