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Now that I've hit 10k rep, I can see the "new posts by new users" page and I've noticed that a lot of answers are derivatives of:

  • I tried [other user]'s answer but it didn't work, what else can I try?
  • Thanks for all the help!
  • Has anybody fixed this yet?

IE, comments which were posted as answers mostly due to inexperience, by new users visiting the site for the first time. In most cases the user should have commented on either the original question or one of the answers, but can't due to lack of rep.

Are these good candidates for "flag for moderator attention"?

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I'd consider down-voting and leaving a comment, but odds are a 1 rep user won't be back to see the comment, and this doesn't help with the organizational side of things. We'd still have a useless answer sitting attached to the question. –  meagar Dec 1 '10 at 16:02
3  
A new ability to vote for answer deletion might go some way to help. –  ChrisF Dec 1 '10 at 16:05
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Here is a case in point; a useless answer left to dangle with a ton of down-votes. –  meagar Dec 1 '10 at 16:05
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Well, it sure beats flagging for Marc Gravell's attention like this guy is doing. –  mmyers Dec 1 '10 at 16:26
    
I see probably one flag a week that is just "Hey guys can you answer my question it's been sitting there with no answers it's really urgent plz help". –  mmyers Dec 1 '10 at 16:33
    
    
possible duplicate of Correct action for non-answers by new users –  Jon Seigel Dec 1 '10 at 18:52
    
@Jon I found many similar questions, but no exact duplicates –  meagar Dec 1 '10 at 18:52

4 Answers 4

up vote 11 down vote accepted

I mod-flag all answers that aren't actually answers, with a message like "question as answer", "comment as answer", etc. Unless they give 20k users the ability to delete answers, mods are the only people that can deal with it; I asked once if I was flagging too often and they didn't seem to have a problem with it. Some people flag those answers as spam instead (since six spam flags will delete an answer) -- don't do that. Leaving a comment is probably a good idea, but it happens so often I generally don't, I just figure people will work out on their own why their non-answer got deleted (assuming they even notice in the first place)

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I love that question because of Bill's reply to my comment. I can never seem to find it when I want to cite it, though, as I did for this question. –  Pops Dec 1 '10 at 16:26
    
@Popular Good point; "If you're flagging things that ... only ♦ moderators can deal with, then don't worry about the number of flags you raise" applies to this situation exactly, since only mods can delete answers –  Michael Mrozek Dec 1 '10 at 16:30

The existing answers here are out of date.

Four new features were recently implemented that mitigate this issue entirely:

So, please use the new type of flag to alert moderators about answers such as these.

Note also that as these flags are tracked separately from "moderator attention" flags, this gives the team more information about what doesn't qualify as an answer. By using the new type of flag, you help to both (a) clean up questions, and (b) reduce the volume of these types of answers across the entire network!

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Any situation that needs to be "corrected," but the community does not have the ability to fix, is good cause for flagging a moderator. Moderators are the "human exception handlers" of the system.

Certainly a users not knowing how to use the system (i.e. a post that should be a comment, inappropriate responses, etc) are good candidates. That is in contrast to your routine, traditional "bad posts" that I feel should be handled by the community.

Moderators are human exception handlers, there to deal with those (hopefully rare) exceptional conditions that should not normally happen, but when they do … — A Theory of Moderation

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Alas, these are anything but rare. I can usually burn all 10 of my moderator flags in as many minutes each morning just flagging "comments-posted-as-answers" answers. –  meagar Dec 1 '10 at 18:28

I often leave them a comment explaining why they shouldn't post such an answer, then guide them to the FAQ or other resource so they can better understand how SO works. I also flag it for the moderators with the message "Not a real answer". They seem to get taken care of (i.e. deleted) by a mod in a timely fashion, and I haven't had any mods complain to me about flag abuse.

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