|I have to say, it's really disappointing to see the flagging functionality being abused in this way.|
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2438002 , which has had 47 points in 1 hour (despite being flagged by a number of individuals) is exactly on-topic for HN, It concerns a product that is relevant to HN, it is built by an active HN member, it has been upvoted by a good number of HNers despite its unnaturally low placement (due to the flagging), it is written by an active HNer (me), and it is on a blog which is popular with HN.
It's hard to think of a more on-topic post.
And yet, at least 4 people have flagged it, possibly 5, thus lowering its placement by a lot. Flagging is supposed to be reserved for egregiously off-topic and spam posts.
If this is what happens to on-topic posts, one thing is clear:
Flagging is totally broken.
Why? I suspect too many people have access to flags, so flags have become indiscriminate. Simultaneously, pg made flags have a very large effect on story position (effectively, one flag is worth maybe 5-10 downvotes, no matter who applies the flag).
I have long since learned not to try to coerce pg into doing anything, but I really think this is strong evidence of broken functionality. If you want to introduce downvotes for stories, let's have downvotes for stories. But let's not have mega-downvotes in the sneaky form of flags that are supposed to be for spam.
I'll add that this is not the first time I've seen this happen, though it's the first time I see a perfectly legitimate article get quite that many flags. Is HN skipping the Reddit step and going straight to the Digg graveyard?