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What does it mean when an answer is flagged as "very low quality", and what are the common actions a moderator may take when handling this flag?

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There are several reasons for flagging answers as "very low quality". They include, but are not limited to:

  • Severe formatting issues: If a post can be edited by a third party to improve it to the point of not meeting deletion criteria, you should do so if you are able to. Otherwise, you can use the VLQ flag to indicate that the post is not salvageable. A moderator will then delete the post if it is of poor enough quality. They may also notify the user of the reason for deletion, in hopes they may edit and flag for undeletion.

  • Incomprehensibility: It may be an answer, but it's so bad that it could never be saved through editing.

  • Other severe content problems: This includes answers that don't attempt to answer the question (which can equivilently be flagged as NAA) and answers devoid of content (such as "try jQuery!").

However, the "very low quality" flag should not be applied to an answer if:

  • The answer is just incorrect. It is not the job of moderators to deal with answers that are incorrect in some respect. Users should downvote wrong answers and (optionally) leave comments that describe why they are wrong. The answerer would, in the best case, update the answer to fix whatever issues it has, or delete it. We even have a badge for that.

  • It is spam or abusive. Spam and abuse flags are handled differently and carry higher penalties. If a post meets the criteria for one of these flags, you should flag it as such rather than Very Low Quality.

A "very low quality" flag on an answer that is technically incorrect should be dismissed. The moderator may take into account the quality of the answer when deciding to mark the flag as "helpful" or as declined for one of the standard reasons.

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Is it acceptable to flag answers VLQ with the intention of bringing them to the attention of 10K users with sufficient subject specific knowledge to decide downvote/comment/VTD? – Flexo Feb 15 '12 at 15:30
@awoodland: I'm not entirely sure about that. – Won't Feb 15 '12 at 15:33
If it isn't then is there a better mechanism than chat for bringing such technical issues to the attention of the community? I've always treated VLQ answers in the 10k queue as "request for review" if I'm familiar with the topic and there's no more serious problems. (I guess this ought to be a separate question really) – Flexo Feb 15 '12 at 15:37
Well, does this mean that we should only flag an answer as VLQ when it has formatting issues. If there's other issues then it's NAA ? But fix formatting issues is simple anyways. – Kevin Guan Jan 19 at 2:17
@KevinGuan I'm not sure if this answer still holds. That's a question for current mods. – Won't Jan 19 at 13:44
@Won't: Ah, yeah. But I'm looking for when should we use the VLQ flag. What I think is: If an answer is NAA, then flag it as such. If it has formatting issues, then fix them. If it's incorrect, downvote instead of flag...then when use VLQ flag? – Kevin Guan Jan 19 at 14:40
@Won't: Hmm...just found a question which posted by waffles, and I probably got it: Flag a post as VLQ when there's so many issues which should be corrected via editing, but it's very difficult or even impossible. – Kevin Guan Jan 19 at 14:46
@KevinGuan Yeah, that's probably the best idea. – Won't Jan 19 at 14:47
@KevinGuan and others viewing this question: this answer has been updated and is now current (as of this revision) – Won't Jan 20 at 20:12
@Won't: Oh, thanks for the edit :D – Kevin Guan Jan 20 at 23:02
What about "this answer is almost the same as the accepted one but posted several days later" ? Is it VLQ, just downvote or something else ? – Lord of dark Jun 21 at 13:45
Duplicate or late-repeating answers are not VLQ unless they are VLQ. Otherwise, downvote and if you're game, explain that it is nothing new in a custom flag @lor – random Jun 21 at 14:48

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