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Recently I flagged 2 posts by an user named Harsh Raj (a new user, could not find his profile) as one was a spam and the other was of poor quality (includes poor grammar and bad spelling and irrelevant points). The posts were in reply to an answer to this question.

Now the first post was flagged by me as a spam and the flag was deemed helpful. Minutes later, he came up with the 2nd post, which was of poor quality as earlier mentioned. I flagged it as an answer of very poor quality. But this flag of mine was claimed to be disputed as per this link (mods & SE team only).

However when I returned to the question, i found that his post had been deleted (either by him or by the moderators, I don't know). So why was my flag deemed disputed?

Please specify if there is any reason for claiming my flag to be disputed.

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    $\begingroup$ I can't tell why it was disputed, actually, but I'd say the flag was valid. (late edit: well, it might have been valid) "Disputed" is a neutral status, neither helpful nor declined, that can happen for a variety of reasons - I don't know the complete list. $\endgroup$ – David Z Oct 6 '15 at 15:51
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidZ I find it pretty weird that that answer was deleted, as only one reviewer recommended deletion. Can you as a mod see beyond the 'deleted by Community' mark? $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Oct 6 '15 at 16:53
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty no, I don't get any more detail than that $\endgroup$ – David Z Oct 6 '15 at 16:56
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    $\begingroup$ ...as per this link. no one but you has access to that page. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Oct 6 '15 at 17:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Oded, while you're here, Can you clarify the circumstances in which this answer was deleted? The normal criteria indicate that six recommended deletions are needed for the Community user to delete a post, but there is only one in the review queue history. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Oct 7 '15 at 14:23
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    $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty - the user that posted the answer was deleted for only posting spam/nonesense, and as result all their posts were also deleted. $\endgroup$ – Oded Oct 7 '15 at 14:26
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The flag is "disputed" because the low quality review was completed with the result Looks OK since two out of three reviewers voted for that. (Why they voted like that I can't tell, of course)

The post was deleted by means other than the review of your flag, which is why the deletion didn't cause the flag to be helpful.

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  • $\begingroup$ In defence of the reviewers, the options in that queue were Looks OK, Edit, Delete and Skip. Delete is pretty strong for an earnest if failed attempt at answering, and there's not much to improve by editing. Why the Low Quality Posts queue doesn't let you downvote stuff is beyond me, though. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Oct 6 '15 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilioPisanty: There's a feature request for that, but it appears to be dormant. $\endgroup$ – ACuriousMind Oct 6 '15 at 16:33
  • $\begingroup$ I'd hit Looks OK, because even though it was a terrible answer, it was still an attempt to answer the question. Bad answers are downvote-worthy, but for being deletion-worthy, it didn't make the cut for me. If I had to err, I would prefer to err on the side of inclusion, rather than deletion, because once deleted, the answer's gone. If you retain it, there is (some hypothetical) chance of improvement. $\endgroup$ – 299792458 Oct 6 '15 at 16:56
  • $\begingroup$ @TheDarkSide: In addition to mods & post owners, those with >10k rep still see deleted answers, so it's not gone for good kind of gone. I do believe that the original author can edit the post even when deleted. $\endgroup$ – Kyle Kanos Oct 6 '15 at 17:18
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Some points to note:

  • Take it easy on disputed and declined flags. The net effect of raising a flag and it being disputed is essentially nothing. If you consistently raise flags that get disputed then it's worth having a look at why and then changing that behaviour. If it's a single flag, just say OK and move on.

  • Your flag summary (https://physics.stackexchange.com/users/flag-summary/your-user-number) is obviously private, though moderators and SE team members have access to it. Linking to it without providing a screenshot of the relevant flag is only useful to moderators and the SE team, so it's good practice to indicate 'mod only' on the links or provide a screenshot.

  • This answer (10k+ & mods; screenshot) is pretty bad but it's not terrible. It's an honest attempt to address the question that simply doesn't get there. It's always been a bit unclear whether the Very Low Quality flag should apply to these (I would say it does, and it would send them to a review queue where the community can deal with them more effectively to keep the site clean) but overall the consensus seems to be that

    flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer

    Thus the thing to do is downvote, comment if you feel it's appropriate, and move on.

  • That said, the comments there are pretty unfriendly to a new site member. There's times where new users do need to be met with a cold shower, but I wouldn't say this was one of them. We want a cool site with lots of high-quality answers but that doesn't mean we need to be rude to newcomers.

In this particular case, as ACuriousMind has explained, the flag was marked as disputed because most reviewers thought it Looked OK (with the alternative being Recommend Deletion, which wasn't appropriate). It's unclear, though, why this was deleted at all.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for answering. Will you please tell me how to indicate 'mod only' on the links as per your 2nd bullet? I am unaware of this thing. $\endgroup$ – SchrodingersCat Oct 7 '15 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ Simply say so. I've taken the liberty to edit the question in this spirit. See also e.g. my third bullet point for an example. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Oct 7 '15 at 14:22

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