Lately I've been seeing a lot of explanation-less answers, which in my eyes deserves a downvote. Answers should benefit not only the OP, but anybody googling the issue, no?

In this specific case, I suggested that the answerer should put in an explanation, and they replied "they never read it. so I've stopped caring."

What should I do in this case? Does this deserve a flag?

I feel like if a person answering questions simply doesn't care, and outwardly expresses it, it should be removed or something (not punishment severe, just "clean the crap up" that smudges the site image or something).

How do y'all handle this kind of issue? I'm looking for community guidance here. :)

  • 5
    Can you post an example of a crappy answer by high rep users?
    – Taryn
    Dec 17, 2013 at 17:57
  • 2
    I'd rather not straight up call somebody out like that - isn't that kind of rude? Dec 17, 2013 at 18:00
  • 2
    No need. Easy to see the comment discussions you've recently been involved in anyway for the curious. Dec 17, 2013 at 18:01
  • 2
    Well your definition of crappy might be very different then someone else's, what exactly is crappy about the answer? code-only, link-only?
    – Taryn
    Dec 17, 2013 at 18:01
  • 2
    @bluefeet mostly code-only answers. I think I'll edit my question, because crappy might be a little harsh. And yes, the recent comments will reveal the source of this meta. Basically, the guy posted a code only answer. Sure it might be right, but what's the point if there's no will to teach? Not to mention the "I don't care" comment Dec 17, 2013 at 18:03
  • 2
    I did peek at a handful of said users answers -> In the ~ten or so I opened four were code only answers... not sure if it is meaningful in this discussion.. but it appears there is a habit / history of code only answers from certain users.
    – rlemon
    Dec 17, 2013 at 18:08
  • My second highest voted answer is code only, but it was simple enough that it seemed appropriate. Should I be editing that? (it was also one of my earliest answers)
    – Cruncher
    Dec 17, 2013 at 18:10
  • @Cruncher can you add value or improve it with what you've learned from the past years and more about SE/SO as a whole?
    – user213963
    Dec 17, 2013 at 18:11
  • @MichaelT Probably. If I were to have posted it today I would have put a couple of sentences above it. But could editing it now be seen as an attempt to get more rep from it?
    – Cruncher
    Dec 17, 2013 at 18:14
  • @Cruncher then the answer to your comment question is "Probably. You could put a couple of sentences above it."
    – user213963
    Dec 17, 2013 at 18:15
  • @Cruncher - Wouldn't hurt but that has only had 145 views in a year so probably will be of limited benefit. I tend to put more effort into improving my older answers that still get activity in terms of comments or votes. Dec 17, 2013 at 18:15
  • Answers with good explanations get more upvotes. If they choose not to explain, then they are already costing themselves votes, no need to downvote a correct terse answer. Dec 17, 2013 at 18:21
  • "they never read it. so I've stopped caring." -- That's a really lame reason. Why are they even here?
    – user102937
    Dec 17, 2013 at 19:14
  • @TheGrinch that's the reason I posted this.. it didn't sit right with me. Dec 17, 2013 at 19:16

2 Answers 2


This does not deserve flag... But you can definitely downvote it and comment on it saying how it can be improved. And well, if the user doesn't want to improve it... there is not much you can do.

Actually there is one thing you could do... If you have enough knowledge in that subject, write an answer, but this time, with explanations! Your answer will probably be upvoted more than the other user answer and it will be useful for people in the future.

Flags are for answers that are for example "not an answer", meaning that the post is actually a question or something that does not directly answer the users question. It should not be used to pin point bad answers or poor answers.

For offensive and spam flag... read here

For VLQ... read that answer from Jeff

  • 4
    idk if I want to vote up... The answer is not short enough...
    – qwertynl
    Dec 17, 2013 at 18:11
  1. Does it answer the question (regardless of being a good or bad answer)?
    • Relax.
  2. Does it not answer the question?
    • Flag it.

Anyone can write anything here. It's up to the community to act as the filter. And in this regard, remember that the community values quality (before effort).

Good answers are voted up, and eventually accepted by the OP.

  • 1
    You're missing 1a. Does it do so in a useful way? •Upvote and 1b. Not so useful (e.g., missing explanations)? •Downvote
    – jscs
    Dec 17, 2013 at 19:22
  • I'm not. 1a. Anyone is free to vote the way they want. 1b. Missing explanations - Comment or edit or nothing - no one is forced to act. The most blatant example of 1a. was the most voted answer up until some time ago (with just 2 whole sentences). Dec 17, 2013 at 19:32
  • Yes, you can choose to vote or not, just like you can choose to flag or not. But there are important options (others of which you've just listed) between "do nothing" and "raise flag".
    – jscs
    Dec 17, 2013 at 19:42
  • Sure there are, but this question isn't about "good SE conduit", it's about "what to do with apathetic answers?". My POV is that, unless it actually doesn't answer the question or falls within other close reasons, you shouldn't flag it. What you do after this is up to you. Dec 17, 2013 at 19:47

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