Since the shift away from using flag weight, I have noticed an increase in the number of items in the flag queue in the 10k tools flagged inappropriately as Not An Answer (IMO).

Here is one example of what I'm seeing.

Namely, low quality or incorrect answers being flagged as Not An Answer.

Generally, when I see these I agree that the posts are low quality, but I frequently think that they are in fact answers, just very low quality ones.

Sometimes, it seems someone is going through several low quality answers to a single question and flagging them as Not An Answer.

My question is, how should I respond to these Not An Answer flags if I disagree with them, but agree that the post is wrong or low quality?

  1. Mark as invalid flag?
  2. Add a low quality flag, if I think downvotes are not a sufficient response?
  3. Flag the question if it's answers are attracting multiple Not An Answer flags?

Some combination of these three? I'm curious what would be most helpful for the moderators...

  • both examples you provided, look worth converting to comments to me (for lacking details). BTW such conversion is included into not-an-answer options but seems to be safer to communicate through Other flag
    – gnat
    Feb 17, 2012 at 6:57

2 Answers 2


I thought both of the examples you linked to were borderline, but I do think there's been an increase in the number of inappropriate "Not an Answer" flags lately. I dismissed over a dozen this morning that were just pointing out technically inaccurate answers that should have just been downvoted. There were several other "Not an Answer" flags on answers to questions that were already closed as "Not Constructive".

The best things you can do to help us out in these cases are two things you already suggested.

  • Mark as invalid flag when "Not an Answer" is used to point out a wrong answer that should have been simply downvoted.

  • Flag the question if its answers are attracting multiple Not An Answer flags and the question needs moderator attention (closed or deleted). This will help us head off additional inappropriate flags.

  • 1
    I wonder if the increase in inappropriate flags is due to the flag weight policy change. Now that there's no penalty for bad flagging. Feb 17, 2012 at 14:15
  • @MattFenwick That was my thinking as well. Flags are still prioritized based on number of helpful/unhelpful flags, but that's a small penalty that users don't even see. Hopefully flags are still suppressed for a user that does nothing but flag inappropriately. Feb 17, 2012 at 14:24

I think your examples are clear cases that are answers, just bad ones. As such, flagging as not an answer is incorrect. I would mark those flags as invalid if I came across them.

I voted to delete the second question, in hopes of adding votes to convince a mod to delete it.

Down voting is certaiinly appropriate, though it's not always necessary. An old post with a negative score already probably doesn't need more, but that's up to you.

I'm not sure if I would go "low quality" on those.

  • 2
    I think they're both crappy answers. The first one doesn't even have enough useful information to be either right or wrong - it verges on herp-derp - "yes I agree with whatever but don't know why". If that user had at least attempted to back up his assertion then it would fall safely into the "wrong answer" bucket. The second is an attempt at a pithy one liner and fails badly, it doesn't even address the OP's question. In both cases I'd have deleted as well.
    – Kev
    Feb 17, 2012 at 18:06
  • @Kev I appreciate the clarification/opinion on that. I've always been loathe to flag for a deletion anything that I'm not really sure should be, and I wasn't sure if "just horribly wrong" qualified. But I note that you aren't just talking about being factually wrong here, but other quality-related stuff. Feb 17, 2012 at 19:50

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