Walking this back just a bit. If you are making a starter with o2 or shaken not stirred, with yeast you dont have a ton of experience with, that may not show an obvious krausen with just 1000-1200ml... you might try splurging on 4" of tape and mark the level just after you pitch. If the level of the starter has gone up 6-12 hours later, it might be an indication that your starter is not dead. Something must have occurred to cause that increase in volume. What else could it reasonably be? Unless your kid dropped crayons in there, or you heated your starter to about 190F, or your flask somehow shrunk.
I cant prove it, but perhaps its an indication of life.
Probably there will still be disagreement.