First, I apologize for yet another declined flag post.

However, this question specifically states: "I don't need to be able to go from string to value again." And this answer specifically answers that (how to go from a string to the value).

Seeing how the question has 10 other useful answers, I thought that one that went against the grain didn't need to add more bulk - therefore I flagged it.

I didn't use the "other" option when flagging, however, I left what I believe is a constructive and useful comment explaining why it wasn't an appropriate answer.

And yet, the flag is declined with "flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer."

Am I mistakenly taking the flag description (...it does not attempt to answer the question) a little bit too literal?

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    Bad answers are still answers. Save that flag for answers of "has anyone solved this yet" or "I have a similar problem" – Adam Rackis Apr 18 '13 at 1:54
  • I thought part of the purpose of flagging and reviewing was to keep the site clean from non-answers, and from posts that pollute a question with incorrect answers. I take it then that it's acceptable to have a question full of answers which technically do not answer the question? I'm exaggerating (by using "full of answers") on the question for effect. – Jesse Apr 18 '13 at 2:09
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    @Jesse Incorrect answers should be downvoted, not flagged. SO has 12 moderators, we can't reasonably expect them to be able to judge the technical validity of every answer on every question. Their job is to clear the obvious non answers ("+1, me too!"), the rest is our (the community's) job. – yannis Apr 18 '13 at 2:11
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    @Jesse, what Yannis said, but also note that plenty of the moderators may not have any knowledge of this particular topic. The mod who sees this flag may very well be a C++ expert, with not much knowledge of C# at all. – Adam Rackis Apr 18 '13 at 2:12
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    @Yannis I guess if that's the consensus, then I'll fix my ways. Thanks for clearing that up. – Jesse Apr 18 '13 at 2:13
  • @AdamRackis True, however, I made an explanation which is technology-agnostic. – Jesse Apr 18 '13 at 2:14
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    @Jesse There's an excellent answer on a very similar question with guidance on when to use the "not an answer" flag: meta.stackexchange.com/a/81392/162704 – yannis Apr 18 '13 at 2:15
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    @Yannis Thanks for the reference. However, I am noticing more and more that the subtext to a lot of flags don't do justice to the common sense explanations available here on Meta (which are sometimes hard to find without reading through all of the posts on the topic). I think. – Jesse Apr 18 '13 at 2:18
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    @Jesse - it's true. There's a lot of subtlety involved with close reasons, flagging etc. I understand the team is working on rolling out some changes to help ameliorate this. Just stick with it; I certainly went through a learning process here on when to use which flags—if any—and so on. – Adam Rackis Apr 18 '13 at 2:20
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    @Jesse Even if your explanation was technology agnostic, it's not a moderator's responsibility to judge the technical accuracy of a post (or the technical accuracy of your explanation). When it comes to answers, we are regular users, we can downvote and share our opinion in comments or Meta, and that's about it. And that's a good thing, if we weren't restricted to exercising our powers strictly for janitorial tasks, half (or more) of Programmers wouldn't exist ;) – yannis Apr 18 '13 at 2:22
  • @Yannis / AdamRackis That makes sense; thanks for the explanations and references! – Jesse Apr 18 '13 at 2:24
  • @gnat, yes and no. While the post you and Brad linked do talk about the stricter methods, my question does ask in part about the subtext on the flag. Brad was kind enough to provide a response for declining the flag, while giving a similar explanation (and linking) to the post. – Jesse Apr 18 '13 at 11:25
  • @gnat Unfortunately, mostly everyone focused on how the flag was incorrect, rather than addressing the subtext specifically - and through those explanations, I came to the understanding (and more specifically through Adam Rackis' comment) that the flag subtext can be a bit unhelpful/misleading. – Jesse Apr 18 '13 at 11:26

I declined that flag, for pretty much the reasons that everyone has mentioned in the comments above.

"Not an answer" flags should be on answers that we can tell at a glance aren't attempts to answer the question. This includes "me too" responses, complete gibberish, or questions being asked within answers. We've become more strict with these flags, now that they're being used to seed review audit test cases. In general, if we have to read the entire question to understand why something isn't an appropriate answer, "not an answer" isn't a good flag to use here.

Also, remember that what you're asking us to do with this flag is to unilaterally delete content someone has provided. I'm going to lean towards giving the answerer the benefit of the doubt in these cases, particularly if it's in an area that I'm not as familiar with. I did read your comment, but still couldn't see enough there to cause me to delete the answer.

Sorry about the declined flag, but hopefully you can see what I was thinking here.

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    Brad, I understand why the flag was declined thanks to Yannis, Adam Rackis, and your answer. I greatly appreciate your effort to follow up on questions like this one asking for clarification. Keep up the excellent work! And no hard feelings with the declined flag, it's not the first, and hopefully it'll be the last. – Jesse Apr 18 '13 at 2:30
  • @Jesse - Yeah, I have a pile of declined flags myself. You did the right thing by asking about it when the decision was confusing. We do also make mistakes occasionally. – Brad Larson Apr 18 '13 at 2:37
  • If moderators are supposed to be human exception handlers, and they occasionally make mistakes...how are unhandled exceptions handled?!? Anyway, we're all humans - it happens. Thanks for the feedback! =) – Jesse Apr 18 '13 at 2:42
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    @Jesse Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? If you answer that, you'll also find an answer to how we handle "unhandled exceptions" on Stack Overflow. ;) – yannis Apr 18 '13 at 3:30
  • Noble lie (oversimplified): "if the people believed this myth [of moderation]...[it] would have a good effect." – Jesse Apr 18 '13 at 4:02

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