There's a related issue that I ran into once or twice before I had 3k reputation to cast close votes, and I know based on chat that some other people have run into as well.
Sometimes, people flag a question as an exact duplicate, off-topic, or whatever, and the flag will get rejected with the following message:
declined - flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention
This is problematic. First off, why does the system give <3k users the means to flag with a close reason if they shouldn't be flagging since non-moderators can close it? Secondly, seeing their valid flags get rejected with this reason makes them extremely hesitant to flag in the future, or, you might even say, makes them afraid of flagging.
It would be nice to get all moderators on the same page with regards to how to handle close flags. If users shouldn't be leaving these kinds, consistently reject them and if possible remove the ability for users to even leave these kind of flags. If they're okay, which I would assume as the system seems to clearly allow them, stop rejecting them. If the close flag is invalid because they were wrong that it deserves closure, leave a message about why they're wrong rather than indicating the flag should never have been used for this sort of thing in the first place.
- Get mods to agree not to decline such flags (assuming the flag is correct)
- Enact a system change so that users can't create flags that specifically match VTC reasons, if they're going to be rejected as "not a valid reason to flag".
My entire problem boils down to this: The system specifically encourages these types of flags, which some moderators then reject as an invalid flag reason. Get the mods and the system in agreement, one way or the other.