For some questions, I'm not sure whether I should down-vote it, vote to close or flag for moderator attention? Which one should I choose?


I've seen recently some moderator flags that weren't completely justified, so here is some general guidelines about when to use what.

From the general guidelines:

When should I flag?

If anything happens on our site that makes you feel uncomfortable -- that clearly does not belong here, in your opinion -- please flag it and bring it to our attention!

When should I vote down?

Use your downvotes whenever you encounter an egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post, or an answer that is clearly and perhaps dangerously incorrect.

When should I close a question?

Questions that are sufficiently off-topic, as outlined in the FAQ, should be closed by casting close votes. Questions that are sufficiently similar to older questions should be closed by casting close votes.

Note that once you gain the reputation to vote to close, you should no longer flag for moderator attention to have questions closed or migrated. It is your responsibility to vote now.

In general, the point is that in the long-term the community should moderate itself. In other words, vote as much as you can (in particular, down-votes on questions are free, you won't lose any reputation!), when you have enough rep, vote to close.

  • I just saw a spam question "Why are you so dumb". It's obviously a spam. I flagged it, down voted it and voted to close. Do I really need to vote to close and down vote it? Please clarify.
    – scaaahu
    Oct 7 '12 at 6:19
  • @scaaahu voting down does not necessarily alert the community or the moderators. But vote to close enables users of enough high reputation (and the mods) to have a look at it using review tool. If you have voted to close, you need not necessarily flag it. That's what @Charles is trying to convey. Oct 7 '12 at 13:28
  • 2
    @scaaahu: Noble is right, the point is whenever you flag, to also use the other mechanisms you have. In that particular example, you did right to flag, because this content was clearly to be removed and not just closed. Then, the point was to down-vote it, because below a certain score, the question does not appear, which is good. The vote-to-close was not bad, but not strictly speaking mandatory, since it was clearly spam. Anyway, thanks for the participation :)
    – user102
    Oct 7 '12 at 15:39

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