I flagged a post since it contained bare links. And I used this option

enter image description here

And then it was rejected with this

enter image description here

I have been flagging posts using that option for a long time now. Has anything changed?

On another scenario, I got a different declined reason for the same Flag?

enter image description here

The two links in questions are

Multiple input box excel VBA


Excel VBA macro's using If then

If yes, then please let me know what am I doing wrong so I don't make the mistake again...

UPDATE ONE (based on comments below):

I don't care if my flag is approved or declined. Its not that if it is declined then I should get discouraged and stop flagging as mentioned in one of the comments below.

Also whether the mods are in sync or not is again not my concern. That not the issue here.

My point is the bare link cannot be answers and have to be posted as comments and hence flagged under "Not an Answer" because the description of that flag says such (See the red box in the screenshot above).

These are the options that are available to me. I don't see another option which fits what I am trying to do here...

enter image description here

Possible Solution:

We can change the description of that flag and add it under another relevant flag so that there is no confusion?

  • My point is why is there so much difference between. Sometimes it is ok? Sometimes it is not? Oct 8, 2013 at 8:43
  • If you look at the two different answers, and the comments, to the question I link to, you'll see that the mods aren't 100% aligned. And with NAA going to 10k queues, the difference will be even more visible.
    – user213634
    Oct 8, 2013 at 8:47
  • you'll see that the mods aren't 100% aligned. if that is the case then I rest my case. And continue doing what the Tag Description tells me to... I don't wanna get into that ;) Oct 8, 2013 at 8:49
  • 1
    - 1 for what? For asking how should I do something? And clarifying my doubts so that I don't make that mistake again? Superb! Oct 8, 2013 at 8:51
  • Well @SiddharthRout, Link only answers are a tricky beast. I struggled with it for some time, and stopped flagging them. Oct 8, 2013 at 8:53
  • 2
    Well @SiddharthRout, Link only answers are a tricky beast. I struggled with it for some time, and stopped flagging them. – Krishnabhadra just now That's a worst attitude one could could take ;) And that will never help SO Oct 8, 2013 at 8:54
  • Even the most up voted answer to this question right now tells just down vote bad answer and comment, so the poster will comeback to edit it. And there is no fixed rule about LOA here. There are many other methods to help SO, rather than trying out one you are not quite sure about yourself. Oct 8, 2013 at 8:59
  • 2
    Most Upvoted Answer doesn't mean that it "has" to be right answer. ;) Oct 8, 2013 at 9:00
  • Ok, but what would be a right answer in a community like this? If you want a moderator setting a rule for you, then I don't think it is how SO works. Plus, moderators have different take on flagging link only answers. Oct 8, 2013 at 9:06
  • What I am simply saying is: you/me/all have 2 options. 1)flag it and accept whatever the moderator decides. You may get one or two declined flags, but if you are getting more helpful ones then you are doing fine 2) Stop flagging, and contribute in other ways, zero risk. Oct 8, 2013 at 9:12
  • 1
    Here's my question, if a question only has one answer, its just a link, but it is what the OP wanted; should the answer be deleted or improved? Oct 8, 2013 at 9:15
  • Also, its not nessissary to format your edits as "Update:" or "edit:", there is no sense of time in stack exchange questions, just edit it as if you were asking it for the first time, but with all the extra details Oct 8, 2013 at 9:16
  • 4
    @RichardTingle: Logically bare Links are not answers. They cannot be... Also it promotes a very different culture which SO doesn't follow. Remember people will be just posting links to gain points... I call them Google Monkeys... If one needs to put a link, give a short description. So that even if the link dies we can still salvage the post. Oct 8, 2013 at 9:54
  • 1
    No I am saying that Link only answer should be moved to comments unless improved by OP or someone else. If you note the two links in my question. I flagged them as "not an answer" and also made OP aware that he needs to put description and not just links. If OP chooses to ignore then yes, it should be moved to comments. As simple as that. Oct 8, 2013 at 9:58
  • 3
    @RichardTingle one take on your question is presented here: "If a link-only answer is accepted, it is especially important to delete it (converting to a comment if the link isn't broken yet)... When a question has an accepted answer, it looks like it has a definitive answer, and there is not much point in looking for a better one... Sure, the accepted answer might have helped the asker, but it's not going to help future visitors, and the community should not be penalized for that answerer or asker's failing."
    – gnat
    Oct 8, 2013 at 11:46

3 Answers 3


Only use the NAA flag if the answer is no attempt to answer the question. Posts like

  • me too
  • thanks
  • anyone solved this yet?

Downvote bad answers or improve them or leave a comment to the poster asking for improvement.

  • 1
    Again this is confusing as the Description of "Not an Answer" says something else. Please see the RED Box in the screenshot of my question. Oct 8, 2013 at 8:48
  • 2
    @SiddharthRout - The answer you have linked is not a comment it is a link only answer.
    – Himanshu
    Oct 8, 2013 at 8:49
  • I never said it is a comment. Please read my question carefully. I am advising the OP that his answer should be a comment instead and flagging it appropriately. Oct 8, 2013 at 8:50
  • @Siddharth A comment is something like "I don't understand your question coukd you...." or "do you mean.....?" Etc Oct 8, 2013 at 8:51
  • @richardtingle: I don't think you gents are getting my point... Hope THIS clears the confusion? Oct 8, 2013 at 8:52
  • @Siddharth you don't think it is a comment but you've flagged it to say it should be a comment? Oct 8, 2013 at 8:53
  • @RichardTingle: sigh... please see the link in my previous comment Oct 8, 2013 at 8:53
  • 1
    @SiddharthRout I didn't downvote your question - but you have marked a comment with a red box in your screenshot. It is fair to presume that this is then important for the flag examples you provide. Ie. hims comment above.
    – user213634
    Oct 8, 2013 at 8:55
  • 1
    @Siddharth we did post at pretty much the exact same time, under that basis perhaps assume I hadn't seen your comment yet Oct 8, 2013 at 8:57
  • @hims056: "The answer you have linked is not a comment it is a link only answer." And link only answers are supposed to be comments. Please Please Please see the link that I gave above. See What Robert harvey has to say. Oct 8, 2013 at 8:58
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    @SiddharthRout that link you are referencing is 18 months old. A lot has changed. Oct 8, 2013 at 9:00
  • @psubsee2003: Fair enough(I am always ready to learn new things). Could you please direct me to the lastest link other than what Anderschas already provided? Oct 8, 2013 at 9:02
  • 1
    @SiddharthRout As I always say to people, If its important to your question and it comes up in the comments, put it in the question or it didn't happen Oct 8, 2013 at 9:03
  • 1
    @SiddharthRout - Well, you are discussing one of the most confusing part on Meta. See this question with latest discussion.
    – Himanshu
    Oct 8, 2013 at 9:06

If the link that was used as the answer at least goes some way to answering the question then it is an answer so shouldn't be flagged as Not an Answer.

It'd be a Very Low Quality answer because there's not much help in the answer in itself, but as it does at least try to help out then NaA isn't the correct flag (hence the text in the Not an Answer flag reason saying '...it does not attempt to answer the question..."

A better use of your time is to leave a comment against the post asking the poster to transcribe /summarize the link content rather than just leaving a link only. They'll be alerted that their answer has a comment against it that way, as it's better to alert the poster and not a moderator for these issues.

Alternatively, you could follow the link, take out some of the summary content of the link and paste it into the answer itself, thereby making that answer more useful. Keep the link there as the source reference but not as the only answer text.

  • 2
    If the link that was used as the answer at least goes some way to answering the question then it is an answer No that is not true. Please see THIS Oct 8, 2013 at 8:46
  • Assuming that VLQ is equally harsh for answers as it is for questions, then neither of the two mentioned by @SiddharthRout here are VLQ - they should probably be Other -> Custom reason.
    – user213634
    Oct 8, 2013 at 8:50
  • @SiddharthRout: But you state in that post that the answer was then undeleted, so clearly it was answering the question? I'm not saying link only answers are good, only that they aren't 'not an answer'. A Not An Answer post is something like "+1 I agree with this question" or "has anyone solved this yet?"
    – JonW
    Oct 8, 2013 at 8:50
  • 1
    Please see Minitechs comment to his own answer here. He wants the link only answers in the NAA queue, but also says (in the answer) that if a declined flag and a reflag is what it takes, then so be it...
    – user213634
    Oct 8, 2013 at 8:53
  • @AndersUP: You have a point here. I guess like you said "the mods aren't 100% aligned." So I guess leave it at that. Oct 8, 2013 at 9:01
  • 1
    It depends what is more important to you -a) getting flags you raised agreed with or b) getting the content on the site up to a high quality. Just flagging such answers and doing nothing else doesn't really help anyone it just adds more burden to moderators and reviewers. If you find a post of low quality like this then you should prompt the answerer to improve it, or just go ahead and improve it yourself.
    – JonW
    Oct 8, 2013 at 9:01
  • updating my question with more details Oct 8, 2013 at 9:06
  • @JonW A VLQ flag puts it into the VLQ queue, which has a specific option, with an automated comment, for link only answers. This informs the author of the problem with the post, gives them some time to fix it, and results in the post's deletion if they don't. It also ensures that the comment is visible even if the post is deleted (something that wouldn't happen with a manual comment). Easy workflow for cleaning it up, effective from the author's perspective, and no mod intervention required.
    – Servy
    Oct 8, 2013 at 16:28

Reading some points from your edit/comment

My point is the bare link cannot be answers and have to be posted as comments

If a bare link answers the question, then it is an answer. The only question should be whether or not it is a good answer. You can always down vote a bad answer. And there is no rule in SO that link only answers have to be posted in comments. The description of the flag NAA no way talks about link only answers.

It should be moved by a mod as a comment Because the links can break anytime in the future and then they would be rendered useless

If the link is dead, you can flag it whether or not it is a comment or answer. Comments have a specific purpose and becoming a waste basket for link only answers is not one of them. Also the poster can no longer come back and edit a comment, but he can with an answer.

Its not that if it is declined then I should get discouraged and stop flagging as mentioned in one of the comments below.

I wrote the comment you are mentioning here. So I thought I would explain myself. I never got discouraged and I don't have any use with these helpful flags. But the main reason I stopped flagging link only answers is it may results in helpful information getting removed. I only flag link only answers if

  1. broken link
  2. link is a spam or an advertisement.

I would say, the best thing that can happen to a link only answer is poster coming back and editing the answer. A down vote and comment is the best tool for that.

  • ` And there is no rule in SO that link only answers have to be posted in comments.` Saw THIS I know it is an old thread but I have been just following that. So bare links are Not Answers Oct 8, 2013 at 9:47
  • Same question to you what I asked other... See my question where I have showed at the end the options available to me. Which according to you is the right option? Oct 8, 2013 at 9:49
  • @SiddharthRout The fact that link only answers are converted to comment does not indicate that you should post them in comments. Ideally what we want is a self contained answer, instead of a link only comments. Oct 8, 2013 at 9:53
  • My answer to your second comment : if the link is useful (not broken, spam, advertisement) then any of them is the right option. I won't flag at all. Oct 8, 2013 at 9:55
  • Sometimes you need to provide links ;) I cant post the entire MSDN here.. Can I? ;) Oct 8, 2013 at 9:55
  • @SiddharthRout if an answer require entire MSDN, then you should instead close the question. The question is not suitable for the site. Oct 8, 2013 at 10:12
  • 1
    I guess you are missing the point so I will rest my case. Thanks for posting an answer... Oct 8, 2013 at 10:12
  • Ok. I am going to stop this too. Btw read my second comment as none of them is the right option instead of any of them is the right option. Bad typo, no way to correct it now. Curse of uneditable comments ;) Oct 8, 2013 at 10:20

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