Recently I marked this answer as 'not an answer', because I read that answers that are "barely more than a link to an external site" will be deleted. However, it is disputed. Why?

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    Note: Disputed != declined. Non-mods can dispute flags (as opposed to declined, which is from a mod [or perhaps a 20k+ user?]. I occasionally dispute flags on SO, for example, when I disagree, but I certainly am not someone with special powers ;) – Joe Dec 19 '13 at 16:52

It is an attempt to answer the question. The author of that answer thought that he was answering the question. If that's the case, then NAA generally doesn't apply. It may be a poor answer, perhaps even Very Low Quality, to the point that it should be deleted, but it's not Not an Answer.

(That said, what to do with link only answers is generally a disputed topic that doesn't really have consensus among the community or even the moderators, although consensus has more or less confirmed at this point that NAA isn't appropriate, what should be done is still rather hotly debated.)

Now, there are some link only answers that are clearly not even an attempt to answer the question, so saying that you shouldn't ever flag them for this reason isn't correct, some really aren't even trying to answer the question, but most are, so generally this isn't the right flag type.

  • I understand. What should I do now? Reflag as 'very low quality'? – Marcel Korpel Dec 19 '13 at 16:25
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    what should be done is still rather hotly debated = understatement of the century when it comes to link-only answers. – Taryn Dec 19 '13 at 16:25
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    yet they frequently appear in VLQ audits... – John Dvorak Dec 19 '13 at 16:26
  • @MarcelKorpel Well, as I said, it's pretty hotly debated. Some of the options generally discussed range from VLQ flags, to a custom comment without flagging, to editing the post to provide sufficient content from the link, to a custom flag, to some combination of these, sometimes with different handling of old/new users or old/new posts, etc. And of course if the link is dead then they should be handled differently (generally just nuked). – Servy Dec 19 '13 at 16:27
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    Link-only answers, in general, are highly debated. Link-only answers that only link to other questions on Stack Overflow should be nuked. If you're only going to link to another question on our site, vote to close as a duplicate. -- As for the flag, I think this has been stated before. Don't just flag the answer. No one ever takes the initative to look at the questions and determine if they are actually duplicates. – animuson Dec 19 '13 at 16:55
  • @Joe I think it best to avoid bringing up the debate again here; this isn't the appropriate context for it. – Servy Dec 19 '13 at 16:57
  • @Servy Fair enough. – Joe Dec 19 '13 at 16:59

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