What is flagging?
Flagging is a way of bringing inappropriate content to the attention of the community. Users can choose from the following options when flagging a question or answer:
- spam (i.e. indiscriminate bulk advertisement)
- rude or abusive
- not an answer (answers only)
- needs improvement (questions only)
- A community-specific reason (i.e. the question is off-topic or otherwise disallowed by the community)
- Needs detail or clarity
- Needs more focus
- a duplicate (questions only)
- very low quality (i.e. no amount of editing can salvage the post) (only posts scoring 0 or less, under 7 days old, and not already in review; not available on closed questions)
- in need of moderator intervention – (allows free-form text input)
Once you have 3,000 reputation, and thereby gain the privilege to cast close and reopen votes, then selecting any flag option under "needs improvement" will cast a close vote rather than a flag. The options listed under "needs improvement" when flagging are (largely) the same as the options shown if you click the "Close" button below a post. For more information about these close reasons, see this help center article: What does it mean if a question is "closed"?
When flagging a comment, users are shown a different set of options to choose from:
- It contains harassment, bigotry, or abuse.
- It's unfriendly or unkind.
- It's no longer needed.
- Something else. – (allows free-form text input)
If you are ever confused over which flagging reason to choose, please follow the links below:
- Usage guide for spam and rude or abusive flags
- Usage guide for not an answer flags
- Usage guide for very low quality flags
- Guide to comment flags
When should I flag?
If anything happens on our site that makes you feel uncomfortable or that, in your opinion, clearly does not belong here, please flag it and bring it to the attention of the site moderators!
How do I flag?
For questions and answers: Click Flag under any post, and the modal will appear.
For comments: Click the flag icon to the left of the comment you want to flag, and the modal will appear.
What happens when I flag something as spam or rude/abusive?
The spam and rude/abusive flags are designed to automatically eliminate truly disruptive posts through the collaboration of the community.
- 3 flags – the post is banished from the front page.
- 6 flags – the post is locked, deleted, and the owner loses 100 reputation.
What happens when I flag a comment?
In addition to bringing the comment to the attention of the site moderators, a sufficient number of flags on a single comment will cause it to be deleted automatically. The number of flags required for deletion varies based on the number of votes on the comment, as well as the content of the comment itself.
What happens when I flag something as in need of moderator intervention?
You'll be required to enter a comment clearly explaining what the problem is. After that, these moderator flags go in a special high-priority queue visible to all moderators of the site. (Users with the Moderator Tools privilege cannot view these flags.) We take moderator flags quite seriously; rest assured that they are all followed up on!
Is there any way to remove flags?
If, while your flag is still waiting to be handled, you re-open the flag dialog, you'll be presented with the option to retract your pending flag in place of the usual submit button.
You cannot raise the same type of flag twice on a post: for example, if you retract a "spam" flag, you won't be able to raise a spam flag or an abusive flag in the future.
Retract flags only when you're sure there's no need for the post to be flagged, or you become convinced that a more serious type of flag is needed.
What happens to flags?
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.
Some flags can be handled by the system itself: a sufficient number of spam flags, rude or abusive flags, or (non-custom) comment flags results in immediate action (the deletion of whatever was flagged).
Moderators may step in to handle flags that aren't handled by ordinary members of the site or the system.
Finally, flags that aren't processed in a reasonable amount of time age away: rude or abusive and spam flags expire after 48 hours (and are removed immediately if the post is rolled back to a revision prior to the one which was flagged); close flags expire after between 4-14 days (depending on other votes and views).
How many flags do I have?
When you start out, you are allotted 10 flags per day. This number may increase to up to 100 flags per day:
- You get 1 bonus flag per 2000 reputation.
- You are awarded additional bonus flags when you flag correctly - one bonus flag for every 10 net helpful flags (i.e. helpful flags minus declined flags).