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I recently flagged an answer as "very low quality", thinking that would put it in the review queue for others to look at to decide if it needed to be deleted. However, the flag was declined with the explanation, "flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention". My intent was not to make the moderators aware of the content, but simply to put it in the review queue for the community to look at. (Note: the particular flag, question, and declination are unimportant to this question. It's the process I'm asking about, not that particular incident.)

Looking at the "Flag posts" privilege page, it starts by saying that (all bolding mine):

Flagging is a way of bringing inappropriate content to the attention of the community.

Later it says that

flag it and bring it to the attention of the site moderators!

Further down the page, it states:

Many flags are handled by other members of the site like yourself, who've earned review privileges. Flags to close a question (i.e. "needs improvement"), not an answer flags, and very low quality flags are primarily handled this way.

So this seems to indicate that low quality flags go into the review queue.

Since there is a flagging option of "in need of moderator intervention", it appears to me that any other flag brings something to the attention of the community, while a "mod intervention" flag brings it to the moderators. Obviously, my interpretation is incorrect.

How do I flag what I think is a low quality post to put it into the community Low Quality Review queue (for others to decide), and not raise it to the mods who don't need to be involved (unless they're working the review queues). There was never any intention or expectation on my part that I was bringing this up to the mods because I didn't think it needed to be brought to mod attention.

The documentation on this particular part of the system seems to be internally inconsistent, or, at least, not intuitively obvious.

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  • I would expect 3-5 flags from different users to put it in queue, from that documentation, - I'd not expect a single flag to do so unless from a moderator (I'm still not convinced that the "single vote to close in a tag I have a gold badge for" is a good idea, really, in a similar line) But nothing there indicates that flag being gatekept by moderators, as written.
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 16, 2022 at 0:32
  • Not quite sure how you read that into it, @Ecnerwal, I don't see that. Not that you're wrong, I'm just not seeing your interpretation... Anyway, that would mean that the mods would have to review 3-5 flags and agree with them all to then let the community decide whether or not it was low quality. At that point, 3-5 community members have already decided it was low enough quality to get others to look at it, so it should just get deleted at that point anyway. Plus it's 3-5 flags the mods have to review, and if they agreed, they could have just deleted after the 1st flag.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 16, 2022 at 0:48
  • Nah. I'm saying I'd expect, (based on how some other things seem to work) with no moderator involved, 3-5 flags to cause the action. I would (as you) not expect moderators wasting time reviewing every flag.
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 16, 2022 at 0:55
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    Hate to break it to you, but we review every flag. :)
    – BMitch Mod
    Nov 16, 2022 at 13:52
  • OK, @BMitch. I do try not to flag excessively (WOW, there's no way I could hit my 100 flags/day limit 'round here!). What, though, is the answer to the question? I see things in the VLQ review queue, how do they get there? Obviously, my flag on the answer that prompted this question wasn't the appropriate way to do it, and I'm trying to not create unnecessary work for our valued mods.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 16, 2022 at 13:56
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    I'd have to do some digging to see if there's a way for you to push things in there yourself (hence the comment rather than answer). It may be entirely populated by SE algorithms.
    – BMitch Mod
    Nov 16, 2022 at 14:09
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    I'm confused. Why is there a "very low quality" flag if "flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention", particularly since there's an entirely separate "in need of moderator intervention" flag?
    – brhans
    Dec 5, 2022 at 21:19
  • Yet another really good question to ask about the flagging/moderation system invented by SE, @brhans. Maybe we should both ask our questions on Meta Stack Exchange instead of burying them here in Home Improvement Meta.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 6, 2022 at 12:48

1 Answer 1

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Digging through meta.SE, I'm seeing the following:

In this case, the question was added to the VLQ, but then removed from the queue after I cleared the flag:

enter image description here

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  • 1st link: this seems to indicate that the VLQ flag does send it to the review queue. However, that isn't what happened this week. Maybe, since that post is from 2013, the process has changed since.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 17, 2022 at 13:12
  • 2nd link: a reasonably up voted question (without any answers), that's the exact opposite of the question here. The answer showed up in the queue with no apparent indication of how it got there. I'm asking about forcing it there as a mere-mortal user.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 17, 2022 at 13:13
  • 3rd link: a very reasonable solution to the question I'm asking, without any indication that it was taken seriously be the SE overlords or that any action would be taken to implement it.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 17, 2022 at 13:14
  • 4th link: effectively my question, again without any resolution.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 17, 2022 at 13:14
  • I really appreciate the research effort - it seems I'm not the only one who has noticed this issue, but that there's no known resolution. Basically, it seems that the VLQ flag is, essentially, useless unless one likes piling work on the mods. Either that or it's still early and my coffee hasn't kicked in yet and I've totally missed the point of what you're trying to tell me (a very valid option).
    – FreeMan
    Nov 17, 2022 at 13:15
  • @FreeMan It's entirely possible the process changed, or you don't see items put in the queue by yourself, or me clearing the flag removed it from the queue. I think the 2nd link answers how the queue often does get filled, and the 3rd link is what you really want to do and that needs a change by SE.
    – BMitch Mod
    Nov 17, 2022 at 13:56
  • Double checking the post in question, it did get added to the VLQ review queue, and then removed when I resolved the flag.
    – BMitch Mod
    Nov 19, 2022 at 17:19
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    Ahhhhh! THAT is the answer, then. It does get added to the queue to be resolved by the community, but if a mod gets to it first then it's deleted from the queue due to mod flag review action. If you'll include that, I'll give you your +25. (I know you're only in it for the points. :ROFL: ) We could test it again (I'm willing to take the "hit" on a declined flag) to confirm.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 21, 2022 at 13:27
  • I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that this flag was incorrectly handled by @BMitch. The mod looking at the flag needs to be aware that the post was flagged as VLQ and not as "needing mod intervention". As such, the mod action to decline the flag and reply with "flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention" was incorrect, since there was no mod intervention requested.
    – brhans
    Dec 6, 2022 at 15:04
  • @brhans every flag is a request for mod intervention. Think of it like a parallel review queue where mods are asked what to do with each flag.
    – BMitch Mod
    Dec 6, 2022 at 15:09

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