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Just as an example, this question was auto-flagged for being "too long".

I tried to dispute that using the moderation tool, by selecting the "invalid flags" option (which means, I thought, that it shouldn't have been flagged).

When I look in my flag history I see that has a status of "disputed".

  • Am I correct in thinking that the question is OK?
  • Was my specifying "invalid flags" therefore correct (did I use that correctly)?
  • Why would that be disputed (surely no-one else thinks that the question is off-topic)?
  • What's the effect if any on my flag history of having several such items marked "disputed"?

Most-all the disputed items in my flag history are to do with "invalid flags", and a majority of my "invalid flags" are "disputed": so I wonder whether I'm doing it right (or someone else is doing it wrong).

I thought that meant, "I disagree with this being flagged because I think it's OK".

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for using my question as an example \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Forsberg Mar 22 '14 at 20:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ And yes, I think you used it correctly. AFAIK 'invalid flags' + 'auto-flags' usually gets disputed, for some weird reason... \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Forsberg Mar 22 '14 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SimonAndréForsberg: This can also apply to NAAs. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamal Mar 22 '14 at 20:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have seen this the most on the auto-closed-without-comments flag queue \$\endgroup\$ – rolfl Mar 22 '14 at 23:06
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Am I correct in thinking that the question is OK?

It's really up to you to determine if there's too much code to review. By casting the "invalid flag," you're communicating that you disagree with the original flag. In this case, it means that you disagree that it's too much code (or too much content overall). But in cases where you agree with it, then you would simply not cast an additional flag and perhaps just leave a comment out this for the OP.

Was my specifying "invalid flags" therefore correct (did I use that correctly)?

Other than just ignoring the original flag (which is okay), that's all you can do. As a user with moderator tools, you're not obligated to respond to every flag that ends up in the queue. The community moderator tools are there to assist the diamond moderators in making their decision.

Why would that be disputed (surely no-one else thinks that the question is off-topic)?

This is the expected outcome when an "invalid flag" is cast. It means that one or more community moderators disagree with the original flag, thus there are "disputes" on the flagged content.

However, now that diamond moderators can respond to individual flags ("invalid flags" being collected together), these can be cleared as helpful or rejected, but we're not obligated to do that.

In cases like these, a diamond moderator can just clear the entire post as helpful or rejected, which will still result in disputed flags. As long as there's at least one "invalid flag" cast, this will be the outcome.

What's the effect if any on my flag history of having several such items marked "disputed"?

Disputed flags have no effect on your flag history. Only declined flags can hurt you, if you have too many of them. Having many disputed flags just means that you've cast many "invalid flags" and nothing else. While they're still not considered helpful in the systematic sense, they are not harmful.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ When (sufficiently many) community moderators flag, does this have any direct effect on the article? Or are those flags equivalent to votes, which are seen by the diamond moderators and which guide the the diamond moderators in eventually taking action on the article (e.g. closing the question and/or dismissing the flags)? \$\endgroup\$ – ChrisW Mar 22 '14 at 22:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ In a way, they can be seen as votes, but not entirely. Some posts may not be too obvious, in which case the community can decide on their own. But the moderator should still decide what is best, even without these opposing flags. That said, they have no direct effect on the post, since only diamond moderators can clear flags (with the exception of certain flags being clear upon closure or deletion). Have I understood your first question? I wasn't sure. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamal Mar 22 '14 at 22:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ My first question was, for example: if 10 people flag a question, is it closed without/before diamond intervention? If 10 people agree with an auto-flag, is it closed without diamond intervention? Conversely if 10 people disagree with an auto-flag, is the flag cleared without diamond intervention? Or are community flags non-binding suggestions which influence (but must wait for) the diamond moderator's decision? \$\endgroup\$ – ChrisW Mar 22 '14 at 22:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, community flags (also Community♦'s auto-flags) are non-binding. They merely add the question to the ♦ queue with the flags on them, while certain auto-flags will sit until handled by a diamond. Any number of users can cast flags, and it won't affect the post. The only exceptions are the "nuclear" flags: spam and offensive. Although they can only be seen by diamonds (no one else can flag for and against them), 6 of these flags from the community will delete the post and penalize the poster. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamal Mar 22 '14 at 23:08

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