What difference does it make when selecting the reason to flag an answer? For example the description for "not an answer" and "very low quality" are so similar what's the point of having both?

Does spam have to be soliciting something? If no this would make it the same as not an answer.

  • If the answer has any potential of being a comment, mark it as NAA, as it makes the workflow for moderators easier. If it's not suitable even as a comment, then flag for VLQ. – casperOne Jul 25 '12 at 21:10

There is a pretty big difference between VLQ and NAA.

  • Very low quality is for actual answers that have severe content or formatting problems.


    lol u just have 2 use console.log(err) jquery ftw

  • Not an answer means that the post doesn't attempt to answer the question.

    This flag is appropriate for "answers" that ask for clarification, ask another (related) question, reply to another answer or state that the answerer is having the same problem.


    I'm having the exact same problem. Has nobody found a solution yet?

Practical differences:

  • You can't flag a post as very low quality if it has a positive score.

  • Quality flags get cleared automatically if the post gets edited.

  • A helpful very low quality flag will result in the answer being automatically downvoted.

The spam flag is entirely different from VLQ and NAA:

  • Its explanations says:

    This question is effectively an advertisement with no disclosure. It is not useful or relevant, but promotional.

    Therefore, it only applies to certain posts.

  • Spam posts can get deleted without moderator intervention. Six spam flags are enough.

  • If a post gets deleted as spam, the owner loses 100 rep.

  • "Not an answer" can also be used for link-only answers, or answers that should really be comments. – JimmyPena Jul 25 '12 at 22:46

Well, "Why are you doing x?" is not an answer, but it may be a very valid comment. "You should do y!" is an answer, but it is not very high quality. There is a difference. The former could very well be converted by the moderator to a comment; the latter maybe shouldn't be flagged but the user should be encouraged to add some actual context and explain their answer.

I don't know that I've ever flagged an answer as low quality, but I guess I would if I felt strongly about it, gave the user ample opportunity to improve their post (and they haven't), and the answer is not getting other down-votes (maybe because the question is off the front page, or obscure, what have you).

If we just had one reason instead of two, the moderator responding to the flag would then have to figure out which reason you meant, and they may not always see it the way you did.

  • But don't all require a moderators attention and they would have to read it either way? – Celeritas Jul 25 '12 at 20:33
  • 3
    If you're going to make the moderator analyze the post completely and figure out why you flagged it, why don't you propose not attaching a reason at all? Isn't your question why are there two different reasons, not why are there reasons? – Aaron Bertrand Jul 25 '12 at 20:35
  • @Celeritas - Just to clarify, "very low quality" is for posts that absolutely cannot be improved. These are typically deleted. – jmort253 Jul 26 '12 at 1:16
  • @jmort253 I don't know that you can qualify any post as "absolutely cannot be improved." Since any post can be edited, I'd argue that it is possible to improve any post, regardless of how bad it starts out... – Aaron Bertrand Jul 26 '12 at 1:17
  • @AaronBertrand that may be a good idea, what are you suggesting moderators not analyze the entire post before they delete it? That still doesn't answer the question if the moderator doesn't read the whole thing then there definitly isn't a point in saying what's wrong with it. – Celeritas Jul 26 '12 at 6:55

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