As a moderator on ServerFault, when handling not an answer flags I find myself rarely reaching for the very first option in the Declined reasons list. This is the option that reads:

Flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer

Instead, I've found myself clicking 'Other' and typing in:

Flags should not be used to indicate very wrong answers, that's what downvotes are for.

It would seem our users do need to be reminded that downvotes are there to indicate wrongness. When I handle flags like this I do drop a downvote on the answer in question if I agree with the flagger, but often I'm the first downvote.

I believe altering the wording of the decline option to be:

Flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer; please down-vote instead.

Would provide direction to our mis-flaggers for appropriate handling of this kind of content.

Is this a good SE-generalizable change, or are we just a special case?

  • I would not say that SF is a special case. I am not sure I would want a direct reference to down-vote in the reject reason, though; I would not want users start to down-vote because a typo in an answer, saying that they were said to do so from a moderator.
    – apaderno
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 12:51
  • @kiamlaluno In our case, when that happens it gets flagged very low quality. But that's our user-base, other user-bases may react differently. The flags I'm talking about here uniformly get flagged not an answer. Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 12:53
  • @kiamlaluno: If somebody sees a typo and they know it to be such, they should really be editing it to fix, not flagging.
    – user147520
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 12:56
  • @Iain There are many users who flag something that should not be flagged. :) The question is about rejecting a flag, which means somebody flagged a post that should not be flagged (e.g. flagging as spam a post containing a legitimate link, or flagging something as very low quality instead of adding the appropriate punctuation).
    – apaderno
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 13:04
  • `...downvote and/or comment instead" seems a bit better to me, but I'd say this is the general case :-)
    – voretaq7
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 6:00

1 Answer 1



The sentiment is "This is so wrong, (or such a bad answer) it needs to be taken off the internet."

I've only done it once or twice however. I agree that a downvote reminder in your mod response would probably be useful.

  • Downvote, then get high-rep users to delete it. Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 14:00
  • @DanielBeck No, you don't get anyone to delete it; that's the point. Just being wrong isn't a reason to delete the answer, it should just be downvoted. That's the whole point of this question.
    – Servy
    Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 15:33
  • @DanielBeck In my experience, once an answer gets much below -5, the answerer self-deletes it the large majority of the time. The rest either go to meta.sf to complain about being harsh on newbs, or don't even notice since they were a drive-by. Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 21:21

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