I have noticed it is not uncommon for new users to post short, sometime barely related, answers to questions that are more than a year old.

Obviously if it should be a comment, is spam, or is not related at all, it should be dealt with accordingly, but I'm more interested in getting feedback on answers that don't necessary address the question but might be related. Had it been posted at the time the question was first asked, it would have received enough attention to be fixed or clarified at that time, but since it is on an old question, the OP may no longer be around and/or the question does not have enough attention anymore to have the community deal with it.

The best example I ran into today is this one.

So this question is barely related to the original question. But I can make an argument that it might be helpful to someone in the future because it does suggest a potential solution to a similar problem. However it doesn't address the OP's question, especially since the OP accepted an answer that is not related to this late answer.

What is the correct method for dealing with such a response:

  1. Do we flag it as "not an answer"
  2. Should this be downvoted since it doesn't answer the OP's question, even though it might be technically accurate.
  3. Or is something like this perfectly acceptable as an answer?

To clarify, I'm trying to get some feedback/guidance on where is the line (or gray area) between "Not an Answer" and a bad (downvote worthy) answer. How related (or unrelated) to the original question does it need to be before "Not an Answer" becomes a better option.

  • Just leave it if you are not sure whether it will solve problem. Down vote if you are sure the answer address something related but REALLY not the solution to the problem in anyway.
    – nhahtdh
    Oct 2 '12 at 19:21
  • 1
    I don't think this falls under any of the Flag as Nan on the What is an acceptable answer? FAQ a comment might be worth while. Oct 2 '12 at 19:33
  • @SomeHelpfulCommenter in this particular instance, I agree that it is not "not an answer", but this was a recent example that I came upon. The purpose of my question was to try to get some feedback as how related (or unrelated) to the original question does an answer need to be to be considered "Not an Answer" and when is a downvote warrented instead Oct 2 '12 at 19:41

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