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Usually when I get a declined flag I can look at it and say, "OK, that makes sense." This one I don't get. It was in the 10k tools and had one "not an answer" flag on it. I agreed with it and flagged it the same.

The decline reason was: declined - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it

It doesn't answer the OP's question and the author even says it's not a real answer. He's just asking "Why?", which would be a good comment.

  • Does marking an answer community wiki remove the responsibility the follow the guidelines?
  • Is it some sort of historically significant "don't touch me" answer?
  • Is it because it made a good point and was funny?

None of these make much sense.

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Don't worry; it's been deleted by the community now. – Nicol Bolas Mar 9 '13 at 3:58
@NicolBolas That still feels like the right move to me, even after George's explanation. – ThinkingStiff Mar 9 '13 at 5:34
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I declined your flag. I declined it because it is an answer. It's rhetorical, to be sure -- but there's nothing against a rhetorical answer.

It doesn't solve the problem the user wants solved, that's for sure -- but it provides an answer that is pithy in its own right: Specifically, why do you need to do that (rhetorically) ? You could literally just order the columns any way you want in any query.

Sometimes what the user wants to do isn't the problem they should be solving for. Sometimes a user wants to catch a bear, so they'll ask: How do I best catch a bear? The answer isn't "with honey", the answer is "Don't."

I wouldn't worry about a single declined flag. It happens. I would start worrying if a lot of your flags get declined.

As far as "Not an answer" flags go, if the answer even attempts to address the problem, it's likely an answer, even if it's a stupid answer. Vote down if you don't like the answer, but flag if it does not even attempt to address the user's problem.

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I was under the impression that very comment-like answers should be flagged "not an answer" so that mods can do their magic and turn them into comments. I kind of feel that this answer, too, would have been a lot better off as a comment. (I'm not trying to argue, just curious) – SáT Mar 9 '13 at 2:03
@SáT I would have flagged it as well, but he makes a good point. – Prof Pickle Mar 9 '13 at 2:05
@ProfPickle, looking at it again, seeing the whole discussion took place in 2009 (when comments weren't even implemented), it's kind of moot. And re-reading the answer makes me agree with George, indeed. But, generally, it'd be nice to know if a "Why would you want to do that? You really shouldn't" answer should be flagged. IMO an answer proper should at least say "Don't, it's a really bad idea because bears are stronger than you." – SáT Mar 9 '13 at 2:10
@SáT I have a habit of stumbling upon old posts for some odd reason. Anyway, despite the influencing words of our friendly moderator, I will continue to flag, down vote and comment on answers like the one you flag. I completely agree with you but I also agree with George. It's a 'both are equally right' scenario, and it's hard to tell which one to go with. – Prof Pickle Mar 9 '13 at 2:12
Thanks. I wasn't worried about a single flag, just wanted to learn from my mistake. I think I've been pretty good with the "not an answer" flags, this one just confused me. – ThinkingStiff Mar 9 '13 at 6:17

This is an answer, just an extremely poor one. The question is legitimate (I've needed to do that in the past), while it may not matter what order the columns are in due to the way the SQL works this answer does virtually nothing to explain how or why, and fails to mention one way or another whether it matters at the table storage level.

The moderators occassionally get things wrong, but I don't believe this is one of those cases. Because the "answer" contains one statement - even though it is not followed up with any explanation - this is still nonetheless an answer. Are we arguing semantics? Yes we are.

As it is a poor quality answer due to its brevity and extraneous fluff, the appropriate course of action is to either down vote it or edit it into shape.

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