Some answers are plain wrong, or even harmful. Usually these get spotted pretty quickly and either fixed or deleted by the poster, on the basis of comments/votes.

Sometimes though these slip under the radar - the OP ignores the downvotes/comments, or nobody even picks up on it the first time around.

I've always assumed that VLQ flags in the 10K queue for answers that are technically flawed, but otherwise OK were effectively "request for review by somebody knowledgeable in this area". It seems though that this is not the intended use of VLQ flags.

How should answers like this be handled instead if VLQ is not appropriate? Is there a mechanism for requesting further review? Raising them in chat is sometimes an option, but not always appropriate.

The useful actions that might happen as a result of increased visibility:

  • Edits by domain experts
  • Downvotes to hide the poor answer
  • Less flawed answers by experts
  • Delete votes by 20K users

Would a "technical issue flag" that pushes to a tab in /review help?

  • Would correct answers to a different question also be covered in your view? Came across this answer the other day with 15 upvotes but utterly useless to the question that was asked. Feb 16, 2012 at 10:53
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    I think the only harm here comes when an accepted answer falls out of correctness due to subsequent advancements or changes. In that case, yes, we hope that real domain experts look at and fix these answers. For the rest, I think down voting is more than sufficient.
    – user50049
    Feb 16, 2012 at 10:55
  • I received a decline flag because I felt this answer was not worth salvaging...stackoverflow.com/a/1420371/51507 Feb 16, 2012 at 12:07
  • @davidsleeps I removed that answer because it was link only, provided no explanation as to why DNN would be good and was oozing snarky comments. However, my decision was based purely on the quality of the answer, which was .. not good.
    – user50049
    Feb 16, 2012 at 12:32
  • @Tim Thanks, so for future flagging, I just needed to mention those attributes...not that it was totally wrong (and -15 at the time)...I felt ripped off getting a decline flag, because I didn't know what else to do... Feb 16, 2012 at 12:43
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    @davidsleeps Yes, unless the flag reason is outright obvious, a little context helps. I'm not sure why your flag was declined, as the answer had fundamental quality issues. It was clearly NAA, but your flag didn't really point to that.
    – user50049
    Feb 16, 2012 at 13:06
  • @Tim, you're right...it doesn't. Think I was too close to the cause... Feb 16, 2012 at 13:27
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    +1 for a technical issues flag. +100 if that flag never shows up in the mod queue. -100000000 if it does.
    – user1228
    Feb 16, 2012 at 15:29
  • @won't - never shows in mod queue was exactly what I was thinking when I wrote this. The existence of that next to the vlq flag ought to make the purpose of vlq much clearer too.
    – Flexo
    Feb 16, 2012 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


I realize there are some cases where you might realize that an answer is incorrect, but find yourself without the ability to fix it properly.

Perhaps the solution here is to allow users that have sufficient reputation to edit without approval check a box that says "I'd like this edit to be peer reviewed before being applied." This would let you take your 'best shot' at fixing something, while giving others an opportunity to review and improve your fix through the existing suggested edit queue.

Still, in most cases, if you know something is wrong you can probably edit it yourself and fix it.

If you think an answer is positively wrong and not worth salvaging (for correctness), down vote and (at your option) leave a comment. I know users do odd things, but I'm sure that the vast majority of people using the site would be skeptical of using a solution that has a -12 score, even if it has a green check mark next to it.


Moderators have the ability to add notices to answers similar to how Wikipedia adds notices to articles. The menu, however is quite limited and that is decidedly by design:


If you think an answer needs one of the above notices placed on it, flag the answer as 'other' and indicate which notice it needs with a brief explanation of why it should be applied.

I don't think we'll ever get a "This answer is just plain wrong, please make sure you use this as an example of what not to do." notice. That's what down votes and editing are supposed to be serving.

Just remember, we reserve banners for answers that are of reasonably good quality, just missing key components.

  • +1 you're right...it's just frustrating to see it (perhaps it's ok for a green check because the OP thought it was helpful)...but te -10 and beyond scores really in a way are worse than spam...i guess they can be used as a "this is defintely not an answer to your problem in case you thought it was" type answers... Feb 16, 2012 at 12:10
  • @davidsleeps I've searched SO for solutions to quite a few kludges I wrote that closely resembled some of the -10 answers that I found. They are useful, as they scream "if the code you have looks like this, you're doing it wrong.", or "If you think doing [this] is going to make it better, you're wrong." Completely wrong answers are failures that we can learn from. They are other people's failures that we conveniently avoid.
    – user50049
    Feb 16, 2012 at 12:17
  • There is a place for them (sigh), but maybe they need to be voted the other way...big red warning background with flashing edges around the post and down votes give the answerer points :) Feb 16, 2012 at 12:19
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    @davidsleeps We do have some Wikipedia style post notices that could be used, but they indicate specific things that are wrong with an answer (no references, too short, etc). We don't have a 'general' "This answer is a good example of what not to do" notice though. I'll take a screen shot of the menu available and update my answer with it. You can always flag and say "This answer needs a [foo] banner because [ ... ]" and we'll apply it if we agree.
    – user50049
    Feb 16, 2012 at 12:22
  • I think that makes sense and is a very reasonable solution. Most users would delete an answer that received that many downvotes but have likely abandoned the account anyway Feb 16, 2012 at 12:42
  • @davidsleeps In most cases yes.. others are known to put on their flame retardant pants and let the wrong answer stand, if only to serve as a cautionary tale (and then we have long since abandoned accounts).
    – user50049
    Feb 16, 2012 at 13:07

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