I was re-reading Jeff's answer to the recent question: Is the Very Low Quality flag too ambiguous? mainly because today I wanted to use that flag for the first time. Quoting him, this flag means that:
this post, and possibly this user, are totally stinking up the joint and need to be ejected from the premises ASAP.
My hesitation comes because I tend to just downvote a bad answer, no matter how bad it is, instead of flagging it. I believe that there's a system to evaluate the questions and answers in place that works very well, and thus I prefer to use that as opposed to spam the mods.
This answer in particular showed up to a quite old question, that had already a good accepted answer. Of course, there's always room for improvement, so that would not be an issue, if it wasn't that the new answer was pretty bad (in fact, it did not address the issue at all). Still, I would have downvoted that answer and continue, but the user was a 1-rep unregistered user, so he/she will probably not care about that downvote.
I ended up downvoting and flagging the answer, but instead I used the small textbox to explain this (in a much shorter version), instead of using the canned "very low quality" option.
I don't know about the user, but the question was stinking quite a bit. The problem is that I find quite blurry the limit between a bad answer that should be just downvoted and one that should be removed.
I did not post the link to the question because I would like to read your opinion about those limits, not about that question in particular.
Some of the specific questions I have:
- When an answer is bad enough to deserve a downvote and when it should just be flagged?
- Is it relevant for your decision if there are a few previous good answers to that question?
- Do you consider the user's history to decide between the above actions?
- Are you more prone to flag an answer from an unregistered user (who might not ever come back to the question, or even to the site)?
- In case of flagging, do you feel that you need to explain the flag or you're so sure about it that you just click the "very low quality" option?