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A while ago I asked about a declined flag, and I got the suggestion to use custom reasons for flagging on some occations.

This time, I flagged an answer on Type aliases for Java generics with a custom reason:

This answer already exists as a comment to the question. It is not, and it should not be an answer to the problem itself.

However, this got declined with the reason:

flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention

This decline reason gets me confused. First of all, I don't agree that this flag should be declined. Secondly, I think removing an answer is something that requires a moderators' attention. Or at least it has been before...

Was I not clear enough in my reason, or is there some parallel universe that I am unaware of where that answer actually answers the question? Since the same text exists as a comment to the question by the same user, why not delete the answer?


Content of answer for those without 10k:

I think this question would make a good proposal for Java. If you could propose a Type Aliasing feature to Oracle, I think it would be a great language feature that will simplify the language and make the source code more readable.

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5  
That sounds like a human mistake; That is definitely not an answer. –  Martijn Pieters Oct 29 '13 at 18:13
    
I suppose the custom message could've been a little more specific (in case the moderator just took one glance). Other than that, I agree that it shouldn't be an answer. –  Jamal Oct 29 '13 at 18:16

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I agree with Jamal. That flag looks really confusing and makes it seem like the reason you're flagging the answer is because it's also posted as a comment to the question. That bit of information is completely irrelevant to why the answer should be deleted. Likely, the moderator read your flag reason and went "Who cares? What do you want me to do?"

Your flags should indicate what action the moderator should take and why they should take the action. It's not an answer to the question, but rather commentary on how they would like to see such a feature implemented directly, and that's what your flag should be explaining. You probably could have gotten away with just a basic "not an answer" flag here, because it blatantly doesn't answer the question.

So from the flag reason you gave, here's the relevant information that should have been in the flag:

This answer already exists as a comment to the question. It is not, and it should not be an answer to the problem itself.

P.S. The answer has now been deleted.

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Thanks. I guessed that the answer would become deleted a few minutes after I posted it on meta. I was not aware that flags should indicate what action the moderator should take, I thought it was enough to describe the current problem of the flagged post. –  Simon André Forsberg Oct 29 '13 at 18:34
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Sometimes the problem can imply the action, and sometimes it's completely unclear. You're much safer just mentioning the action yourself. –  animuson Oct 29 '13 at 18:38
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I'm fairly sure animuson has it here; I am the one who declined the flag, and he describes what I assume is the reason why. The flag text itself did not compel me to look at the content. The answer did need to be flagged and deleted, though. Just be a bit more careful with the Other flags, as animuson notes above. @SimonAndréForsberg –  Andrew Barber Oct 29 '13 at 19:34

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