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So, occasionally, when I look through /tools, I see a perfectly useful answer that has been flagged as Not An Answer, or which has a Very Low Quality Score. Typically, I will make use of the special /review option to flag these as Invalid Flags:

Invalid Flag

This morning, I used this option to counter flag one set of Not an Answer flags, on this very helpful, if not direct answer by Yx., and a Low quality flag on this useful contribution from a new user.

I was looking at my flag history a few minutes ago however, and was surprised to see this:

Disputed

Neither of these answers were deleted, or in any way actioned by a mod, as well they shouldn't have been. (Though Grimrocks answer did get a helpful readability cleanup by another user.) So then, why have the flags been Disputed as not helpful?

  • 2
    From this meta.stackexchange.com/questions/112392/… it sounds like it's not incorrect behavior, just confusing and poorly explained – Ben Brocka Apr 24 '12 at 1:35
  • BTW, if they come back disputed with a message (like the canned no evidence snippet here), a moderator marked the other flags declined and the message isn't "addressed" to you, you just get to see it. – a cat Apr 24 '12 at 15:09
  • Related: I've always thought it was ridiculous that if someone flags and I decline it then it's marked declined, but if someone flags and someone else disputes and then I decline it it's marked as disputed. Two people disagreeing somehow carries less weight than one person disagreeing ... – Matthew Read Apr 25 '12 at 18:33
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So then, why have the flags been Disputed as not helpful?

Well, they haven't been marked as not helpful. They've been marked as disputed, which exists as a neutral state between "helpful" and "not helpful." Since your flags were countering the existing flags, the system considers the interaction a draw from the perspective of flag weight (hidden as it may be).

The interface is admittedly a little unclear here, as it may seem to be suggesting that your particular flag was disputed after casting. In reality your flag caused the flags on the post to be marked as disputed.

As a side note, a Very Low Quality flag will be marked disputed following an edit on the post, since if someone was able to edit (and hopefully improve) the post in question, the indication that it was unsalvageable was likely incorrect.

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