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I've been finding "answers" that are slapped together and submitted, with the sometimes explicit intention of "I'm going to edit this".

e.g. draft post, more content coming

This seems silly, and I think ought to be discouraged.

Is the proper response "oh, how annoying", commenting, down-voting, flagging?

I'm heistant on the last two becuase sometimes they are edited (sometimes within the 5min grace) and become good answers, and then there's an unnecessary dv or flag.

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The more content did come. Perhaps you need to select something less recent. –  Oded Dec 23 '11 at 17:20
    
@Oded that's my point, though; sometimes they are improved –  Shad Dec 23 '11 at 17:23
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The StackExchange system is about improving answers. If an answer remains unchanged, either comment or downvote it. –  Oded Dec 23 '11 at 17:24
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Downvote it until they cry foul. –  user7116 Dec 23 '11 at 17:26
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@Oded I'm with you there, I don't begrudge people coming back and improving their answers. I question the practice of posting an answer you know is incomplete. –  Shad Dec 23 '11 at 17:26
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I downvote and comment if the post is not helpful / incorrect in its original, posted form. –  jadarnel27 Dec 23 '11 at 17:27
    
Thanks @RobertHarvey , for some reason my searches for 'draft incomplete answers' didn't pull that up =) –  Shad Dec 23 '11 at 17:28
    
It is something I do often. All the time, in fact. –  Oded Dec 23 '11 at 17:28
    
@jadarnel27 - What do you do after it's been edited to its "final", helpful and correct form? –  Oded Dec 23 '11 at 17:30
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@Oded If they "at" notify me, I'll come back and remove my downvote (if I still can), which is why I always leave a comment =) Although, I do not feel obligated to do so (they are the ones that posted a wrong answer). –  jadarnel27 Dec 23 '11 at 17:32
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Just keep in mind that if you flag it and it gets edited in the 5 minute edit window, there's no way for moderators to tell that an edit actually occurred. So we would be forced to decline your flag as invalid. –  NullUserException อ_อ Dec 23 '11 at 18:09
    
@NullUserExceptionอ_อ Understood, thanks. –  Shad Dec 23 '11 at 18:46
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2 Answers 2

up vote 22 down vote accepted

That's a tough one - flags aren't really dealt with immediately, and the flag could end up sitting there long after the post had been edited. So I would recommend:

  • Don't flag it. If it's going to be edited, it's going to be edited and your flag would then be invalid. If it doesn't get edited, which is rare, the user who answered should simply delete the answer.

  • Downvote it if the current content isn't sufficient. When in doubt, follow the title text of the downvote button: "This answer is not useful." If it's useful, don't downvote it. If it isn't, then certainly downvote. Just make sure to withdraw it once the post becomes useful.

  • Comment requesting that the user not post incomplete answers. Definitely do this if you downvote, and if you don't downvote, comment if you feel like the answer is useful but missing very key information. They'll learn eventually.

Doing it that way should save you flag weight and reputation, if that makes a difference.

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Thanks for your thorough response. –  Shad Dec 23 '11 at 18:49
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The user in question should simply not have added "this is a draft, more coming" or something like. It should instead immediately post an answer which fully answers the whole concrete question without any necessary addition.

If the user has additional data, snippets, explanation, recommendations, nice links or whatever to make it a "world class" answer, then the user could always edit it later in, if necessary in the grace period. But the user should just not post a "more coming" at the bottom of the answer. This is almost always causing itch by the readers (as in, "Hey, look at me, I am the fastest gun! I am going to get the most upvotes!") and could be counterproductive as in receiving downvotes instead.

I'd just edit that line out and, if the post does in its current form not fully answer the concrete question at all, also downvote it.

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Someone else claiming to be the fastest gun always did make my trigger finger itch. :) –  Bill the Lizard Dec 23 '11 at 17:57
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+1 Thanks, that's a good principle; people shouldn't get credit for what they haven't written. –  Shad Dec 23 '11 at 18:48
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