I would not count flags that choose versions of a language. So,
gcc -std=c99 and
perl -M5.010 add zero to the score. Likewise,
python2.7 (as my computer calls it) adds zero to the score. I also would not count flags like
awk -f program.awk, as
-f only specifies which file to run.
I do count other flags. I wrote a sed program in 300 characters. I posted it as 299 characters, but changed the count to 299+1 because I used
sed -r. After golfing this flag,
sed -rf program.sed is 1 more character than
sed -f progrma.sed.
Some flags might decrease the character count (or byte count) of a program. I like to avoid flags: I would not type
cc -DW=while, I would put
#define W while (15 characters) in my program. I would not type
perl -n, I would put the shebang
#!perl -n (9 characters) on the first line. By doing this, I increase my score and fail at golf.