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Yesterday there was a user who created spam answers in several GTA V-related questions which were not actually answers and also which contained a link to a website which was claimed to have a download of GTA V for free.

I flagged each of these (5 in total) with a custom reason. The reason I gave was that they were "Not an answer, and claims to link to pirated/hacked software."

One of these flags was accepted as helpful, and it appears the poster's account was then deleted. The rest of my flags were marked as declined.

Is this how it should work? Can I get credit for these flags, or at least have the declined ones removed from my history so that they don't count against me?

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    Technically declined flags don't actually count against you in any meaningful way anyway – Unionhawk Jun 3 '15 at 15:24
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Declined flags don't mean anything.

I declined those flags, and I gave a custom decline reason when doing so. I purged the user, since he had posted nothing but spam non-answers. However, since you had created custom mod flags, those flags were not purged along with the user. I had to manually go and resolve each of those flags separately, rather than having them automatically deemed helpful when he was purged.

So, in my custom decline reason, I said that you should use default mod flags whenever possible. In this case "not an answer" or "spam" would have been acceptable, and would have made the moderation effort a lot easier.

This has other advantages as well. Custom mod flags must always be addressed by a moderator, but other kinds of default flags can be addressed by high reputation users. Spam flags in particular will auto-delete an answer if it gets enough flags, bypassing the need for a moderator altogether. Custom mod flags are for things that a moderator specifically really needs to look into.

  • Thanks for the clarification about how this system works. I thought a custom reason wasn't really any different than the other reasons, except that it provided a text box. I was ignorant that there is differentiation between a moderator and a highly-privileged user. When I created the flags I wasn't aware using the custom reason would subvert the process or make it more difficult. – Unknown Zombie Jun 3 '15 at 15:36
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    @UnknownZombie No problem! Nothing bad came of it, and there's no way to learn about things other than to play with them or ask about them. – Invader Skoodge Jun 3 '15 at 16:39

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