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I flagged this answer as "not an answer" because as originally written it didn't address the question at all. But within a few minutes, the author edited it into a nice answer, and now my flag is just foolish. So

  1. Sorry to the diamond mods, and
  2. What's the best thing to do in this circumstance, since there's no way to delete a bad flag? Should I just forget about it? Post on meta? Burn some incense? Feed a unicorn?

Postscript: the flag was declined, rightfully

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4  
You could upvote all his posts, including comments, for the rest of your life. :-) Just kidding. If I got flagged incorrectly, I wouldn't care. –  Ferdinand.kraft Oct 13 '13 at 0:42
    
I'd assume just forget about it; my sole declined flag on the main site (at least right now) is for a similar reason. –  Dennis Meng Oct 13 '13 at 0:45
    
Well, I am sure there will be no ill effects to the author -- nobody is going to delete that answer based on my flag. But I'll get a declined flag (poor baby) and more importantly, one of our sad, overworked diamond mods may waste a few precious moments looking at it. It's the mod that I want to apologize to. –  Ernest Friedman-Hill Oct 13 '13 at 0:46
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The lesson here is downvote and comment, and reserve your flag until after you give the poster time to address the situation. Don't immediately go to the flag when you see a bad answer. –  psubsee2003 Oct 13 '13 at 1:23
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You better watch it. Next time, you'll get permabanned! ;) –  Cole Johnson Oct 13 '13 at 1:45
    
@ColeJohnson only if he'd be lucky. If it was me, I'd report him to the proper authorities! ;) –  Michael Oct 13 '13 at 1:55
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Most of us are in the habit of looking at timestamps when an answer with a "not an answer" flag looks like it might actually be an answer. No harm done. –  Bill the Lizard Oct 13 '13 at 1:58
    
@BilltheLizard But do you mark it as helpful or decline them in this case? –  Cole Johnson Oct 13 '13 at 2:06
    
@ColeJohnson It depends. Since the flag and edit both happened before the edit grace period expired, there was no record of the original content of the post and the flag was declined. If I can see that the post really was "not an answer" at the time of the flag, I mark it helpful. –  Bill the Lizard Oct 13 '13 at 2:10
3  
@BilltheLizard And that's why we shouldn't have a grace period on the first revision. –  Cole Johnson Oct 13 '13 at 3:22
    
@ColeJohnson Why? This happens almost never and no harm was done. –  Bill the Lizard Oct 13 '13 at 3:47
    
@BilltheLizard ah, but it does happen every once in a while as you say. –  Cole Johnson Oct 13 '13 at 4:07
    
Hard to know how often it happens, actually. Who knows how often a post is edited after you flag it? I only saw this one because the author was doing the FGITW trick. –  Ernest Friedman-Hill Oct 13 '13 at 4:40
    
This is related to a question I asked... see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/197348/… –  Josh Crozier Oct 14 '13 at 20:14

2 Answers 2

up vote 29 down vote accepted

Don't worry about it.

I would say "Learn from the mistake, flag carefully." but I know people like to post crappy answers and edit them within the 5 minute grace period. However, even if it was outside the grace period window it wouldn't matter. You were right to flag it if it was indeed "not an answer".

You didn't do anything wrong. This happens. Life goes on. Flag counts don't matter. No one cares.

Yes, burn some incense.

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  1. Apology is fine tho not necessary, and baby unicorns die if you do it too much
  2. Ignore it, but feel free to feed some unicorns anyway

As long as you're not flagging incorrectly too much it doesn't matter.
From various posts around Meta on a similar issue, Mods have voiced clearly that these things sometimes happen, they can easily see that the flag is not valid so no real harm done.

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