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I had been reviewing low quality posts and came across one, http://stackoverflow.com/a/12388128/892313, which wasn't great but didn't seem too bad, so I selected "Looks Good." Shortly afterward, I got a educational notice saying

This post has severe quality issues.

It is abusive nonsense, noise, spam, blatantly off-topic or otherwise irredeemable - readers will find it offensive or repulsive rather than helpful. You should delete or recommend deletion when reviewing such posts.

Don't worry, we've already handled this post appropriately - but please take a minute to look it over closely, keeping in mind the guidance shown above.

Looking over the listed criteria, I don't think it is nonsense (grammatical), noise (is on-topic, so far as I can tell), spam (maybe, if the answerer is affiliated with the site linked to, but for an open source project there would seem to not be a commercial interest), blatantly off-topic (related to the question), or otherwise irredeemable. I certainly don't think it is repulsive or offensive.

At worst, it is just a link without any sufficient content to make it useful without the link (which may be reason enough to delete it).

Before clicking I understand, I want to make sure I understand. Is the message I got a generic message which covers all possible delete cases (even those not listed), or is there something about that answer that I missed in reviewing that is covered in the message?

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3  
I think the problem is that the system probably assumes that anything mod-deleted has "severe quality issues". And it uses that as part of its auditing. –  Mysticial Oct 11 '12 at 15:48
    
I think you got this automatically as a result of it being deleted. –  NullUserException อ_อ Oct 11 '12 at 15:57
2  
Well, that IS a low quality answer..."otherwise irredeemable" –  user7116 Oct 11 '12 at 16:07
8  
That answer, along with several others that linked to that project, was flagged as spam a little while ago. They don't look too bad on their face, but taken as a whole (and considering the questions they were posted in) they were a problem, so I had deleted them. I bet the system treats spam-flagged and deleted answers as very low quality test cases, but this one doesn't look terrible when taken out of context. –  Brad Larson Oct 11 '12 at 16:13
2  
It's not an answer, it's a link. At best, it is a comment; worst, it is spam. –  Won't Oct 11 '12 at 16:34
    
@BradLarson - Could you elaborate on your answer? What makes they spam "as a whole"? I'm not quite sure I get it yet. –  Mike Oct 11 '12 at 16:49
3  
@Mike - All five of this user's answers promoted this framework, even in questions that didn't ask for a third-party solution like this, and with no disclosure of their involvement. Additionally, three other related users posted over 20 answers linking to this project on the same day, seemingly just by doing a search for "android in-app billing" without reading any of the questions they were dumping links into. I tend to go easier on open source projects than commercial products, but this qualified as spam to me. –  Brad Larson Oct 11 '12 at 17:10
1  
@BradLarson - Thanks. Resorted the users answers by Activity and I'm seeing the trend now. –  Mike Oct 11 '12 at 17:17

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

This particular answer is not too good. It's doing almost nothing more than linking to an external source, which is inherently not considered a good answer on stackoverflow.

There are really two situations in which you see these types of answers:

  1. Someone posted a good question; there is a concrete and specific example of a problem (not the case here). Someone decided that, rather than provide a detailed answer explaining how to solve it, they would just link to a solution or tool elsewhere that (might) solve the problem. If the link is to a blog/tutorial with a code sample and explanation that solves the issue it would be preferable to simply summarize enough of that link in the post itself that the answer actually solves the problem (in addition to posting the link). If it's a link to the tool you should add at least a bit of a write up explaining what the tool is, how it might solve the problem, and some basics as to how it might be used to do what the OP is looking for.

  2. The question itself is written to encourage these types of answers (such as this question). It could be a question requesting a tool, a question specifically asking for links to tutorials rather than answers to an actual problem, etc. In this case, it's a low quality question. The question itself should be flagged/voted to close, generally as either off topic or not constructive. (In this case the question is closed as not constructive). When you see these types of answers you should check the question to see if it needs to be closed; if it does, leave the queue and vote to close it. In these situations trying to "fix" the answer is rather pointless. The question needs to be fixed before you could address any issues with the answer, so in this situation rather than using one of the standard comment reasons when suggesting deletion of this answer (which still is low quality, even if it's what the OP wanted) I usually don't leave a comment, or I write my own explaining that the question has problems which makes it impossible for any answer to meet SO's standards.

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