I flagged this answer as "Not an answer":

using   worked for me.

My justification was that this should have been a comment, or merely an upvote on the other answer posted 2 years prior:

Try using  . for more information on entities you can refer following url HTML ISO-8859-1 Reference

This answer was from the first post / late answers queue and I expect the users made the common mistake of viewing SO as a forum, rather than a Q&A site.

If all that appeared in the review queue was the answer and the flag reason, in hindsight I can see why it would look like I was flagging it for a technical inaccuracy.

But is this a valid answer? Or should I have used the other / left a comment on the answer to provide reasoning for the flag.

  • @Duncan whoops, thanks!
    – Amicable
    Jan 9, 2014 at 11:04
  • 2
    This is an answer as it give a possible solution. However in this case it was already proposed before so I voted to delete. NAA flag does not fit. Jan 9, 2014 at 11:08
  • 2
    it would be safer to flag Other, with message like "this should have been a comment, or merely an upvote on the other answer posted 2 years prior: stackoverflow.com/a/13012520/1193596". This way, you could expect moderator take a look at another answer before handling your flag (most likely, they missed that - NAA flags are often evaluated "in isolation")
    – gnat
    Jan 9, 2014 at 11:21
  • An "other" flag on that explaining would've been exceedingly helpful. I'd passed over this flag because it wasn't obvious in the flag queue why so many people had flagged it NAA and there were plenty of other NAA flags wanting attention.
    – Flexo
    Jan 9, 2014 at 18:01

2 Answers 2


I absolutely agree that you were correct to flag the answer. It is effectively an upvote of the other answer or a comment. However, I'm not sure I agree on the specific flag that you chose.

Let's look at the text of the flag description (emphasis is mine):

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 emphasis is where "Not an Answer" seems inappropriate. This answer does address the question, so Not an Answer wouldn't seem to apply.

I might have considered selecting "Very Low Quality" but flagging this situation as "Other" and explaining the problem in brief detail would have been the best choice.

To understand why, you have to understand how moderators look at flags.

First, they normally don't see individual flags, and most are grouped by post (although I believe there are some exceptions), so when they see a flagged post, there is often not a lot of context as to why a specific post was flagged, except for the flag type.

Which leads to the 2nd point, mods do not see the post in its entirety when reviewing flags, they only see the first couple of lines of the post that was flagged. They need to click through to see the entire question and all of the answers. So when you flag something and it may not be clear exactly why you are flagging it, a moderator may not know how you want them to act and are forced to make a guess. In this case, since the answer did address the question, a moderator might not have known that this was a duplicate of a previous answer and declined your flag.

But when you flag as "Other", and explain the situation, now you give the moderator enough information to make an informed judgement on the flag and post, and be able to act appropriate.

The one thing that you shouldn't do though is use "Other" for everything. It should be reserved for cases when the reason you are flagging requires an explanation or additional information that cannot be conveyed through the flag type and reading the first few lines of the post. In cases where is it clear cut, you should select the appropriate flag type.

  • Do they see comments? I usually add a comment describing the problem whenever I flag something.
    – scenia
    Mar 10, 2014 at 12:54
  • Comments where? Comments on the post are only visible if they click through and view the entire post, but not when viewing flags. The text of the "other" flag is visible Mar 10, 2014 at 13:16

I think you were correct to flag. To me that appears like a comment on the other answer, rather than a new answer. It's a difficult one to judge though – it's all in how you interpret the wording.

Adding a comment would have been helpful. Something like:

This appears to be a comment on this older answer, rather than a new answer. With a bit more rep, you will be able to post comments. For the moment I've flagged this post for deletion.

The comment would also make it clear to flag reviewers how you interpreted the answer.

  • 3
    @rene To me it reads like it was intended to be a comment. But the contents of the post do offer an answer, so it's a grey area IMO. Certainly I would view a flag, plus a comment as a reasonable approach. Jan 9, 2014 at 11:14

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