So I flagged an answer here as "not an answer"


The flag was declined as declined - flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer

Huh? That post is nowhere near an answer. It's merely asking a very ambiguous question of the original poster. Are the mods now stating any answer which happens to include a screenshot must be an answer? Remove that screen shot and it's just a question. So.. why was my flag out of line?

I ask because I also had a flag declined on this answer: https://graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/60585/i-am-having-problems-with-my-final-products/60622#60622 Which I flagged again as "not an answer" This has nothing to do with go-meek. My flag was due to the fact that the answer is essentially just rambling about things that may or may not go wrong, possible intricacies based upon ambiguous print providers. This is not a forum. While I don't fault go-meek for the post in any way. it's still not an answer to the question being asked (which really can't be answered as posed). It is purely general commentary, accurate and knowledgable commentary.. but commentary. In fact, she clearly posts herself "No one can tell you why your prints are too red unfortunately." So an answer which states "no one can answer" is now a valid answer?

So.. am I flagging too much?? I mean, I'll stop because clearly I'm suddenly not understanding what deserves to be flagged.

  • The first is a terrible answer to a terrible question. The second is an answer to a whole bunch of questions that weren't asked, while the question is also terrible. A lot of the second answer was also a rehash of content that already exists in better focused questions. My 2c.
    – Dom
    Sep 16, 2015 at 23:29
  • Yeah the flag on the answer by go-meek I can see being declined to a degree. It's not an answer, but there's some useful information there. I still feel it's not really an answer though. The first one has me baffled though.
    – Scott
    Sep 16, 2015 at 23:34
  • You know, I started writing this as a comment and then thought I should just put that as answer to be able to explain a bit more. As Ryan said, it's true sometimes comments &answers zones can be mixed up by users. For the same reasons, I think the comment zone is used way too much for answers sometimes; but when I search answers on Overflow, I'm very happy to read suggestions no matter where they are and I love it when there's more blahblah for newbies. It's true the question might look terrible but really not uncommon in the print world. I'm sure there's lot of "no one can answer" on SE:GD
    – go-junta
    Sep 17, 2015 at 2:22
  • I'm also a bit surprise this doesn't qualify as proper answer or at least tentative of answer, but it's alright. I see the point. DOESN'T MEAN I'LL STOP DOING IT THOUGH BOUAHAHA :)
    – go-junta
    Sep 17, 2015 at 2:23
  • I'm also surprised by the amount of posts that I flag that are not removed. It seems that the moderators here are very much on the lenient side when it comes to the types of answers provided compared to many other SE sites Sep 17, 2015 at 2:39
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    @go-meek it was good commentary.... my issue was that it was commentary, that's all :)
    – Scott
    Sep 17, 2015 at 2:40
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    @Scott No no, there were some facts in what I wrote. In fact, pretty good ones a lot of people are no aware of. For example, combined print jobs on the same run and lower quality control because of this. If the designer got his flyer printed with a bunch of pizza flyers, the run was probably calibrated for the pizza and not his flyer. Majority wins in that case; the pizzas will look delicious but the people on his flyer might look like they got a sunburn. I think it worth mentioning and that's something to expect for the "5000 flyers for $150" kind of printers, for example.
    – go-junta
    Sep 17, 2015 at 2:48
  • Like I posted.. good commentary but still not an answer to the question.
    – Scott
    Sep 17, 2015 at 2:49
  • Ok thanks, thanks! No need to use the bold! I get it! <3
    – go-junta
    Sep 17, 2015 at 2:50
  • If this were a "forum" there'd be nothing to worry about. But in strict Q<>A, there's really no place for commentary unless it's in conjunction with an answer. That's all. I don't think it deserved a down vote or anything, just needed to tie in as an answer..... which is impossible based on the question.
    – Scott
    Sep 17, 2015 at 2:52
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    I disagree that @go-meek’s answer is not an answer. The question is obviously hopeless and was rightfully closed (which, ideally, means that nobody should have answered it at all), but go-meek did actually give a precise answer to the question as asked: the exact bit that you quote. The answer to the question is that there is no answer. That is a valid answer in itself, even if it is wrapped in a fair bit of commentary. Sep 19, 2015 at 9:56

3 Answers 3


Mods are supposed to do the least amount possible. I declined both of those flags because the users posting those answers think they're answers. The one today is really bad so I down-voted it and left a comment. Go-Meek's answer is nowhere near that bad even if you don't think it address the actual question.

That's what downvotes are for.

And if an answer gets 3 downvotes then it will essentially be deleted from the majority of users.

As we're supposed to be light handed in our moderating I take that approach so that if users agree with you then downvote it and it'll go away. Before I finished typing this a third person downvoted the one from today, and like magic its gone for all intent purposes.

I do get your point that today's could be viewed as almost a comment. It was a judgement call and my judgement said to let the community downvote it if they agreed with you. Either way I'll take the blame for either acting too fast or acting too little. Maybe one day I'll find the porridge just right, but probably not.

Here for example is something I have no problem removing and accepting the flags on:

enter image description here

Even if it was only you flagging it, there's no mistake that this is not the correct place for it. You know that, I know that, and two others know that.

Its more delicate when you flag something that is trying to be an answer. It would be better generally to just downvote those. They don't really need moderator intervention and that lets the community decide. Of course JohnB or Vincent or Darth might think completely different from me, but I'm pretty confident they feel somewhat similar. As far as case by case basis they may have deleted the Pixel Aspect Ratio one where I chose not to. Such is life. I probably should've put "Helpful but no Further Action" that's what I usually do, can't really say why I didn't in this instance so sorry about that if you're concerned about declined flag count.

  • Well I'm honestly baffled as to why the "pixel aspect" flag was declined. I can conceded on the answer by go-meek - I don't think it's wrong so I hesitate to down vote it -- it's just, well, not an answer. But that other one was not even close to anything an SE site should see as a valid answer. I'm not blaming anyone.. I was curious as to why I was wrong, not you. Too many declined flags reflects upon me.... and I don't think I flag too much... so I want to be certain I'm not overstepping. That's all.
    – Scott
    Sep 16, 2015 at 23:41
  • 2
    I also tend to flag poor answers (or non-answers) on questions that I've voted to close. Clearly that "red" question can't be answered and has since been placed on hold. I'd hate for Go-Meek's commentary to get a single up vote then that bad question stays forever.
    – Scott
    Sep 16, 2015 at 23:44
  • @Scott edited more explanation
    – Ryan
    Sep 16, 2015 at 23:56
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    Thanks for explaining Ryan. My goal is to honestly make the life of moderators easier not make them deal with a bunch of nonsense flags from me.
    – Scott
    Sep 17, 2015 at 1:11
  • @Scott I still think a screenshot is better than a one line answer. But yeah, there could be more meat on that answer, I agree. Not everyone can write beautiful long half-answers like mines -coughs-
    – go-junta
    Sep 17, 2015 at 2:27

I agree with the route Ryan has taken but I also want to say a few other things. We are not saying you should stop flagging. If an answer is not an answer or needs moderator attention then flag it accordingly. On that note, we shouldn't be nuking answers unless they are spam without a just course of time for the answer to be edited, especially from new users. My thoughts on that are different sometimes depending on the user's history and if it's a link only answer.

Lately I have a taken a back seat approach to the site. I do not think it is right for mods to be running a site that should be community driven. If you think an answer deserves a flag you should also downvote it. Not calling anyone out but I do see a majority of flags come through and mostly some are not downvoted. If an answer has a large number of downvotes the system will take over and remove the answer over time.

  • Is it really appropriate to downvote something like the second example Scott gives? It's helpful, therefore not downvote worthy IMO, just not an answer to the question (because it can't be answered clearly) Sep 17, 2015 at 2:37
  • That's my thinking as well @ZachSaucier I don't want to down vote knowledgable content... but if it's not an answer.. well.. it's not an answer.
    – Scott
    Sep 17, 2015 at 2:47
  • Personally I flag "answers" like them as comments across all SE sites. Here those flags get rejected more often than not though Sep 17, 2015 at 2:57
  • then we have a conundrum on our hands. Also, to clarify Im saying if you flag something that you think should be removed you should downvote. Sep 17, 2015 at 2:57
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    @ZachSaucier 1) All sites are different. 2) I know for a fact not all flags are looked at, I can look at my SO profile and see a lot of flags not yet addressed from over a month back still waiting. Just because a flag on a question or answer doesn't have an immediate change it doesn't mean we haven't noted the situation, aren't already handling it, or collaborating on what we should do. Sep 17, 2015 at 2:58

I think it should be made policy that if an awful question is asked, the answers are deleted before they're upvoted. If that's against SE policy, than SE policy is failing here.

Many people spent 5+ years building this site up to what it is, so they are rightful stakeholders. They should not have to tolerate awful content because someone else chose to answer it. I don't want to see it ruin my 2-3 years of contributions here either.

Bad questions beget bad questions. We must have them removed before they spread like a gangrenous limb.

If that policy were officially introduced, it would then be wise to inform regular users that they should not answer awful questions as that is damaging to the site over the long term.

  • 2
    It's absolutely against SE policy to delete all answers for the sole reason that a question is awful. I'm fine with removing old crusty questions if they have no good answers (and I do), but destruction of good content is not a positive action.
    – JohnB
    Sep 17, 2015 at 14:00
  • If a question is too poor to attract a subjective/objective correct answer then surely any answer to that question is just not an answer regardless of how interesting it is. When no proper question exists, by definition, no proper answer can exist.
    – Dom
    Sep 17, 2015 at 14:47
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    The existence of the Reversal badge is strong enough evidence to the contrary.
    – JohnB
    Sep 17, 2015 at 14:49
  • No that's for a highly down voted but still relevant question, it's not for questions that aren't really questions. We're talking mainly about close worthy questions here, which shouldn't remain on the site.
    – Dom
    Sep 17, 2015 at 16:41
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    If something shouldn't remain on the site, it gets deleted. I don't know how your suggestion deviates from what's already done.
    – JohnB
    Sep 17, 2015 at 16:45
  • And yet if a close worthy question gets asked, answered, and the answer upvoted, that close worthy (or even already closed) question will not be deleted in my understanding. Is that correct?
    – Dom
    Sep 17, 2015 at 17:35
  • It would not be automatically deleted by the system, that is correct. If I come across a closed question that has no good answers, it's on the chopping block.
    – JohnB
    Sep 17, 2015 at 17:37
  • @Dom The philosophy behind the way SE works is basically that if a question is highly downvoted, then it’s not considered relevant. The community decides what is relevant or not a real question by casting their up- and downvotes. Sep 19, 2015 at 10:06
  • @JanusBahsJacquet there aren't enough voters here to do that consistently though. Only hot questions get enough votes to sort the wheat from the chaff, and they're often skewed by posting times and non-expert voters. The main issue is they still show up on Google when closed, still attract new users and set the first example for them. I often find closed SO questions through Google and can't even tell that they're closed because it's not declared on the snippet Google gives me. The differentiation between good and bad content only becomes clear when a person is familiar with the SE format.
    – Dom
    Sep 19, 2015 at 13:41

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