What made me ask?
I flagged this (only for 10K users) answer as a Not an Answer, moderator declined it saying
declined - flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer
When I flagged, the answer was like this
Check this out..
If having any doubt, revert back.. Glad to help//
Later the poster edited the answer and added more information, thus making my flag invalid. Probably that made moderator decline my flag. Poster eventually deleted his answer, so the answer was probably worthless anyway.
That flag is gone, and nothing can be done about it, but I would like to know situations when you shouldn't flag a link only answers.
This is what I come up with(and the actions I normally take)
First thing, I always use Not An Answer flag for link only answers.
I did some research (and from my flagging experiences), and come out with this
- If the answer is accepted - I don't flag
- If the answer is the only one, and is up voted (so the link is helpful enough) - I don't flag
- If the link is dead - forget everything else and flag
- A new answer to an old popular questions with plenty of answers and votes - I normally flag
Those are the easy situations. But there are some other scenarios
- The answer is up voted ,but other up voted answers are there - I normally flag, even if I don't have technical knowledge of whether the answer is useful or not.
A first answer to new question - tricky one, I always flag in this case, but I got one or two scars to show for it. If the poster is new user, then I sometimes write a comment. But to a user with more than 20 or 30 answers, I just flag(unless I have the comment in my clipboard). Frankly, I am not sure what to do in this case.
The problem here is, I am running the risk of poster coming back again and editing the post to make my flag invalid. I know it is good for the community, because they now have a better answer. But I still don't know why moderators decline the flag, if it is flagged before the answer was edited. They sure can see the edit/flag timeline, right?
- First answer from a new user, I always try to make a comment in this case, but I do flag.
I just want to know whether I am doing it correctly in above situations. As someone started to review recently, link only answers are the one I struggled with most.
I know this whole link only answer business is a tricky beast to solve. I also know there are contrasting opinions around community about whether or not to flag link only answers. But since the general way of doing across the community is to flag link only answers, I would like to get a strong grasp on how to handle the case.
I got one more flag declined because poster comes back and edited the answer. This was a year old, inactive question with plenty of answers and votes, and the user comes up with a link only answer. I promptly flagged it, user comes back and edited the answer, and my flag got declined. Makes me wonder whether I am doing the right thing in flagging link only answers in the first place. Something not right.