The OP on the question is having problems with jQuery & opacity in IE 9.

jQuery, Internet Explorer 9 gets wrong opacity

The answer here is a chunk of code that merely tells IE visitors to switch browsers. I flagged it as "not an answer" and my flag has been denied.

If this answer had simply been, "do not support IE, use a real browser", it would have been removed as "not an answer". However, since it also contains some code which redirects all IE visitors to, "this site does not support IE, get a real browser", it stands.

This makes no sense. How can merely including a totally irrelevant chunk of code suddenly turn a non-answer into an answer?


Here is the text of my second flag. I'm posting this to show that I indeed did what was suggested in the comments below.

"I am flagging this again. His 'answer' is a script that tells the visitor to upgrade their browser. Therefore, this does not even come close to answering the OP. See comments on answer."

Thank-you everyone for your input. This was very educational.

  • 1
    It didn't answer the question properly, and in the comments the guy turned into kind of a jerk. – CBredlow Sep 11 '12 at 16:18
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    If there is some code, it can be seen as an attempt to answer. The moderators are not to decide if it is a good answer. – Bo Persson Sep 11 '12 at 16:18
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    If it looks like an answer and quacks like an answer, it's an answer. No matter how poor you may think it is. That's what downvotes are for. – Bart Sep 11 '12 at 16:18
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    The question is about CSS opacity though... this is NOT an answer to that question at all... If the question was about how to lose half your user base, then this would be a decent answer. – user159834 Sep 11 '12 at 16:24
  • 2
    Exactly @WesleyMurch. It's code, but it's just code, and it has nothing to do with the question at all. – Sparky Sep 11 '12 at 16:26
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    @WesleyMurch So feel free to downvote it into oblivion. I've said it before, but the decision if something answers the question at all or not is not to be deferred to a moderator and no reason to flag it. "Not an answer" does not equal "Does not answer the question". – Bart Sep 11 '12 at 16:26
  • 1
    The answer is gone now. What's the point of keeping it around? FWIW, I do agree that it's "not an answer", because I see no attempt to answer the question whatsoever (which seems to fall in line with the updated description of the flag), just somebody trying to be a smartass by way of writing code. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Sep 11 '12 at 16:44
  • @BoltClock'saUnicorn Mod-deleted? I can't wait for the "I flagged this saying, what's the point of keeping it around, but it still got rejected. Even though this question..." ;) – Bart Sep 11 '12 at 16:46
  • @Bart: Yeah, mod-deleted. Wasn't me, though. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Sep 11 '12 at 16:48
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    The take away here is that if it's not an answer in that it doesn't answer the question, you need to help us out sometimes and tell us why it doesn't answer the question. We get hundreds of NAA flags per day, so help us out on the ones where it's not immediately obvious. – casperOne Sep 11 '12 at 16:55
  • Yes @casperOne, I agree. Something I left out in my OP above is that I figured that to be the case, so I flagged it a second time along with a detailed reason. It was denied again so I came here to meta to get clarification. – Sparky Sep 11 '12 at 17:06

That's as borderline a case as I can remember ever seeing. I definitely see why the first "not an answer" flag was declined. Even after your second flag explaining that the code is just a work-around, I was still on the fence. If you stand way back and squint it kind of still looks like an answer. It wasn't until I read the comments where the answerer explained that his post was basically just to say "F*** IE" that it was clear that this wasn't a good-faith effort at any kind of real answer. Deleted.

  • 2
    "it was clear that this wasn't a good-faith effort at any kind of real answer" So it fits the updated description of "does not attempt to answer the question"? I'm trying to familiarize myself with the nuances of the whole thing, what with my answer having won 2 bounties now. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Sep 11 '12 at 16:52
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    @BoltClock'saUnicorn I'd say so, yes. Although the question itself is only implied, I don't think redirecting IE users is what the OP was asking for. – Bill the Lizard Sep 11 '12 at 16:58
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    I was the one to decline the second flag, and I did so because I read the answer as an attempt to say "don't do that". That can be a viable answer, so I wanted to err on the side of not deleting content in a debatable case like this. – Brad Larson Sep 11 '12 at 16:59
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    @BradLarson That crossed my mind as well, so I figured it was why you declined the flag. If the OP had been talking about IE6 I might have been tempted to let the answer stand as well, but I don't know if "don't do that" can be applied as widely as all versions of IE. – Bill the Lizard Sep 11 '12 at 17:08

Moderators should not be called to judge the correctness of an answer. The "not an answer" flag should be used for:

  • Comments written as answer ("Thank you! You saved me the day!")
  • A new question written as answer ("I have the same problem, but I didn't install the same module you are using. In the specific, the modules I installed are the following ones: [list of modules]. How can I fix it?")
  • An edit for the question, written as answer ("To add more information, I am using the following modules, and I am using Drupal 7: [list of modules]. Could anybody help with this question, pretty please?")

If the answer is not correct, down-vote it; if the answer falls under one of the categories I listed, flag it as not an answer. Moderators on Stack Overflow don't have the time to investigate all the single flags, as they get many flags. If something is evident, then use a standard flag, or explain with a custom reason what you see wrong; don't use a custom reason for "not an answer," as that would be probably seen as noise.

  • 1
    Actually, after the "not an answer" flag was denied I assumed what you explained in your last sentence was true. So then I flagged it again with a detailed explanation and received the same denial. Oh well, it is what it is. I don't think adding random code to a response that should have originally been a comment suddenly turns that into a valid answer. – Sparky Sep 11 '12 at 16:35
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    A simple guide: Does a moderator need to see the question at all to determine that it's not an answer? If so, then don't flag it as "not an answer". A rough guideline, but it has served me well. – Bart Sep 11 '12 at 16:36
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    BoltClock'saUnicorn brought up a good point. The description of the flag is "This was posted as an answer, but it does not attempt to answer the question." – Sparky Sep 11 '12 at 17:00
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    @Sparky672: That was a relatively recent change, though; for most cases it's still best to do what Bart says. However there's always the occasional borderline case, and in such a scenario it's best to use a custom flag. That said, as you've seen, sometimes the line can get veeerrry thin... – BoltClock's a Unicorn Sep 11 '12 at 17:02

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