Earlier I flagged this "answer":

Please used this tutorial here

I flagged it as "not an answer" since this is how we are supposed to flag link-only answers, but received the following response.

not an answer – 1 hour ago declined - The correct response is to down-vote and/or comment. There is no need to get moderators involved.

I completely disagree with this response, and thought I would mention it here (I had a couple of other flags declined earlier which I was also a bit dubious about, but this one seems clear cut).

Has the policy changed?

  • @gnat where this example is covered in "makes no effort to answer the question" ? – hayd Jul 17 '13 at 11:55
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    Don't fret over the odd declined flag. – ChrisF Jul 17 '13 at 15:10
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    If everyone was so much in agreement that it wasn't an answer, then why was mine the first downvote? – mmyers Jul 17 '13 at 15:42
  • @ChrisF I have flagged (seriously) hundreds of "answers" very similar to this, in my experience very few are declined (and I thought I had researched that flagging them was correct). Personally I don't see any merit in this being kept around as an answer... it could be a comment (maybe) but it's not an answer... I'm shocked this isn't unanimous or indeed popular. – hayd Jul 17 '13 at 15:59
  • @hayd - you should be down-voting and hence unlocking the delete answer option for high rep users. There's really no need to involve the moderators in the process. – ChrisF Jul 17 '13 at 16:00
  • @ChrisF so if these appear in the 10k review queue they should be flagged as invalid? I don't understand this at all, to me this clearly isn't an answer so I don't see why NAA is incorrect. Bad as it sounds to say it, but I don't want to throw away my rep on every crappy "answer" in the queue on the off chance they'll be deleted and I just don't think they will be. – hayd Jul 17 '13 at 16:09
  • @hayd - whether you flag them as invalid is up to you. However, remember that you get the reputation back when the answer is eventually deleted. – ChrisF Jul 17 '13 at 16:13
  • @ChrisF yet still a huge number of similar flags are being marked as helpful and the post deleted... This is the confusing/inconsistent part, and it means I've no idea how to behave in future. I do downvote regularly, but I'm not going to do it on every bad post, and I'll be less likely to if there is a higher probability that poor answers won't be deleted... like this one. Thanks for taking the time to comment. – hayd Jul 17 '13 at 16:23
  • @hayd - unless you (and others) down-vote the answerer and others won't know that they are poor answers. – ChrisF Jul 17 '13 at 16:26
  • @ChrisF a comment also can explain why it's a bad answer... don't see why it has to be a downvote (other than to trigger deletion hurdle) – hayd Jul 17 '13 at 16:34
  • @hayd - yes a comment would explain why it's a bad answer. The down-vote is to trigger the deletion – ChrisF Jul 17 '13 at 21:33

2 moderators Anna Lear and George Stocker have mentioned in the same post that link only answers should not be flagged as Not An Answer.

I don't think flagging as "not an answer" is appropriate. So I'd leave a comment instead of flagging


a link only answer is an answer, and a "Not an answer" flag is not appropriate

I personally agree with the flag decline reason. The following canned comment educates the user about the recommended approach. Thus giving time for appropriate editing of the answer instead of putting burden on the mods.

While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes

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    Worth to mention that Anna isn't just a moderator, she is community manager meaning Stack Exchange employee and it's her full time job to answer such debates. The diamond is just part of her role. – Shadow9 Jul 17 '13 at 11:28
  • ...and yet the majority of my NAA (link-only) flags, of which I suspect I have several hundred (from 1600+ helpful flags), have resulted in deletion... – hayd Jul 17 '13 at 11:38

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