One trend I've seen since the improved flagging feature was rolled out has been users—who are otherwise able to vote to close—instead opting to flag a question for moderator attention with the standard close reasons like "low quality", "not constructive", "not a real question", etc.

We moderators do take a look at every flag that comes in, but we try, as much as possible, to defer to the community's actions when it comes to closing a question. While we will close the clearly off-topic or not constructive questions, we're more likely to leave a borderline question open if it hasn't received any close votes.

So, before you flag a question for moderator attention, please consider doing one or both of the following:

  • If you have the reputation, vote to close.
  • If you don't have the reputation, or even if you do have the reputation, leave a comment explaining why you don't think the question is a good fit for Programmers.SE.

These two actions send a signal to us and other members of the community of what you think about the question and increase the likelihood of what you're trying to accomplish: that is, keeping Programmers.SE a useful resource for constructive questions about software development.

  • Excellent advice.
    – Walter
    Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 17:22
  • If we feel that a question should be closed immediately (extremely off topic) should we vote to close and flag? Also, I have flagged borderline cases that I'm not sure of.
    – Michael K
    Commented Jan 25, 2011 at 18:31
  • @Michael if there is something egregiously wrong with the post such that it simply can't stay open until it reaches 5 close votes or until a moderator stumbles upon it, close and flag. But in those cases, flagging for the normal close reasons doesn't tell moderators why the post is so bad, so we might not see what the problem is. In borderline cases where there are no close votes, moderators generally won't close a post, so while you can flag a borderline post, it's likely nothing will come of it.
    – user8
    Commented Jan 25, 2011 at 20:32

3 Answers 3


For users who repeatedly do this, just mark their flags as invalid -- this will reduce their flag weight for future flags of this type.


I prefer that approach. Moderators are for edge cases, not power closing every question they come across. Some questions still hang around for days but that's fine.

With almost 100 users with closing reputation there should be far less moderator involvement then there has been recently. Abilities should be exercised, otherwise lost.


Perhaps the ability to 'flag' should be removed for those with enough reputation to close a topic. Voting to close itself could be a flag to a moderator. Honestly, I thought 'flagging' was specifically for things like excessive profanity and such on answers.

  • 2
    Flagging is useful in other situations, though. I'm thinking specifically of "flag for moderator attention".
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Jan 25, 2011 at 3:46
  • Thats what I said - a vote to close itself could be treated as a flag to the moderator. At least on questions. Flagging would still be needed on answers. Commented Jan 25, 2011 at 5:36

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