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I have noticed that since the moderator election my flags are getting declined significantly more frequently. Specifically I placed 9 flags since the election, 5 of which got declined. What I find particularly annoying is that some of those post I flagged got dealt with even though my flag got denied. (Example: very low quality -> "declined - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it". The question is on hold now with 3 downvotes).

Have I just been unlucky in this sample or is has a new spirit entered the moderator board with the last election? I am trying to help by raising flags (and I think above numbers indicate that I don't raise them carelessly). I also take pride in getting a "helpful" on the flags, but if my "helpful"-rate from now on is gonna be 44% (it used to be 82%, for what that's worth) I'd probably stop flagging altogether.

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To whatever extent we have a flag-handling policy, it hasn't changed since before the election.

There has always been, and always will be, some variation in how different mods handle flags - it's simply impossible to eliminate. But the mods, including the new ones, have been pretty good about checking our responses to flags with each other, to try to minimize that variation. So my guess is that what you're seeing is not a consequence of having new moderators.

I looked over your recent flags and it does seem possible that this may be a statistical fluctuation. Let me try to be clear what I mean by that. When you get a flag declined, it (almost certainly) indicates some discrepancy between how you think flags should be used and how flags should actually be used. I'm not saying you should ignore that; you should use declined flags to improve your understanding of what should and shouldn't be flagged. But it is a learning process, and it's totally normal that you get flags declined from time to time just because you didn't happen to know the expected usage of that kind of flag. It's possible that you randomly hit a run of those kinds of posts. Maybe even likely, I would say, looking at your recent flags. You can take this as a learning opportunity.

I'm not going to include details of your flagging history here in a meta post, but you are welcome to discuss it with any of the mods in a chat room. Especially if you see inconsistencies in how your flags have been handled since the election compared to how they were handled before the election, that would be a good thing to bring to our attention, and then we can work on explaining the decisions to you and try to be more consistent in the future.

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  • $\begingroup$ thanks for the answer! sure, always happy to learn, I guess I took this a bit too personally. $\endgroup$ – Wolpertinger Oct 23 '16 at 21:31
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Since I'm one of the new mods, I feel like I should chime in and admit that the moderator flag interface doesn't always do quite what I expect it to, and there have been a couple of times already where I've handled something one way and thought later that it was a mistake. So this is a fair question and I'm happy to talk about it or similar questions in the future, either here on Meta or in a chat.

That said: looking at your flagging history, I think DavidZ is right that you just hit a run of unusual posts. (My inner statistician would like to point out that the change which prompted you to post — four of nine flags helpful, when you were expecting 7/9 or 7.1/9 — is not statistically significant, even at the 2σ level.)

tl;dr: learning curves all round, hugs

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Well, I handled one of them.

The flags that can cost users rep and flag accounts as possible bad actors (spam and offensive) should be used with care and only for cases that fall under the aegis of that flag: things that are offensive and attempts to use Physics as a sales venue or propaganda platform.

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  • $\begingroup$ as far as I remember, the post I flagged as spam was a first users answer that was one sentence long and contained the word "stupid". Is that not considered offensive? Or should a spam flag only be raised if the post is offensive AND propaganda? $\endgroup$ – Wolpertinger Oct 23 '16 at 21:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Numrok Stack Exchange uses a specific definition of spam: A post should be marked as spam ONLY when it contains an unsolicited advertisement. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Oct 23 '16 at 21:47
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 ok, thanks :) dmckee: ignore what I said :P $\endgroup$ – Wolpertinger Oct 23 '16 at 21:50

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