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I do a fair bit of reviewing and flagging on SO. (I have a time-zone advantage for catching some stuff while most of you are sleeping.) It occurred to me that it might be easier on the moderators if the "not-an-answer" flag included a (possibly optional) suggested course of action. There are basically four types of "not-an-answer" that I flag:

  1. Me-too "has anyone solved this problem?" posts - should be deleted
  2. Incomprehensible posts - should be deleted (this is actually not that common)
  3. Follow-ups to other answers - could be converted to a comment
  4. New questions - could be converted to a new question

So there are three possible actions: delete, convert to comment, and convert to new question.

On the assumption that the two types of conversion are technically feasible in the software, would it be helpful for moderators if reviewers had the option of recommending an action on these flags? It might save time for moderators who then perhaps don't have to read the post as thoroughly and spend as much effort deciding what to do with it.

The alternative - which I believe is current practice - is to just delete everything that is validly flagged as "not an answer". That might be the most efficient approach, but I can't help but think that there is some reasonable content (good comments and new questions) that would be lost, and new users discouraged as a result.

This is particularly an issue given that low-rep new users can't actually comment except on their own posts. I understand the rationale for this restriction but it does mean that some things are posted as answers because the user can't comment yet.

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Should "3.Follow-ups to other answers - could be converted to a comment" somehow say the answser (or quesion it's self) that the comment should be added to? –  Ian Ringrose Oct 21 '11 at 8:37

1 Answer 1

I usually use the flag option other for that. I also think that this is a bit more helpful to moderators. But you should also keep in mind that a moderator should in any case review the whole answer and if necessary also the question in order to be able to mark the flag as helpful or to decline it.

I think it's perfectly fine as it is now. The desire to help the mods is nice, but I think it won't save that lot of time.

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