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As a moderator on ServerFault, when handling not an answer flags I find myself rarely reaching for the very first option in the Declined reasons list. This is the option that reads:

Flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer

Instead, I've found myself clicking 'Other' and typing in:

Flags should not be used to indicate very wrong answers, that's what downvotes are for.

It would seem our users do need to be reminded that downvotes are there to indicate wrongness. When I handle flags like this I do drop a downvote on the answer in question if I agree with the flagger, but often I'm the first downvote.

I believe altering the wording of the decline option to be:

Flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer; please down-vote instead.

Would provide direction to our mis-flaggers for appropriate handling of this kind of content.

Is this a good SE-generalizable change, or are we just a special case?

share|improve this question
I would not say that SF is a special case. I am not sure I would want a direct reference to down-vote in the reject reason, though; I would not want users start to down-vote because a typo in an answer, saying that they were said to do so from a moderator. – kiamlaluno Jan 15 '13 at 12:51
@kiamlaluno In our case, when that happens it gets flagged very low quality. But that's our user-base, other user-bases may react differently. The flags I'm talking about here uniformly get flagged not an answer. – sysadmin1138 Jan 15 '13 at 12:53
@kiamlaluno: If somebody sees a typo and they know it to be such, they should really be editing it to fix, not flagging. – Iain Jan 15 '13 at 12:56
@Iain There are many users who flag something that should not be flagged. :) The question is about rejecting a flag, which means somebody flagged a post that should not be flagged (e.g. flagging as spam a post containing a legitimate link, or flagging something as very low quality instead of adding the appropriate punctuation). – kiamlaluno Jan 15 '13 at 13:04
`...downvote and/or comment instead" seems a bit better to me, but I'd say this is the general case :-) – voretaq7 Jan 17 '13 at 6:00


The sentiment is "This is so wrong, (or such a bad answer) it needs to be taken off the internet."

I've only done it once or twice however. I agree that a downvote reminder in your mod response would probably be useful.

share|improve this answer
Downvote, then get high-rep users to delete it. – Daniel Beck Jan 15 '13 at 14:00
@DanielBeck No, you don't get anyone to delete it; that's the point. Just being wrong isn't a reason to delete the answer, it should just be downvoted. That's the whole point of this question. – Servy Jan 15 '13 at 15:33
@DanielBeck In my experience, once an answer gets much below -5, the answerer self-deletes it the large majority of the time. The rest either go to meta.sf to complain about being harsh on newbs, or don't even notice since they were a drive-by. – sysadmin1138 Jan 15 '13 at 21:21

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