Recently a new user insisted on commenting on the downvoting that happened on their question (a duplicate was posted on ELU, where the exact same comment was added).
I cannot fully recall the exact phrase, and do not have access to those now closed/deleted questions, but it was both targeted at the downvoters and this website as a whole.

I flagged the post for being rude (using the "rude or abusive" flag).

Can someone explain to me why it was declined?

  • 2
    The poster edited their question to add a rude scatological comment about the site. Was that the reason for your flag? I edited the question to remove it. Maybe that rendered the flag redundant? Mar 24, 2023 at 16:36
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    @MichaelHarvey Yes, that was indeed the case: the poster kept editing it back, after several other users edited it out or performed rollbacks. I had hoped the moderator reviewing my flag would have checked the question history or was aware of what had occurred. But that lack of visibility might indeed have rendered my action seemingly inappropriate.
    – Joachim
    Mar 24, 2023 at 18:24
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    @Joachim I declined at least two of your flags recently because I didn't see anything abusive. I didn't think to check the question history, which would have revealed that there had been an abusive comment which was later pasted into the question before being edited out. Thanks for the flags, and I'll investigate better when flags appear on the surface to have no merit.
    – gotube Mod
    Mar 24, 2023 at 18:39
  • @gotube - perhaps I should not have edited the question? Mar 24, 2023 at 20:30
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    @MichaelHarvey I guess there's room for that argument once you've flagged it, but no, I think the site is better off without that kind of talk. I'll just know to look deeper next time.
    – gotube Mod
    Mar 24, 2023 at 22:16
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    @MichaelHarvey I had done the exact same, after (or even before) flagging. I think it was more important that the comment was made invisible.
    – Joachim
    Mar 25, 2023 at 9:56

1 Answer 1


The general advice (from the faq and expressed here) for bad and rude posts is "flag don't edit" Flagging is easy, and after a few "rude" flags, the question will quickly disappear (even without mod action because "Community (bot)" will delete it. I think the standard is "six red flags from normal users".

Obvious insults, like this, get flag-deleted quicker if the post isn't edited.

The exceptions would be when it seems a second user has added the rudeness (should be rare, as only high rep users can edit without approval) or when a question is so manifestly high quality that is should not be deleted - for borderline cases it is still better to flag and let mods and the community sort it out.

Relevant guidance from Meta:

If you just remove content that you deem offensive, then you are making a judgment by yourself, on your own. I think there is something fundamentally wrong about this in a community-driven site like this.

I say you should use the 'flag this as offensive' option, as it's the fairest way.


If an otherwise valid post contains vulgar words as an expression of frustration, edit the bad part out instead of flagging the entire post as rude or abusive. If this results in an edit war or rollback war, flag for moderator attention.


Since the community has awarded you with enough reputation points to edit posts, the community trusts you to do the right thing when you see offensive posts: You should trust your own judgment too, and do what you feel is necessary in the particular situation.

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