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So imagine I flagged an answer for "very low quality". By that moment, the answer looked like this (taken from a random answer):

You can avoid some allocations with, say, re.finditer():

import re fi = re.finditer("\S+", line) next(fi) next(fi) var_needed = next(fi).group() next(fi) next(fi) another_var_needed = next(fi).group()

Now, suppose that after my flag someone decided to nicely edit the answer:

You can avoid some allocations with, say, re.finditer():

import re
fi = re.finditer("\S+", line)
next(fi)
next(fi)
var_needed = next(fi).group()
next(fi)
next(fi)
another_var_needed = next(fi).group()

By the time someone is revising my flag, how would he see it? Formatted? If it's formatted, shouldn't flags be considered the way they were originally? I mean, like a snapshot of the original non-formatted answer

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Very low quality indicates severe content or formatting problems with an answer, suggesting that it's probably not salvageable and needs deletion. If the only problem with the post can be fixed by highlighting some code and hitting ctrl-k, it's really not a candidate for the flag.

We're taking a letter of the law 1 approach when it comes to dealing with quality related flags, in part due to the new review system. Still, if we can reasonably see why you would have flagged something that way, we typically validate the flag. We also look through revisions to be sure.

If you see something completely incomprehensible, a wall of inexplicable characters that seems to resemble code and nothing else, or something that would take a Herculean effort to bring up to par, then you have a candidate for the flag.

It is, of course, somewhat subjective. However, use of the flag on something easily corrected will most likely be declined. Keep in mind that by using the flag, you're telling us:

This needs deleted, nothing can help it

We validate flags based on how accurately they reflect the post, as it was when you flagged it.

1 Criteria for reasonably see is a bit tighter, but we still validate if the flag was (mostly) accurate and helpful. Extremely low quality posts are used to audit reviewers, so we need to make sure validated VLQ flags are on the spot.

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Ok, I get it now. Thanks –  César Dec 19 '12 at 23:23
    
@Yannis If that means we're all issued genuine Stack Exchange (TM) Tyvek (R) suits with a breathing apparatus, I'm all for it! –  Tim Post Dec 19 '12 at 23:24

Not necessarily. Usually, if a moderator/top user finds a flag after improvements have been made, that flag gets marked as helpful and everyone continues on their way.

It's good and correct to flag. Flags help us see that something has gone awry. However, if we saw flags for how the question was before, it would just yield a great amount of time wasted for the people reviewing those flags. This way, if no more action is needed, no more action is taken. You way, if action was taken, the reviewer would have to make more of an effort to learn that their energies weren't necessary.

Beyond that, the VLQ flag text reads:

This answer is unlikely to be salvageable through editing.

SO is a collaboratively maintained site. If the post just needs simple tweaks to be improved, you're likely choosing the wrong flag reason here.

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The very low quality flag contains the description

This answer is unlikely to be salvageable through editing

If a simple edit can fix the question, then your flag was incorrect. It doesn't matter which version the moderator sees because your flag was as incorrect for the original post as for the reformatted post.

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By the time someone is revising my flag, how would he see it? Formatted? If it's formatted, shouldn't flags be considered the way they were originally?

Who sees the flag would see the post as it is after editing. There would be also a link to see any previous revisions, and who reviews your flag would first check how the post appeared when you flagged it.
Considering how the post appeared when it was flagged is what should be done, and it is done.

In the case you are using as example, that is not a very low quality post. In most of the cases, posts should be flagged as not an answer, or not a real question.
Very low quality means that the post is very low quality, but also that something should be done for the user account, as the user is not going to give a significative contribute to the site. For example, I would use very low quality for a user who writes complete nonsense like "sdgsd 3w4t34t q23twgw 2w3twhyqrt3ej3y 345t3424" as her/his very post.

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