There are several answers which have been flagged as "not an answer" which were indeed answers. Consequently, I flagged them with "invalid flags". Why is it that all of those flags were disputed? Here is an example:

This answer was flagged as "not an answer" (I think), but it clearly is. I used to think that perhaps my flagging was flagging the "invalid flags" flags as invalid flags, but this answer changed my mind. I was the first person to flag it with "invalid flags" (and many others flagged likewise). Why was this flag disputed?

My flagging history clearly shows several other such cases.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This happens to at least half of my flags, I personally don't care about this. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1, 2014 at 5:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Victor Disputed flags = more work for moderators. I want to reduce the number of disputed flags so that moderators have to do less work. If all my flags were helpful, then there would be less false positives. \$\endgroup\$
    – Justin
    Mar 1, 2014 at 5:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I know. But I can't control the behaviour or the minds of other users nor can you do. So I don't see what could be done other than just get a bit of frustration and move on. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1, 2014 at 5:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Disputed means that another user (not a moderator) reviewed the flag and disagreed. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 1, 2014 at 5:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @dmckee In that case, when it says "deemed invalid by n users", what would happen if I flag it as "invalid flags"? Also, how does another user review that flag? I've never seen that anywhere. \$\endgroup\$
    – Justin
    Mar 1, 2014 at 6:23
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, that "not an answer" flag on the Shakespeare post was by me. It should have been a custom flag but I clicked the wrong radio button and thereby sacrificed access to the custom text where I would have explained I was flagging it for plagiarism. Even setting that aside, it's really not a good answer. Poster said they had no idea how to code in the language, or even read it, and even added "I have no idea how to score it." To me, that was very much "not an answer". Copied or not there was no real effort to play within the rules of the question. The story-like nature of it is a red herring. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 2, 2014 at 0:59

2 Answers 2


Ilmari comments on another question about flags:

Generally, AIUI, one should not use the "it has invalid flags" option unless one disagrees with all the flags on the post (since doing so automatically marks all the flags as disputed) and believes it shouldn't have been flagged at all, but that's not very well explained on the page, and some 10k'ers might not know it.

(My emphasis)

It seems to me, then, that a reasonable partial explanation is that your "invalid flags" flag was disputed by my flag to moderators observing that the answer should be community wiki, because it was copying a standard example program for the language.


As stated here:

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.

And as stated here:

When you flag as invalid, both the original flag(s) and yours are marked as "disputed" (and flag weight is unaffected for all).

That's what the "disputed" resolution says: there were diverging opinions on these flags.

So don't be worried that your "invalid flags" flags are disputed: it's by design.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Then why are some marked "helpful"? \$\endgroup\$
    – Justin
    Mar 1, 2014 at 16:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Quincunx: Because the original post is removed. That's very confusing, but that appears to be the reason. The same has happened for me. \$\endgroup\$
    – ProgramFOX
    Mar 1, 2014 at 16:22

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