this is my first question on this meta website, so sorry if I am off-topic.

I flag sometimes some questions, often because of spam (I hate this) but also sometimes for off-topic or duplicate. It is written "10 flags remainings". How is this number (here 10) calculated ? Does it always decrease or only when the flag is considered as uncorrect? And if this latter holds, then how is it considered uncorrect?

  • $\begingroup$ Flags are not intended for off topic or duplicate questions. Closing and downvotes are for that. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 19:52
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    $\begingroup$ @Benjamin Steinberg, if one does not have enough reputation to vote to close, then flagging is probably the correct action to take. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 20:37
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    $\begingroup$ At least, when clicking on flag, we can choose "off topic" or "duplicate" so it seems to be possible. And yes, I cannot close a question because of reputation. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, I see that the flag options have changed since MO 1.0 when basically there was spam and offensive. A lot of people used to call things spam because they didn't want to lose 2 points for downvoting. Now I guess downvotes are free. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 30, 2014 at 1:56
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, downvote is now free (I dont know how it was before). I use "spam" only when the question has really nothing to do with maths and "off topic" when it is not of math research level (like homework). And duplicate when it is almost the same question as another one. At least it is what I understood to do. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 30, 2014 at 6:53
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    $\begingroup$ Downvotes are only free on questions; on answers they still cost 1 point (yet subtract 2 for OP); earlier this cost of 1 point applied to both types of posts. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Commented Mar 30, 2014 at 15:45
  • $\begingroup$ Ah OK, thanks for the information. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 30, 2014 at 17:11

1 Answer 1


You have a fixed number (N) of flags per day. Thus, when you use one the counter will always decrease and will reset the next day (indpendent of the quality of your flags). However, the number N does depend on your flagging history and your number of points.

Note that for most actions on MathOverflow (and SE sites) there is a rate limit; see The Complete Rate-Limiting Guide for all the details and On the recent changes to flagging and limits for the number of flags specfically. In brief, it is between 10 and 100, you start at 10 and each 2000 points and each 10 helpful flags give you an extra flag per day.

For seeing what happened to your flags you can click on the number after "Helpful flags" (which is shown if it is nonzero) on your user page, or go to https://mathoverflow.net/users/flag-summary/xyz where xyz should be replaced by your usernumber.

Note that having a "disputed" flag does not necessarily mean that a moderator thought you were wrong; roughly, if there are contradictory flags all become "disputed." And, there are some other details where the feedback could be confusing for technical reasons. For further deatils on flags see this meta.math.SE post https://math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4328/capture-the-flag-faq-on-flagging (which should more or less apply to MO).

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for this precise answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 14:40

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