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I am not a regular visitor of this site and come here from time to time to read questions and answers to improve my Japanese. I've just found out that the flag I raised for Is Japanese that primitive? as "primarily opinion-based" was declined.

I found that the question was actually closed as "primarily opinion-based".

I am not 100% sure how flagging works here. Can someone explain the reason why?

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Checking the flag timeline and the review timeline carefully, I've discovered that the flag was actually declined when Earthliŋ chose "Leave Open" in the review queue.

Moderator reviews are binding. Once a moderator reviews something, it's considered to be settled and is removed from the review queue. When a question is in the close vote review queue and a moderator chooses "Leave Open", the question is immediately removed from the queue and any existing close votes begin aging immediately.

This is why I like to encourage my fellow moderators to avoid using the review queues except in cases where they feel very strongly about the action that should be taken. If we keep an eye on the review queues without actually reviewing, it allows the community to decide, which I think is a good thing.


Here's the sequence of events:

  • 2016-07-02 16:09 Rathony, you and one other user flagged the question as "recommend closure: primarily opinion-based". This added the question to the close vote review queue.
  • 2016-07-02 17:22 Earthliŋ ♦ reviewed this post and chose "Leave Open". Since he's a moderator, this declined both flags and removed the post from the review queue.
  • 2016-07-03 10:41 A third user flagged the question as "recommend closure: primarily opinion-based". This added the question to the close vote review queue again.
  • 2016-07-03 11:24 macraf reviewed this post and chose "Close". Once at least one user chooses "Close" in the review queue, any existing "recommend closure" flags are marked helpful, so the third user's flag was marked helpful at this point, even though the post was still open.
  • 2016-07-03 11:34 Flaw ♦ closed the post as "primarily opinion-based".

So at least five users felt this post was primarily opinion-based, and it did get closed with that reason in the end.


I think that if we moderators leave reviews to the community when possible, we can avoid this sort of situation in the future. If we had done that in this case, your flag would almost certainly have been marked helpful automatically.

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I'm not 100% sure how flagging works here either, I guess. But it seems that I declined your flag, so I should tell you why.

I think that a flag for "primarily opinion-based" shows up for moderators, with the following options

  1. close the flagged question instantly
  2. delete the question instantly, or
  3. "clear" the flag without further action. (This is called something like "No further action...")

Since the question did attract a popular answer, I didn't think it was fair to instantly close/delete the question, but rather allow for the community to decide on its fate (through the standard 5 close votes), maybe allowing users to suggest improvements, etc.

However, on the user end, the last option of "No further action..." results in the flag being "declined". In some cases, there is an option of deeming the flag as "helpful", but I guess this is only true for comment flags...?

(As far as I can tell, this isn't really documented anywhere and with the few flags that we have here, I still haven't figured out when we can mark a flag as "Helpful" without deleting/closing the question instantly.)

As you observed, the question was closed soon after by @Flaw.


So, apologies for the confusion with your flag. If I had had the option of marking the flag as helpful, I would have done so, but without taking any further action, but it seems this was not possible.

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    Ah, I see. Now, I understand. No need for any apology. I want to ask you before I upvote and accept your answer. Do you want me to delete this question? – Rathony Jul 20 '16 at 17:50
  • No, you can leave it for other users to see. Maybe I've also said something wrong about how the flagging system works, so I'm secretly hoping that the other moderators will read this and maybe add to this post. – Earthliŋ Jul 20 '16 at 17:53
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    I see. I will leave it as it is. Thanks for your answer. – Rathony Jul 20 '16 at 17:54
  • It turns out that snailplane has figured out exactly what happened (and it has little to do with what I wrote): I seem to have voted "Leave open" in the review queues, which automatically marked the flag as "declined". – Earthliŋ Jul 20 '16 at 21:27

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