The following answer to this question came up in the Low Quality Review, and five users (including myself) thought that the answer

firewall thing firewall thing firewall thing firewall thing firewall thing

wasn't really helpful, and voted to delete it. Frustratingly enough, one user robo-approved it, and so the answer stuck. No big deal, I sent a comment to the user in question, and flagged the answer for moderator attention.

I just checked back and the flag had been declined with the usual "no evidence to support it" message. Maybe it was because the original poster was answering their own question, albeit in a horrible fashion?

Before anyone jumps to conclusions, I don't care about my flagged/answer ratio, I'm just genuinely curious, so I can keep the answer to this question in mind for future flaggings: how is this a valid answer?

  • It's not. What was the question again?
    – user102937
    Dec 5, 2012 at 18:33
  • 1
    My question is, why was the flag declined? Did someone think it was a valid answer? Dec 5, 2012 at 18:34
  • 11
    I think the answerer's profile page provides some insight: heavy drinking at work works for me.
    – Pekka
    Dec 5, 2012 at 18:36

2 Answers 2


I rejected your flag.

There is really no good answer to this, as none of the choices are optimal.

As Robert said, your flag got piggybacked on top of a spam flag. Because we can only take one action for each group of unique, active flags on the post, I rejected it, as spam flags can carry a penalty if acted upon.

So why wasn't this spam?

Well, the answer was from the user who posted the question, asking why their program couldn't connect to a service. I read the cryptic answer ("firewall firewall firewall") to mean that it was a firewall issue on their machine which blocked access to the service.

That makes it "Too Localized" and not spam (hence the "Too Localized" closure from me)

Unfortunately, your flag had to be rejected in the process.

We've also been asked by SE to take a very literal approach to VLQ, NAA, and Spam flags. If a flag is processed as helpful on these posts, then these posts are candidates for being honeypots in the review queue.

It most definitely wasn't an answer, but it wasn't spam, and given the fact that spam flags carry a penalty, and we're supposed to process these literally (and the Spam flag was the heavier of the two, it screams bright red in the mod queue!), I felt the flag had to be rejected. Your flag was an unfortunate side effect.

In an ideal world where your flag was the only one on the post, I would have marked the flag as helpful, and then closed the post as "Too Localized"; the flag was helpful, even though it is an answer to the question (albeit a sparse, and hard-to-decipher one).

It could be a comment, but honestly, given that it invalidates the entire question, it doesn't really matter, what's important is that your flag would have been marked as helpful.

  • I agree, the answer most certainly wasn't spam, unless they were advertising their new product "Firewall Thing", which I doubt :) If my flag being rejected was an unfortunate side-effect of how the system currently works, so be it. It's unfortunate you can't accept/reject flags on an individual basis, but that would probably be extremely cumbersome on the moderators, and I suspect this type of event doesn't happen very often. Thanks for the update! Dec 5, 2012 at 20:19
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    @LittleBobbyTables No problem. Note, the feature request for what you're mentioning has been kicked around for a while and would be helpful in this instance. I'd love to be able to drill down into that option if need be, but as the default, process them in a batch.
    – casperOne
    Dec 5, 2012 at 20:23
  • "been asked by SE to take a very literal approach to... NAA" interesting, what's the current party line regarding link only answers? Are these literally treated as NAA, or not?
    – gnat
    Dec 5, 2012 at 21:51
  • @gnat Yes, they are to be NAA. We encourage you to flag them as NAA as it's obvious to the moderators that they are link only and should be processed accordingly. It also helps our workflow tremendously if you flag them as NAA vs something else.
    – casperOne
    Dec 5, 2012 at 22:00
  • sounds good, thanks. Would you mind if your comment will be quoted in not an answer tag wiki for further references?
    – gnat
    Dec 6, 2012 at 7:53

There's no way to dismiss moderator flags on the same post from two different users in different ways. If two users flag a post, and a moderator declines the first flag, your flag also gets declined, regardless of its merit.

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    So in theory if someone flags the answer as "spam", and someone else flags it as "not an answer", if the spam flag gets declined, all of the flags get declined? Seems kind of odd, although it would speed up the review process I guess. Dec 5, 2012 at 18:35
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    Yes, that's how it works. Normally, I dismiss flags as helpful under these circumstances.
    – user102937
    Dec 5, 2012 at 18:38
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    Does the order of raised flags matter? That is, if an answer gets an NAA flag, will the later Spam flag be declined if a moderator deems the first flag invalid? Dec 5, 2012 at 20:31
  • @LinusKleen Nope, it's an all-or-none affair, order doesn't matter.
    – casperOne
    Dec 5, 2012 at 20:38

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