A flag for very low quality post was declined.

-5 Performance tuning for MySQL database (read only) answered Jul 3 at 15:53 by XXX

With the reason:

declined - flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention

The post had -5 votes and was deleted after my flag, which makes me wonder why the flag is declined.

It seems to be low quality post, though I can't see it any more since it's deleted. If it's really a low quality post, when is it sufficient to

requires their intervention


This is the deleted post:

enter image description here


I'm not the moderator that handled your flag, but here are my thoughts on this:

Generally, I'm of the view that we (moderators) leave the Not An Answer (NAA) and Very Low Quality (VLQ) flags to be handled via the review queues for a decent length of time, unless the post is obviously NAA or VLQ. Where we do take action, we should expect to defend the decision (here on meta) if asked.

That does not mean that we don't also work the review queues (where any mod action is instantly binding), just that we don't handle the flag that caused the post to enter the queue right away. In fact, NAA and VLQ flags aren't even visible on the moderator dashboard by default for the first 15 minutes.

My reasoning is that users who have not yet earned the 20k trusted user privilege need a way to propose deletion of an answer without requiring a moderator. In most cases, this works well, and the users working the Low Quality Posts queue handle the flag by completing the review process. In this particular case, six users eventually voted to delete the post (with one dissention), though it did take 14 hours to get to that point.

Meanwhile, the active VLQ flags show on the moderator dashboard, and nag at us. We do try to leave these for a reasonable time, but it is not unusual for a moderator to step in if the process is taking longer than we would like. Note that handling the flag (as a moderator did) does not dequeue the post from Low Quality Posts - the moderator would also need to process the review queue item explicitly ("Looks Ok").

The general flag handling options available to the moderator in this case are:

  1. No action (leave it to the review queue).
  2. Mark as helpful, but take no other action (review process continues).
  3. Mark as helpful and delete the post (review process completed).
  4. Decline the flag (review process continues).
  5. Decline the flag and end the review with Looks Ok.

This is a judgement call that I will leave to the handling moderator to address in detail. If I were forced into expressing an opinion, I think I would choose from the first three options, since flagging to put the post into review was 'helpful' to the site. I will also say that the situation would not have arisen if more >= 2k users had processed Low Quality Posts in those 14 hours.

Finally, I'd say it is helpful to downvote posts you feel are VLQ because 20k users need an answer to be negatively scored in order to vote to delete directly.

Related on meta.SE: Is the Very Low Quality flag too ambiguous?


I am the moderator that handled the flag, and here's my thoughts:

  1. I honestly don't recall what was going on in my head at the time I handled the flag. I just couldn't tell you. I can guess tho ...
  2. I didn't think the answer was TERRIBLE, because the user could very well have come back and added more detail. There is a case to be made that NoSQL is a valid fit for reporting structures when you pre-generate the details that you want to display instead of dynamically generating them off a database for every view that is possible. This is especially true when it comes to datalakes, because there is often a ton of data to sift through on the fly, so pregenerating makes sense.
  3. As Paul mentions above, we don't always need to do something with the post. In this case, the community had already commented, so I suspect I dismissed the flag and downvoted, because it was merely a bad answer, but it didn't actually meet any good requirements for deletion. It was just a bad answer. It didn't harm the site, it wasn't detrimental to the end-user, it wasn't spam. It was just a bad answer. In that case, the definition is pretty simple, just downvote the post. Did it need to be deleted by a mod? Isn't it better to let the community come together to clean up the garbage, so that it's by consensus and not by mod decree?
  4. If you were me, and you were looking at a VLQ flag on that question, how would you have handled it? I am only human, immensely fallible, and I make the same judgement calls as anyone else would, so I am always open to feedback on how I could have improved in this case. That's why it's TREMENDOUS when these questions get asked. I get to learn too. So how would you have handled it?

Here's some further reading and thoughts:

How does deleting work? What can cause a post to be deleted, and what does that actually mean? What are the criteria for deletion?

When should I delete an answer? - as I mentioned above, this could be a valid answer. It's not great (and the community chose to delete it) but it could be a valid answer with the user posting more details.

Why shouldn't I delete wrong answers? - Adam makes great points in this answer, and it basically followed my actions.

And from the eponymous Shog9, our fearless CM leader1: Your answer is in another castle: when is an answer not an answer?

As you can see, this is always a thorny subject. We want to encourage people to contribute, and comments were left asking for more expression of the answer, but obviously the user did not return. The more we just flat out delete the answers, the less new contributors we get, as they feel turned away. (that's math, right? I'm pretty sure that's accurate.)

So, as I asked before, in the interest of becoming a better janitor I signed up for a janitor's position, I'm not a f'ing politician... - yannis + Could we please be a bit nicer to moderators? (you were perfectly nice, you did exactly what you should, just more meta links)

Where was I? Oh, right ... So, as I asked before, in the interest of becoming a better janitor how would you have resolved this flag? I am always open to valid critique. :D

1 he would probably disagree with this :p


The flag was declined by a moderator since the flag is to be used only for questions that need moderator action. Deleting a post does not require moderator action, it only requires trusted users to vote to delete the post, as happened to this one.

  • 2
    And you should be downvoting "crap" answers as well. We intervene when it's spammy, or it's "should have been a question" and someone has already suggested that, as they will still be able to get to the answer they posted and see the comments. But we don't need to do every single action on the site, you can too. So when you come across those "crap" answers and questions, just downvote and potentially vote to delete. Also you can discuss with other users here: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/179/the-heap--consultancy- – jcolebrand Jul 23 '18 at 21:10
  • We've started marking more and more flags like that as "doesn't require a mod" and often we'll downvote as well. We really look for things like "spammy users" and "abusive users" and "comments aren't needed anymore because they've been managed into the question/answer" – jcolebrand Jul 23 '18 at 21:11
  • 1
    @Max FYI the post was deleted from review, but it did not get three votes to delete by 20k (trusted) users - only two. As a consequence, the OP could undelete the post themselves, which would raise a disputed review flag for mod handling. Please see my answer for the reasons I think it is useful for sub-20k users to raise VLQ flags. – Paul White Jul 24 '18 at 4:42

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