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I'm seeing several moderator flags every day that express concern over the technical merit of an answer. Meta examples would be "This answer is just plain wrong!", "libfoo doesn't do that!" or similar.

Can we encourage users to use their votes instead of moderator flags, where appropriate, in the flagging menu? A moderator is not going to edit someone's answer to make it correct, and will only remove answers that have obvious (beyond technical) issues.

It's not that I'm complaining about the flags, it's that I noticed the flagged answers had no down votes. Obviously, the user did not share their opinion through voting.

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+1, you are right. A wrong answer should get downvoted by the community and hopefully be removed after a 'sufficient' number of downvotes. Flagging is only in case of offensive, noise or spam answers / comments. I think that the users need to be encouraged to downvote a wrong answer. Moderator need to be careful while deleting flagged posts. –  Devendra D. Chavan Feb 6 '11 at 17:01
    
Do these flags come from users with <50 reputation who cannot comment perchance? Or do they mostly appear to be intentended as anonymous commentary or solely to avoid casting a downvote? (But btw, "This is wrong!" might be appropriate for dangerous answers.) –  mario Feb 6 '11 at 17:04
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@Mario - it varies. Still, moderators don't edit posts for accuracy - it's up to the community to do that. I'd take action on something that suggested downloading malware, for instance, but not something that said error handling is useless (beyond my down vote). –  Tim Post Feb 6 '11 at 17:09
    
Good idea. I've thought about suggesting the removal of the "low quality" flag reason on answers. That is what voting is for. –  Bill the Lizard Feb 6 '11 at 19:16
    
@Bill - I do agree that they should be used in conjunction with votes, instead of in lieu of votes. Personally, I've always just fixed what I could instead of down voting or flagging. –  Tim Post Feb 7 '11 at 13:50

3 Answers 3

Flagging is free. Downvoting costs rep. Q.E.D.

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+1 Unfortunately, flags aren't disclosed for all to see. –  waiwai933 Feb 7 '11 at 2:31

You should see if the user

  • lacks the 50 rep required to comment
  • lacks the 125 rep required to downvote

If they are flagging under those conditions, they're using the only method they can (short of supplying a competing answer, which would be much more work than a flag) to tell us about it.

I generally dismiss such flags as invalid, which reduces this user's future flag weight. Stop crying wolf!

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I think though it's not crystal clear that the flag system shouldn't be used to flag incorrect questions. The flag dialog doesn't mention anywhere that it's not a valid use of the flagging system. –  Andreas Bonini Feb 7 '11 at 10:37
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@kop I think it's OCD programmers defining "low quality" as "technically incorrect". Shrug. I just reduce their flag weight to oblivion, so their flags will trouble me nevermore. –  Jeff Atwood Feb 7 '11 at 11:05
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That's what I've been doing. Alarmingly, most of the "This is just wrong!" flags I see come from people with sufficient reputation to down vote. I can understand the case of new users, but they are an exception, not the norm. No wolves were saddened during the creation of my question. –  Tim Post Feb 7 '11 at 13:46

Well if the first reason on the flagging list is "Low quality", then you really can expect that.

Perhaps you should just evaluate the question, and downvote it too, then move along.

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My point really isn't 'what to do', it's more 'what users aren't doing'. Every low quality flag is investigated, and in many instances an edit follows. I'm describing a slightly different scenario, where the user flags as 'other' just to tell us that an answer might be incorrect. –  Tim Post Feb 6 '11 at 17:13

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