I flagged an answer with the option very low quality. According to this option description:

This answer has severe formatting or content problems.

As far as I understand, the word content here means the technical side of the answer - the actual information given in the answer, and if it's technically incorrect, then the answer has severe content problems.

But I've got a flag declined with the reason flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer. This reason seems to conflict with the very low quality option description.

I'm not going to argue with this decision. I just want to understand the policy behind it in order to flag properly in future.

Question: when is the question considered to have severe content problems?

  • Probably when the poster's language is so poor that it is impossible to extract anything useful out of the post without making assumption?
    – nhahtdh
    Jul 4 '12 at 9:08
  • Nope, that flag is purely about aesthetics, grammar, spelling etc.. Jul 4 '12 at 9:30
  • 1
    key point in flag description is "...unlikely to be salvageable through editing..." - ie if you can not even imagine it being edited into something understandable, use the flag. Example: answer like "dfgdfgdfgd hjkhjk". In any other case, VLQ flag is quite risky - moderator may figure the way to "squeeze" some sense from flagged answer and decline VLQ.
    – gnat
    Jul 4 '12 at 9:46
  • 1
    If the problem with the answer is just that it's incorrect, i.e. with "the technical side of the answer", then it should be downvoted and not flagged - unless it's dangerously or maliciously evil (as described @Manish's answer below).
    – razlebe
    Jul 4 '12 at 10:37
  • Comments are also helpful. Thanks, people! Jul 4 '12 at 10:39
  • 1
    Downvotes (and editing) are for wrong answers. Flags are for things that require moderator intervention. Think about it logistically for a moment. Moderators couldn't possibly act on every wrong answer on Stack Overflow. Jul 4 '12 at 14:29

Jeff says:

Ask yourself this:

Would you be embarrassed to be associated with this post if it had your name on it?

To me that is the essence of Very Low Quality. Not just bad but embarrassingly bad.

I guess a wrong answer is embarrassing. Then again, there's another part of the flag--the "unlikely to be salvageable" part.

Jeff also says:

VLQ means the flagger thinks this post is beyond saving -- no amount of editing or polishing will turn this particular turd into gold. It is a call for a pooper-scooper.

Even wrong answers can be corrected--usually it's only a small part of them which is wrong. I think the answerer could have fixed this question(which is the one you're talking about, right?) on the basis of your comment (not sure, though).

A bit more regarding wrong answers: (though it talks about upvoted wrong answers, which can't be VLQ-flagged, anyway)

If it is really, really wrong (as in dangerously wrong, like 'delete C:\NTLDR in order to improve computer performance'), flag it for moderator attention.

  • Brilliant! I think I got it now! And yes, the answer you reference is the one I'm talking about and I DO think it could be fixed by the author based on my comment (or at least removed). Thank you for the explanations! Jul 4 '12 at 10:00

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