I flagged this answer as, "not an answer": WriteAllText Not Working

The answer begins (emphasis mine):

This won't solve your problem, but at least will shorten your code and make it maintainable. Replace your code with following, it will do the same.

In the comments the answerer states:

I don't know the answer. His code seems fine to me, just that style is really bad.

The text describing the "not an answer" flag says:

This was posted as an answer, but it does not attempt to answer the question. It should possibly be an edit, a comment, another question, or deleted altogether.

The flag was declined:

a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it

I cannot imagine a more clear cut match between the text that describes "not and answer", and this particular answer. Since the flag was declined, I am clearly misunderstanding what this flag means.

I'd appreciate it if somebody could put me straight and tell me where my disconnect is.

  • don't literally interpret the this wont solve your problem. The answerer should have said this is an alternative way to omit the problem
    – user221081
    Sep 9 '13 at 9:18
  • 1
    @mehow It is not that though. It's an alternative way to write the code that has the same problem. Sep 9 '13 at 10:53
  • do you know that the other approach gives the same problem?
    – user221081
    Sep 9 '13 at 11:14
  • @mehow Yes I do. But that's not relevant. We cannot expect diamond mods to check answers for accuracy. That's what voting is for. But the person that answered the question stated explicitly that the answer did not address the question. The answer essentially says, "This does not answer your question, but it is a better way to organise your code." For sure it's a better way to write the code, but my understanding is that answers are meant to address the specific point of the question. Sep 9 '13 at 11:21

You should flag for not an answer if the answer is something like

  • me too
  • thanks
  • anyone have an answer yet

But this answer is even accepted by the OP (and upvoted by the community) which means it was helpful.

Generally if you need technical know-how on the matter to see if the answer is helpful or not - then don't flag for not an answer.

  • 2
    Generally if you need technical know-how on the matter to see if the answer is helpful or not - then don't flag for not an answer. I understand that. But that doesn't apply here. The person answering announces right at the start that the answer does not address the question that was asked. It seems to me that you are contradicting yourself. I understand that technical know-how is unrelated to not an answer. And likewise for helpful or not. But technical know-how and helpful or not are addressed by voting. Flagging is orthogonal to that. Sep 9 '13 at 8:22
  • 1
    The answerer does not tell what isn't working in the OP's code, but suggests another solution. And it seems it worked. Answerer said: Replace your code with following, it will do the same. He/she provided a different solution to the problem. That is totally fine.
    – juergen d
    Sep 9 '13 at 8:26
  • 3
    That's not the case. "It will do the same" indicates that the code in the answer is semantically the same as that in the question. It merely extracts a repeated block of code into a for loop. The very first line of the answer states: This won't solve your problem Sep 9 '13 at 8:44

The description of that flag says when it should be used:

  • For an edit
    The OP wrote an answer containing more details about the problem he is having. In this case, the answer should be an edit for the question. This happens because users are used to forums, but on Q&A site an edit for the question is not an answer.

  • For a comment
    A user comments on an answer or the question (e.g. "+1. This helped me!") but writes that as an answer. It includes also those answers that ask for more information to the OP, but be careful that some answers are written as rhetorical questions.
    Writing a comment as answer happens because writing comments for other users' questions requires a minimum reputation, or because users are used to forums.

  • For another question
    The user has a someway related question that is written as answer. Answers are just answers for the question, not another question. Don't get confused from those answers written as question.

  • For something to delete altogether
    For example, the user wrote gibberish similar to the following, which clearly is not an attempt to answer the question.

    Test. sdfgsdgv w tw4tw3hbfdv abfehaerg V WG2q3t 24ty3TG2t4Y3y24t 24y 3wyhrg re g f 3y 3.
    If cows flew, we would not worry about pigeons.

In any case, moderators should not be required to check technical inaccuracies. In fact, one of the rejection reasons moderators can use is the following one:

flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer

"Wrong answer" means any attempt to answer the question.
For example, a user could write an answer similar to "I had the same problem, and in my case it was [explanation of what was wrong, and what the user did to resolve the issue]." The user who answered could have misunderstood the question, so that the given answer doesn't apply to the question. If the answer is utterly wrong, it should be down-voted, and that doesn't require any moderator.

  • "If cows flew, we would not worry about pigeons." Wow.
    – Dan Hanly
    Sep 9 '13 at 13:15

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