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I am a regular reader of tools/flags. A common category in there is a non-answer with, not surprisingly, a 'not an answer' flag.

Now, I have two choices. I can use one of my very small collection of delete votes, or I can just add another 'not an answer' flag. 'small-collection' -- five delete votes barely scratches the surface of a typical big day on the review page.

I usually do the later, and conserve delete votes for bad questions. There's no flag for questions that means 'hey moderator, I think that someone should dispose of this, just not me.'

I wonder:

  1. Would diamonds rather I did my tiny bit of voting to delete a few bad answers per 24-hours, or are they happen enough to get my additional ring on the bat-phone calling for them to delete?

  2. I know that some havoc was wreaked early on with too many deletes, but perhaps 20K users or some other threshold should be given more latitude on answers with one or more not-an-answer flags?

To expand based on some comments: Many non-answers should be comments. However, many of them are (a) ancient and (b) contain no content worth preserving. So, while one path here would be to allow sufficient-rep users access to 'convert to comment', I think that deletion is still a question of interest.

share|improve this question
Rosinante, you read my mind. Perhaps tie delete votes to flag weight? – Michael Petrotta Aug 22 '11 at 2:13
Are you trying to save your delete votes because you regularly run out or for some other reason? – Adam Lear Aug 22 '11 at 2:13
@Anna, I think what Rosinante's saying is, five daily delete votes is an insufficient number to deal with all the "trash answers" he sees. That's been my experience. – Michael Petrotta Aug 22 '11 at 4:45
See also Now that 20k users can delete answers, should we increase the number of daily delete votes?, for my similar feelings on your second bullet point. – Brad Larson Aug 22 '11 at 19:24
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Would diamonds rather I did my tiny bit of voting to delete a few bad answers per 24-hours, or are they happen enough to get my additional ring on the bat-phone calling for them to delete?

It's probably more effective to ring us up. Any information you can add beyond "not an answer" is extremely helpful. If you've already determined that an answer really should be a comment, then letting us know where it should go (on the question or on another answer) saves us a lot of time in aggregate.

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In that case, 'not an answer' should have a text box, no? – Rosinante Aug 22 '11 at 13:11
@Rosinante: You can just flag as "other" and use its text box. – Bill the Lizard Aug 22 '11 at 13:15
Is this the format you'd prefer for first-flags as well? I.e. flagging an answer that is "@user [question]" as "other"->"Not an answer. This should be a comment on user's post" is preferable to flagging "not an answer"? – staticbeast Aug 23 '11 at 11:37
@staticbeast: Yes, but you can leave out the "Not an answer" part. Just "other"->"Should be a comment on user's post" is great for those posts we need to move. The generic "No an answer" flag is good for "Thanks" and "me too" answers that we just need to delete. – Bill the Lizard Aug 23 '11 at 12:23

Please be careful with answer flags. Seen a rash of "not an answer" flags which actually meant "this answer sucks."

If it is a comment, flag it. If it is an attempt to answer and it is incorrect or just bad, please just downvote it.

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It seems like this really can't be repeated often enough. – Bill the Lizard Aug 22 '11 at 13:33

Most of the "not an answer" flags I see (and flag again) is stuff which should have been posted as a comment (but often by new users which have no right to post comments) or a new question. Simply "bad answers" should be voted down, not flagged.

Moderators can convert answers to comments - this is not possible by simply deleting them.

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this does not mean the answer is worthy of being a comment; often it should be deleted – Jeff Atwood Aug 28 '11 at 16:22

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