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On this question the OP wants a general printing out a pyramid. Their current solution works but it is hard coded to only work for six values. This answer then repeats the OP's code so that it will run self contained and says it works, which wasn't what was being asked at all.

I flagged it as not-an-answer but got declined - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it

Reading Is “works fine here” an answer? seemed like it would be a valid flag but it was not obvious like some answers in Can we have an unambiguous, official ruling on what the “not an answer” flag is for? such as these

Basically I just want to know how obviously not an answer it should be before I flag it.

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Good Meta research! –  Josh Caswell Feb 22 '13 at 3:45
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IMO your judgement was correct, I would have flagged it as well. –  Jack Feb 22 '13 at 3:53
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I think you flagged it correctly. When it's declined like that, all you can do is flag again - as other, this time, explaining your case. Even 10k users make mistakes, or have opinions. It shouldn't really matter how obvious a NAA it is, it still deserves a flag. =) –  J. Steen Feb 22 '13 at 7:29
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In my experience not-an-answer flags have a pretty high chance of being declined. I have half a dozen of those where I still think the flag was correct. –  CodesInChaos Feb 22 '13 at 10:06

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I was the one who declined the flag, so let me explain my reasoning.

When we process "not an answer" flags, we only see the answer content within our flag queue. At first glance, this does indeed appear to be an attempt to answer the question. It's not asking a follow-on question, giving a "me too" response, or made up of gibberish. It states that the code in question appears to function properly, and gives an example of this that is more than just a copy-and-paste of the above-presented code. I did take the extra step of opening up the full question to see why this was flagged, which we usually don't, and still didn't see the same thing that they had missed here. I thought it was indeed an answer to the question.

"Not an answer" flags by themselves don't carry much detail, and with them you're asking us to summarily delete content by someone else without the involvement of the community. They should not require us to have to read the whole question before we can see why this isn't an answer. This is particularly true now that answers deleted in response to "not an answer" flags are being used as audit cases. We have been told to be strict with these, because reviewers presented with these audit cases won't see anything but the answer as well, and I can easily see reviewers being tripped up by this answer. Before the new audit system, I would have marked the flag as helpful, but still not deleted the answer.

I didn't have the benefit of the commentary you provided in the Meta question here, so I didn't see what you did. Because of that, I gave the benefit of the doubt to the answerer and chose not to delete their answer. If you're concerned about a borderline case like this being rejected, use an "other" flag and write a short description for why you think this isn't an answer. Those are incredibly helpful, and you're much more likely to get us to see what you did in cases like this. "Not an answer" flags are best used for obvious situations like I described above: questions asked in answers, complete gibberish, or "me too" follow-ons.

If I may make an additional comment to Meta readers: can we avoid dogpiling with downvotes in cases like this? This was not the best answer, but I don't think it deserved being downvoted five times by people rushing in from this Meta question. The answerer was trying to help, even if they missed a subtle point from the question.

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