Much has been written about the very low quality flag.
Joel dislikes it. Popular wants it gone. I find it confusing, even after our modifications.
Last week I attempted a change. I set it up so only negatively scoring answers or closed questions would be eligible for this flag. This enraged Jeff. It enraged him so much, he took a break from his holiday to revert the change.
His claim is simple (Jeff said, paraphrased):
Very low quality means NO DUMPING. There needs to be a trivial way for the community to flag toxic waste. People, in general, do not vote. How can you, of all people, change the system so it allows for more waste. I thought you were on a quality mission.
This got me thinking:
In my question Shog said:
Silently convert them to down-votes. Complete with the normal rep-deduction for the flagger/voter.
Clearly this was in jest, but still there is a point here.
The text for low quality reads:
This answer has severe formatting or content problems. This answer is unlikely to be salvageable through editing, and might need to be removed.
The tooltip a downvote reads:
This answer is not useful
If you think a post is toxic waste it would follow that it is not useful.
Looking at the last 30 days of stats (which are slightly skewed due to my changes)
Valid Invalid Disputed Total Downvoted ----- ------- -------- ----- --------- 3107 89 89 3306 955
It is clear that only 1 in 3 users that use the very low quality flag, downvote the question.
Should we change it so the system downvotes the post you flagged as VLQ on your behalf (act as though you clicked the downvote button)?
This would help on a few fronts:
- People would learn that VLQ means toxic.
- It would help our ban from asking / answering heuristics.
- It would encourage voting.