9.... YEAH baby.

Shash. BOSH. :))

What this post would normally receive on its own is 8 "not an answer" flags, 6 "very low quality" flags and perhaps a couple "moderator attention" flags, when the community could very simply and easily have deleted the post on its own through half as many spam or offensive flags.

"But badp! We can't flag as spam because it's not promotional content! We can't flag as offensive because it's not abusive, hate speech or offensive!"

Please consider addressing this so that it's possible for the community to delete these posts from orbit on their own. Stack Overflow and pals may get away with it thanks to the amount of trusted users it enjoys, but that's really the exception here.

Gaming's average moderator response this month was over 5 hours. Clearly such posts shouldn't be warranted 5 hours' worth of lifetime. This crap needs to go, and I'd very much rather see the community throwing it away rather than just planting a sign on it saying "please remove it." (Especially since you don't actually have to get your hands dirty!)

Those posts are a red flag problem - posts that need to go, and go fast, and be inflicted upon as few people as possible. The solution needs to be a red flag, not a yellow flag where moderators have to apply policies and leave comments and otherwise exercise judgement.

Two possible ways to give a red flag solution to a red flag problem:

  • Explicitly incorporate clearly meaningless, contentless, garbled, garbage posts in the existing spam flag reason description, matching the definition of spam provided by wikipedia: "unsolecited, unwarranted mass posts." No one solecited or warranted gibberish on this site.
  • Make the clearly meaningless, contentless, garbled, garbage posts its own "red" flag reason, stacking together with offensive and spam posts for all practical purposes.
  • 11
    I think "Not An Answer" describes it well enough: "This was posted as an answer, but it does not answer the question. It should possibly be an edit, a comment, another question, or deleted altogether." Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 1:09
  • meta.stackexchange.com/questions/69989/…
    – random
    Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 1:10
  • 8
    @ProblematicTitleException And that's the problem. It's the wrong type of flag. You shouldn't need a moderator to handle that. Use that for edits, or comments, or new questions, or me too!s, or thank you!s, or comment replies... there's plenty (too many) use cases for that flag that don't warrant immediate destruction of the post, -100 reputation and free downvotes.
    – badp
    Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 1:10
  • 1
    @badp I don't think it's a big deal because it's extremely rare for me to encounter posts like this on SO, so 20k deletion + NaA flags should be enough. I don't know about other sites. Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 1:13
  • @Shog9 Not really. There I ask if the spam flag is the right way to go. Here I ask for a definitely right way to go, whatever it might be, so long as it's RED.
    – badp
    Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 1:13
  • @ProblematicTitleException How many sites have enough trusted users?
    – badp
    Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 1:13
  • 2
    @badp A totally necessary distinction Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 1:14
  • Gamings average mod response time is 5 hours Then elect more mods. I wouldn't mind a diamond. :P
    – John
    Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 2:07
  • 4
    Unless your flag queue on Gaming is very different from mine on EE, the "average mod response time" is nearly useless: On one hand, you have easy stuff like this that gets cleaned up seconds after a mod sees it - That is the response time that counts. On the other hand, you have flags where you've commented, asking the user to improve something, and are simply waiting for them to log back in. Maybe the average of the upper quartile of flags would be more useful? Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 4:41
  • 1
    already there as shog noted, so declining
    – waffles
    Commented Dec 19, 2011 at 6:46
  • I would upvote this post a million times if I could. Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 2:47

2 Answers 2


I originally recommended using the offensive flag option here, because the wording fit and it allowed a sufficient number of flaggers to remove such nonsense from the site quickly.

That's still reasonable in many cases: the jackasses who post answers consisting of nothing but long, repeating strings of obscenities come to mind, and while perhaps borderline I wouldn't be upset to see "offensive" flags on examples such as the one given here either.

That said, there's now an alternative: Very Low Quality flags (available on any answer scoring 0 or less) kick the answer into the Low Quality review queue - at this point, anyone with review permissions can recommend (or, with sufficient rep, vote) for deletion on the answer. This doesn't require moderator involvement and allows folks without full delete-vote privileges to participate in quickly cleaning up such trash.

(Note though that if a VLQ-flagged answer is not deleted by review, future VLQ flags will revert to requiring moderator attention)


Ordinary users can already delete answers: the answer must have a negative score (not a problem here) and three users with 20k reputation must vote to delete it.

Ok, the requirements are so stringent that most SE 2.0 sites have trouble meeting them. How do you propose reducing these requirements without allowing answers to be deleted by just anyone?

  • 1
    "Just anyone" can already delete any answer through enough red flags (spam and/or offensive). They just need flagging rights (how much, 15 rep?) I'm asking for a red flag solution to a red flag problem.
    – badp
    Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 1:16
  • 5
    @badp spam and offensive flags are for egregious cases, that are not just noise but actively damaging. A nonsense post is not actively damaging. If you want to make nonsense a category similar to spam and offensive, count me as strongly opposed. Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 1:19
  • 7
    I disagree. A nonsense post is clearly damaging to the site, especially when posted by CckSckerNomNom3432. It's quite literally poop on the floor we work so hard to make it shine. It stinks. It rots. It makes people gag. It needs to go.
    – badp
    Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 1:20
  • 3
    @badp “A nonsense post is [proof by assertion] damaging”: again, I disagree. If the poster's name is offensive, that's a different flagging reason, for which there is no canned flag. Mind you, in the context of the poster's name, the post itself could be considered offensive, in which case there is no need for a separate red flag reason. Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 1:22
  • 7
    Regardless of the username, it's still poop on the floor.
    – badp
    Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 1:23

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