When reviewing low-quality posts, the help text explains:

  • Looks Good if nothing is wrong with this answer
  • Edit if you can fix all the problems with this answer
  • Recommend Deletion to recommend that this answer be deleted
  • Not Sure if you are unsure and want to skip this answer

But there is no guidance as to the thresholds. In particular, the text gives me no idea how bad a post has to be for me to be supposed to recommend deletion. For example, the most common gray area is with answers consisting of one or two lines of code. Often these can technically answer the question, but they are not very useful because they don't explain why or how it works. Should those be deleted? If not, should I really say "looks good" even though something is "obviously wrong with this answer"?

Could the help text be clarified (or at least hyperlinked to an explanation)?

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2  
Once there is consensus on this point, I'd appreciate briefly including the policy in the collapsable blurb on that page. –  phs Jul 23 '12 at 5:47
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Perhaps something like "Recommend Deletion if even editing won't make this an acceptable answer"? The whole sentence now is rather redundant. Recommend deletion if you want to recommend deletion. No d'uh. –  Bart Aug 1 '12 at 10:25
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Luckily there is a fourth option. –  Toon Krijthe Aug 1 '12 at 10:26
    
@Gamecat: Yeah, but without guidance it's kind of useless if I select that option for 95% of the reviews... –  Mechanical snail Aug 1 '12 at 10:28
    
Posts are generally deleted if they have no value to anyone but the poster, right? If the answer is off-topic, delete it. If the question is to localized or is so vague noone else can derive any value from it, delete it. –  Martijn Pieters Aug 1 '12 at 10:29
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@MartijnPieters: The most common gray area is with answers consisting of one or two lines of code. Often these can technically answer the question, but they are not very useful because they don't explain why or how it works. –  Mechanical snail Aug 1 '12 at 10:39
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In that case either edit it to include the description or perhaps leave a comment asking the user to do so. –  Bart Aug 1 '12 at 10:39
    
@Mechanicalsnail: then it's an answer that is on-topic, however misinformed. –  Martijn Pieters Aug 1 '12 at 10:41
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Added some guidlines. Feel free to add, we got to collect them all. –  Toon Krijthe Aug 1 '12 at 11:01
    
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3 Answers

up vote 27 down vote accepted

Some guidelines:

You should Edit a post

  • If the post is acceptable, but the grammar or the formatting has issues.
  • If the post needs copy-editing, and you understand the spirit.
  • If the post contains personal information (telephone, email, password) [possibly flag]
  • [ANS] If the answer is flawed and correctable (or leave a comment, and downvote)
  • [ANS] If an answer is only a link and the information behind the link is worth having and not already included in other answers.

You should Delete a post

  • If the post is rude or offensive [possibly flag]
  • [QUES] If the question has been closed for a while
  • [ANS] If the answer asks another question
  • [ANS] If an answer is actually a comment (such as asking for more info, thanks!, etc.) [possibly flag]
  • [ANS] If the answer is incomprehensible and you are at least a bit familiar with the subject.
  • [ANS] If the answer duplicates another, better answer to the same question (e.g. a link-only answer where another answer provides the same link with an explanation).
  • [ANS] Is obvious spam (tries to sell you cheap sunglasses) [possibly flag].
  • [ANS] Note that wrong answers should not be deleted: deletion is for answers that “aren't even wrong”.

You should accept a post (Looks good)

  • If you see no problems that would warrant editing or deleting and you are at least a bit familiar with the subject.

    • [QUES] Note that if a question is inappropriate for the site (off-topic, too broad, etc.), the right tool for the job is to vote to close (flag to close if you don't have enough reputation). If you can understand what is asked, the question “looks good”, even if it can't be answered within the context of the site.
    • [ANS] Note that answers that are clear and address the question at least a little, but are fundamentally wrong, should be downvoted, not deleted. A wrong answer still “looks good”.

You should ignore a post (Not sure)

  • If you see no problems but you have no clue.
  • If you can see that the post is bad but you think it can be salvaged by someone with better subject knowledge.

Note: This answer is community wiki, so feel free to add other suggestions.

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3  
Should we delete an answer if it's wrong? Or should we prefer downvotes and possibly comments? Or are you thinking of levels of wrong that I can't even begin to imagine? ;) –  Bart Aug 1 '12 at 11:05
    
Wrong as in: does not work or is possibly dangerous, or completely not true. –  Toon Krijthe Aug 1 '12 at 11:26
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@Bart, Gamecat: No, completely wrong answers are supposed to be downvoted, not deleted. –  Gilles Aug 1 '12 at 11:43
    
@Gilles That was also my understanding. –  Bart Aug 1 '12 at 12:09
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@Gilles I also like to think that wrong answers get downvoted, not deleted. So, a wrong answer that is in all other aspects "good", should be marked as "Looks good", right? Should this be included in the guidelines above? –  Christoffer Lette Aug 7 '12 at 9:22
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@ChristofferLette Indeed, the low quality review is primarily about editing and deleting, so posts that call for other corrective behavior (closing, downvoting) tend to be in the “looks good” category. I've edited the guidelines, feel free to reword. –  Gilles Aug 7 '12 at 9:35
    
normally, when I review low-quality answers, I typically don't evaluate for correctness(unless it's clearly wrong), but I try to evaluate whether it addresses and (attempts) to actually answer the question –  Sam I am Nov 20 '12 at 16:36
    
@Jamal -- I believe your edit is incorrect; comments are supposed to be temporary, answers are permament. You don't delete an answer because a better comment exists. –  LBT Jul 31 '13 at 17:14
    
@LBT: Oh, okay. That's what I did on another site, but I suppose that delete request will get denied anyway. Thanks. –  Jamal Jul 31 '13 at 17:49
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What is not an answer is rather a post that

  • asks another question
  • asks for more info (should be a comment)
  • tries to sell you cheap sunglasses
  • says "I know the answer, but you have to read my blog to get it"
  • just links to who-knows-what without any explanation
  • says "Thanks, this solved my problem"

Such posts should be deleted.

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For reference, here are the usual reasons for deleting an answer in the review queue, as indicated by the canned comments that you can leave.

The remarks about “once you have sufficient reputation …” are included or excluded as needed based on the reputation of the poster.


  • No comment needed

  • This is commentary on another post, not an answer

    This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post.

  • This is a “thank you” comment

    Please don't add "thank you" as an answer. Once you have sufficient reputation, you will be able to vote up questions and answers that you found helpful.

  • This is an “I’m having this problem, too” comment

    This does not really answer the question. If you have a different question, you can ask it by clicking Ask Question. You can also add a bounty to draw more attention to this question once you have enough reputation.

  • This is a different question posted as an answer

    If you have a new question, please ask it by clicking the Ask Question button. Include a link to this question if it helps provide context.

  • This is a link-only answer (and not spam)

    While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes.

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