The official guidance for the “not an answer” flag reads:

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.

Speaking as a moderator, I don't want users to use this flag if they think the answer should be converted to a comment. If you as a user have determined that the answer needs to be converted to a comment, you know which post the comment should go on. So tell me! Don't say “not an answer”, say “other”, “should be a comment on <link>” (or “should be a comment on the question” or “should be a comment on Bob's answer”).

“Should be a comment” is not a situation that can currently be handled by anybody other than a ♦ moderator. So there's no point in making this flag seen to users with the “moderator tools” (10k) privilege — either the post ends up deleted by users with the “trusted user” (20k) privilege (so it never gets converted to a comment), or the flag ends up being shown to a moderator, in which case it might as well be a custom flag.

I was surprised to hear from experienced users that NAA is the right way to request converting an answer to a comment — it contradicts both common sense, and my experience as a moderator. But I have to admit that the official guidance is unambiguously on their side.

I want to remove the “not an answer” flag altogether (replacing it by a clearer and more efficient workflow). But in the meantime, let us at least remove “a comment” from the official guidance.

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    So there's no point in making this flag seen to users with the “moderator tools” (10k) privilege very true. One could simply add "To request conversion to a comment, choose ... below" to the guidance
    – Pekka
    Jan 2, 2014 at 3:14

2 Answers 2


I like this suggestion, provided that, as Pekka suggests, flaggers are somehow clearly informed of what to do if an answer should be a comment. With that in mind, here's my tentative suggestion for a new NAA flag description:

This was posted as an answer, but it should've been an edit or a new question instead. (To request conversion to a comment, choose other below and say which post it should be a comment to.)

Yes, that's kind of verbose, but it could do for an interim solution. Alas, I don't see a good way to make it much shorter without changing the way the flag is actually handled.

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    How is "me too!" an answer at all? Additionally, the vast majority of questions that are posted as answers are so bad it's almost never worth converting them into questions instead of telling users to read How to Ask and directing them to the ask page. If doesn't even know how to find and click the Ask Question link that's so prominently at the top of every page, that's probably the first thing they need to learn. Jan 2, 2014 at 4:04
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    @BoltClock: Surely "Me too!" technically qualifies as both NAA and VLQ, but apparently the VLQ workflow is better suited for answers that just need to be deleted. Getting flaggers used to using VLQ for those would also pave way for the long-term suggestion I made above. All that said, if you feel that part is unnecessary, I wouldn't really mind cutting it out of the description. (Ps. done.) Jan 2, 2014 at 4:13

Your assertion that this "contradicts common sense" is only your opinion, and I have to re-iterate that I do not agree.

I don't wish to belabour the point, but this flag is designed exactly as the user text states, and it has always served that purpose very well in my experience.

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    I have to reiterate that in my experience, NAA sucks for conversion to comment, and that looking at it objectively, it is easy to see why: the flagger has to determine which post the post should be a comment on, and then the moderator has to determine this all over again. Jan 2, 2014 at 8:31
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    Note that this request was made from a moderator's perspective. While for you as a "normal" user it might not matter, handling flags is an entirely different thing.
    – slhck
    Jan 2, 2014 at 11:36
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    From a moderator's point of view, when an answer that you wish to be a comment is flagged as simply "not an answer", you've not provided us with a lot of information. Do you want this to be converted to a comment? Made an edit on the question? If you want it converted to a comment, which post is the comment intended for? By default, we see this as a request for immediate deletion. I'm with @Gilles, in that I think "other" flags should be recommended for content we wish to preserve in a different format. Jan 2, 2014 at 15:58
  • @shlck: Us "normal" users are the ones submitting the flags, and we're the ones who primarily live with the result of those flag actions. There are also many, many more of us! Jan 2, 2014 at 16:15

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