I have flagged a couple of answers that were duplicates of previous answers as 'very low quality' and the flags were deemed 'helpful' and the answers got deleted. However, some of the answers I flagged as 'very low quality' for the same reason, were 'disputed' or 'declined' and the answers did not get deleted. Those answers already had comments stating that they are duplicates (so the moderators or 10k+ rep users will know the reason behind the 'very low quality' flag).

I flagged those answers as per the FAQ on deletion:

Answers that do not fundamentally answer the question may be removed. This includes answers that are …

  • exact duplicates of other answers

I had also flagged a couple of answers for being duplicates, that were 'disputed', but were still deleted. This made me think if I am using the 'very low quality' flag wrongly (that those answers shouldn't be flagged in the first place, or if I should be flagging as 'not an answer' or 'other').

Examples of answers I flagged as 'very low quality' that were deemed 'disputed' and did not get deleted:
Is there a Batcave in Arkham City?
How can I return to Skyrim after switching to Windows?

'Declined', and not deleted:
How can I increase Skyrim's Volume?

  • There have previously been SE policies that said dupe answers were still suitable answers and not to be deleted, so it may simply be confusion over the change. Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 5:45
  • 3
    Well, there are exact duplicates popping up everywhere. I see it quite a few times in the Late Answers queue. I, too, am unsure on how to react on those.
    – Joetjah
    Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 13:42
  • Disputed does not mean Declined.
    – user9983
    Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 19:32
  • @OrigamiRobot I know what they mean. I got 'declined' flags of duplicate answers that were not deleted too, e.g. gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/35452/… Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 10:09

1 Answer 1


As per the FAQ (which has already been quoted) and this discussion over here (which you might want to participate in if you disagree with the current state of affairs), I tend to delete these if they are dupes and flagged as very low quality.

"Very low quality" -> "dupe answer that needs deletion" isn't exactly an obvious step, so it's possible that other mods don't know about this or don't want to do it, which may lead to declined flags. As long as it's the policy, I'll continue to handle flags the way I believe the community wishes it to be done.

As a side note, it may just be that we disagree with you. There are certainly times where I understood the intent of the flag but disagreed with the conclusion - stuff like "the answer looks like a dupe but it's actually slightly/mostly/completely different" would lead to a declined flag.

  • 2
    "As a side note, it may just be that we disagree with you..." I see. If a mod or 10k+ rep user disagrees with a 'very low quality' flag of a possible duplicate answer, could they leave a feedback along with the 'disputed' or 'declined' status? This is so the user who flagged an answer will know why the flag was disputed or denied. (Or if not, at least a comment on the flagged answer.) I never get feedback from disputed or declined 'very low quality' flags of answers which I think are duplicates. Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 10:24
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    Wouldn't it be nice if Stack had some type of private messaging (that we are allowed to use)? I can understand the need for feedback, but do keep in mind that this could start comment conversations that a) Don't make sense to folks that can't see the flags b) Could create controversy for folks who don't want their stuff deleted. Nonetheless, I wouldn't necessarily be against it - just pointing that out. Maybe @galacticninja you could make a separate Meta with some suggested boilerplate comment response language?
    – EBongo
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 10:59
  • @EBongo I see that there could be issues with commenting on the answer about feedback on disputed or declined flags. What about non-canned feedback along with the 'disputed' or the 'declined' flag that can be viewed in the 'flagged posts' page of a user? (So only the user(s) who flagged the answer will see the disputed or declined flag feedback.) Does SE support this feature? ... Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 11:17
  • @EBongo ...I can't verify as I never got feedback, or got unclear canned feedback (like "a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it") on 'declined' or 'disputed' 'very low quality' flags, and I'm not a 10+k rep user and can't 'dispute' a flag. Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 11:19
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    @galacticninja I'll leave the Stack capabilities question to the pros - I also lack the rep at this point. I do like the idea of expanding the flag responses from "helpful, disputed, declined" to "helpful, disputed - canned reasons, declined - canned reasons". The intent to allow the same kind of basic feedback we provide with close votes, and the flag in the first place.
    – EBongo
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 11:32
  • @galacticninja, there are 3 canned declined responses, and if the flag is disputed (some flagged, but some said the flag was invalid) we don't get a chance to respond via the UI in all cases. There's "flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer" "a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it" and "flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention"
    – agent86
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 13:22
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    There's also an "other" blank that we can fill in, but doing so can be time consuming when there's a backlog of flags that need to be handled, and usually the three canned responses are supposed to get the point across. I will also say don't get offended or upset if a flag is declined - we appreciate the effort it takes to flag, just sometimes we don't all see eye to eye. There used to be a visible "flag weight" variable on everybody's profile, but they took that away because people were more concerned about fighting over flag handling because of this number.
    – agent86
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 13:23

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