Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

We have a delete reason of "link-only answer". But I often see answers which would be link-only answers if only they had links in them instead of just code.

I'd like to be able to indicate this to the answerer instead of just "no comment needed".

share|improve this question
I too often see answers that would be link-only answers if they only had links in them :P – Blorgbeard Dec 3 '12 at 20:43
related: Delete informative code-only answers? Not! – gnat Dec 3 '12 at 20:57
Yes, please. I need that, but not only for SO. – Johannes Kuhn Jan 26 '14 at 18:44
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I fear that adding such a reason would send the wrong message.

Yes, there are abysmally bad answers that consist of nothing but code (sometimes utterly irrelevant code) which should be down-voted and (if not corrected) deleted with extreme prejudice. But I disagree strongly that "code only" is inherently a reason to delete an answer; heck, I've written answers where most of the explanation and guidance was in the form of comments within the code, and I actually prefer this for non-trivial listings, since there's a chance that readers will copy-paste them into production, and at least this way the guidance is preserved!

Remember, the canned comments aren't intended to be an exhaustive list of every sort of crap that bubbles up; rather, they're meant to provide useful guidance to misguided folks who can and may improve their (existing or future) contributions. If you come across an eye-bleedingly-bad answer in the queue and there's no reason that fits, don't hesitate to just select the "No comment needed" option and move on.

share|improve this answer

I think that maybe instead you should add a Code-Only exception toward the criteria for defining what's low-quality.

A question that's only code or mostly code most certainly can be a valid answer, and It seems to be the most common false-positive that the low-quality queue has.

on a separate, but still relevant note, I think it might be nice to include some sort of custom reason for your vote.

Not only will this catch un-anticipated reasons to close the question, but it will allow the reviewer to provide a more detailed explanation if he feels the need to.

share|improve this answer
I don't disagree that code only answers cannot answer the OP's question completely and be perfectly valid. But for value as a resource to future visitors, some description is usually needed to connect the answer to the question. Probably not grounds for deletion. but should be grounds for someone to edit it into shape. – psubsee2003 Dec 3 '12 at 19:00
@psubsee2003: But without some text, it's hard to know how to edit it into shape. – John Saunders Dec 3 '12 at 19:08
The answers I was referring to are those with, say, one-line code snippets. – John Saunders Dec 3 '12 at 19:09
@John Saunders Asker: "How do I do a write-Line which doesn't cause a line-break?" Answerer: "Console.Write("myStr")" – Sam I am Dec 3 '12 at 19:12
@JohnSaunders very true, I was just adding my 2 cents code-only answers needing improvement and not necessarily being delete worthy. It is possible they aren't salvageable, but it is a better option than deleting if possible. – psubsee2003 Dec 3 '12 at 19:13
I'd also like to point that in the instance of a code-only answer that doesn't actually answer the OP's question, you already have the "not an answer" option. – Sam I am Dec 3 '12 at 19:15
While many code-only answers are low quality, I rarely find them low enough quality to consider deletion, usually downvoting is as far as I would go unless it also violated something else (NAA, plagiarism, etc.) – Servy Dec 3 '12 at 19:39
@SamIam: Answer: Console.Write("myStr") Me: "Consider expanding your answer to explain to the asker why this achieves the desired result, possibly linking to documentation. As is, this is only marginally useful." – Josh Caswell Dec 3 '12 at 21:04

How about adding a button in the action bar?

Quite often, with Low Quality Answers, I comment asking the poster to explain the code as opposed to just code-dumping.
As far as I'm concerned, have I not done my duty as a reviewer? I've informed the answerer why their answer has been flagged as low-quality, and at the same time gave them an opportunity to improve it.

Why can't there be a button to still allow me to collect my review credit, but doesn't constitute Recommending Deletion or flagging as Looks Good.

Like a 'Add Comment' button up in the action bar to encourage improvement instead of just flagging it as good or bad.

Generally speaking, the code-dump of the answerer should be good/substantial. Using @Josh Caswell's comment as an example, a question that only requires a trivial Console.Write("myStr") style answer will probably be a low-quality question as well as answer.

So if they have added a large amount of code, asking them to explain it may help, instead of just deleting. The answer is fine, but doesn't really help future visitors (or indeed the asker) learn

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .