I flagged a posted for moderator recently that was marked as a duplicated. After the post was marked, the user made significant improvements to the post. Because of this, I flagged it as "other" and explained that I felt the dup should removed from the post. My flag was declined stating

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

I don't want to be flagging things that ought not be flagged, so what is the correct action for me to take in the future?

2 Answers 2


Something to be aware of is that moderators almost never reopen posts unilaterally. I've never done it and never seen it happen in my two years as a mod.

The action to take if you see a post that has been improved to the point that it should be reopened is to put a post here in meta.workplace explaining why it is no longer a dupe/should be reopened. The community can then choose to reopen it or keep it closed.

The reason I'm explaining this is that the custom flag requesting a moderator to reopen is not an appropriate use of a flag as there's nothing we will actually do about reopening using our mod powers; its a function of the community moderation that will determine if the question is now on topic.

So the flag was correctly declined :)

  • 1
    awesome! thanks. Jul 4, 2017 at 12:40
  • No problem! If I handle one of these types of flags, I will always add a note to the declination explaining the correct action to take instead of the flag :)
    – Jane S
    Jul 4, 2017 at 12:42
  • 2
    Agreed. I always decline these, usually with the standard "flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention" but sometimes with a custom message pointing new users to meta or chat instead. Of course new users probably also don't know where to find flag feedback so I'm not sure if that's ultimately helpful.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Jul 5, 2017 at 6:34

In addition to this answer, see the guidance in What if I disagree with the closure of a question? How can I reopen it? in the help center, specifically:

[stuff about editing and the reopen queue]

Additionally, you can:

  1. Leave a comment on the question itself calling for it to be reopened. Be detailed: explain why the question shouldn't have been closed, don't just assert that it should be reopened. Be constructive: name-calling is as likely to drive folks away as it is win them to your cause. Remember, anyone on the site with at least 3,000 reputation points can vote to reopen a question - even if a moderator closed it.

  2. Be sure that you've read the close notice and any comments on the question so you can address any concerns raised there. Addressing the concerns often means editing the post, which any user may do.

  3. If a moderator (user with a ♦ symbol after their name) closed the question, then you may flag it for moderator attention. Again, do this only after editing and include a detailed explanation of why it should be reopened. There is more than one moderator, and moderators do reconsider their decisions.

  4. If you have at least 3,000 reputation points, vote to reopen yourself.

Item 3 used to suggest flagging, so longer-term SE users might remember that and be doing that. This was changed in December 2016 to narrow it. If we mod-hammered it closed we're more willing to mod-hammer it open after the problem is fixed, but if the community closed it, then as Jane said, we're pretty much never going to unilaterally reopen it. Use the usual tools (including meta and chat) to pursue a community reopen instead.

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