I declined the flags on that post.
When I received the flags on the answer, I noted the following things:
- Three flags were
Not an answer (demonstrably false -- it was an answer, just not a very good one)
- Two flags were
Link Only Answer discouraged for reasons outlined here and here.
- The user is new at answering. They may have been a member for a year, but they just started answering questions -- it's not unexpected for them to get it wrong.
So, I declined the flags.
When I initially hit decline, I did not see the user's reply in the comments. Later when I left my comment, I saw his comment.
That's not something we see from the moderator queue window. Had I seen the user's comment, I would have marked the flags as helpful and deleted the answer myself.
I left a comment for the user, letting them know why they should improve their answer, and asking them to improve it.
The people who did the right thing and tried to engage the user didn't flag -- that's a good thing. They tried to work it out without resorting to involving moderators first. The people who flagged, didn't engage the user -- they just flagged.
Another moderator came along and subsequently deleted the post. I agree with his actions.
The problem with just marking flags as helpful is that it can encourage behavior we don't want to encourage.
I don't want to encourage users to just create an SEDE query to look at all answers that have
http:// and have less than x characters. I can do that. The SE development team can do that -- we don't need users to spend their time on that.
I don't want to encourage users to just flag and flee -- because that doesn't change behavior positively, if anything, it fuels animosity towards an opaque process that from the outside world could be viewed as elitism.
I don't want to encourage you to take every single problem on the site to a moderator -- that doesn't scale. If the community can learn to police itself and to engage with other users instead of dumping that work on the moderators, you'll find that people may respond more positively, and it'll leave moderators to handle the currently 695+ 'other' flags that signify something the community itself believes it can't handle.