My flag as not an answer on the question https://stackoverflow.com/a/16470416/656600 has been declined with this message, "declined - flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer".

In this situation what should we do? Ignore the answer knowingly, or is there something else that I do not know?

  • 4
    Weird... This looks like a comment to me (doesn't solve the problem), not an answer Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 18:15
  • 6
    The question does not refer to QuartzCore/QuartzCore.h, only the answers do. So this obviously was a comment to the other answers and thus should be deleted. Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 18:19
  • @ChadFerguson It wasn't immediately obvious to me -- and I can't say it'd be immediately obvious to people outside the Xcode tag. Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 18:31
  • While in this case it's not relevant, for the future also consider that sometimes a flag can be declined because someone else flagged it incorrectly, and the lot of flags are either accepted or declined as a group.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 18:46

3 Answers 3


It's clear to me that this was a comment on one of the answers (I took a guess on which one it was aimed at and migrated it there), but that's not apparent to someone unfamiliar with the topic. "Not an answer" flags should be on obvious non-answers that are clear to anyone, because they don't convey a lot of context.

In the future, I'd recommend using a custom flag for something like this and stating "This appears to be a comment aimed at this answer: XXX", because that's unambiguous and easy for us to act on.


In this particular case, five people flagged the 'answer' as not an answer. While that's usually an indicator that a post is not an answer, we (moderators) can't take that for granted because users also like to flag incorrect answers, link only answers, and solutions that circumvent the user's problem as not an answer.

So that's part of the problem.

If you flag something as Not an answer, it really ought to be immediately obvious to people that have no knowledge in that tag that it is not an answer (the other solution, having a moderator for every tag, doesn't scale at all on Stack Overflow).

If an answer looks like it is attempting to address the question, we're going to decline your flag -- and we could be wrong.

If there's any doubt that something might look like an answer to a passerby, then you ought to use a custom flag (Flag -> "Other"), and explain why it isn't an answer.


  • This answer is not an answer -- it is meant to be a comment on this answer <link>
  • This post doesn't even address the question asked; they may have well posted "Bananas are awesome" for all the relevance this post has
  • This was meant to be a comment on the question, not an answer.
  • 1
    I beg to differ. ""Bananas are awesome" is always relevant. Commented Jul 9, 2013 at 18:41

Incorrect answers should be downvoted. Up and down votes are the way of indicating what the community thinks of a particular answer. Highly-upvoted answers tend to be correct, and answers with fewer votes tend to be less helpful or incorrect. If you wish, you can leave a comment explaining why you downvoted and perhaps asking for additional information or clarification to be added, but this is not required.

As you learned, the NAA flag is for answers that don't attempt to answer question. In this situation, it is unclear whether the user was attempting to answer the question or leave a comment. Moderators who answer NAA flags should not be required to make that determination.

For more details about the appropriate use of the NAA flag, see Flagging as 'Not an answer'.

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