I see an answer (sorry, 10K only if it is deleted) that is full of only question marks:

screen shot

How did that make it past the post filter? Is it a bug in that undisclosed algorithm?

  • 10
    Because no lower case I's
    – random
    Commented Sep 28, 2012 at 21:17
  • Looking at the users previous answer, one can only speculate that something unsavory was said.
    – Lix
    Commented Sep 28, 2012 at 21:20
  • 1
    What do you mean by "made it past the low-quality filter"? What did you expect to happen?
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Sep 28, 2012 at 21:34
  • 4
    Well, @Anna, this?
    – Arjan
    Commented Sep 28, 2012 at 21:40
  • @Arjan Right. So, how do we know that didn't happen? The user could've clicked past the "how to answer" page. Not sure now if it appeared in the low quality queue. I would expect so, but it's hard to tell now.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Sep 28, 2012 at 21:42
  • Good point, @Anna, maybe it did happen indeed!
    – Arjan
    Commented Sep 28, 2012 at 21:42
  • 2
    @AnnaLear Now the point is: Is there a point where a post is so blatantly bad that you can't post it, even after dismissively passing a wall of text that nobody reads?
    – nanofarad
    Commented Sep 28, 2012 at 22:52
  • @ObsessiveFOSS For questions, yes. For answers, not so much. It's harder to automatically gauge quality like that, since sometimes an ultra short answer is valid and complete.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Sep 28, 2012 at 22:56
  • @AnnaLear It can still realize that repeating the same character(or a few characters) without explanation is not really an answer, and require some real text is added?
    – nanofarad
    Commented Sep 28, 2012 at 23:31
  • @ObsessiveFOSS That wouldn't really stop all that many questions. People intent on spamming the system could still come up with other text to enter that passes the filter easily enough.
    – Servy
    Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 19:24
  • @Servy Are you referring to putting in good text then editing it within the grace period?
    – nanofarad
    Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 20:25
  • @ObsessiveFOSS No, just preventing people from posting an answer (or editing an answer to) nothing other than ??????????????????????
    – Servy
    Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 20:27

1 Answer 1


It didn't. The quality score on that was far, far below the threshold for blocking low-quality answers - as Anna notes, he could have just clicked through the warning anyway, but it doesn't appear that he even saw it...

Because the author of that answer didn't post that answer. He posted a different answer. I don't know what it contained, but it did make it past the quality filter.

And then he edited that answer, twice, within the 5-minute grace period. So there's no visible indication that the answer was edited, but whatever it originally contained was replaced with those question marks.

Why? I have no idea.

  • 7
    Is the original forever gone? Does the database literally overwrite the original if inside the 5 minute grace period?
    – nhinkle
    Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 4:16
  • 11
    @nhinkle I think cases like that could be easier to handle if this feature request was implemented: Make first draft of a new answer part of the permanent revision history
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 7:39
  • IMHO grace period edits(and future self-edits) need to be sent through the post filter also.
    – nanofarad
    Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 11:18
  • 1
    @nhinkle: yes, revisions are overwritten within the grace period.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 29, 2012 at 14:39

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