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I've seen questions such as Why can't I flag some answers as very low quality? and understand that it's probably by-design that one cannot flag an upvoted answer as Low Quality.

However, it's not uncommon to run into posts that don't seem to meet the site standards. (I've often heard that link-only answers aren't encouraged.) But if a post has been upvoted, you can't flag it low-quality. I know I could still flag it for moderator attention but having it landed up in VLQ might ease up mod's tasks a bit in such cases.

For example, the following answer:

https://stackoverflow.com/a/1632133/2235132

(the revision history holds more fun).

I'd rather refrain from citing examples in this post but strongly feel that an upvoted post doesn't imply that it's not of low quality.

There should exist a system to flag it such.

EDIT: For somebody like me who prefers to flag low-quality answers, it's not uncommon to have those marked Disputed. Amusingly, it's often observed that those answers with now Disputed flags are deleted by the mods. Those do affect the flag statistics.

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  • @LowerClassOverflowian I deliberately chose to cite an example from a question that'll likely be on hold rather soon (opinion-based). That said, it's not uncommon to see similar answers that aren't that old.
    – devnull
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 20:32
  • 0 score now and flagged Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 20:37

2 Answers 2

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+50

If the post has been found useful by someone else, you need to make a stronger case for it being "very low quality" - there's a reasonable chance that it isn't. In the past, folks repeatedly used this flag on answers that were perfectly well-written but also wrong - that's not a reason to flag, it's a reason to down-vote (and perhaps leave a comment describing the problem).

If you feel strongly that a given post is of unacceptable quality - not even wrong, but an embarrassing spectacle to be mocked and then hidden - start out by down-voting it. Even if you still can't flag it, you've put it a bit closer to the point where someone else can.

For future reference, that particular answer should've been flagged "Not an answer" rather than "very low quality" - the quality was fine, but it wasn't an answer as it made no attempt to actually answer the question (which itself had some serious problems). This actually has little to do with it containing a link and everything to do with it not containing an actual attempt at an answer. So, yeah - also try to not get hung up on links.

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  • 1
    Thanks for the clarification. I'll need to dig up my flagging history, but I vaguely recall those not an answer flags been declined on such posts. That was the reason I stopped flagging those such.
    – devnull
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 20:58
  • NAA is for posts that don't attempt to answer the question, @devnull. Some folks try to use them for answers they just feel are lacking in some way, and confusion results.
    – Shog9
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 21:23
  • 2
    @devnull - Also, when in doubt, I greatly prefer an "other" flag that explains why you feel the answer in question should be deleted. It allows you to provide context that we might otherwise miss. You don't have to decide what category the flag falls in, just that it should be removed for the reason you provide. Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 21:47
  • Upon reading your response again, I must admit that it's a great answer.
    – devnull
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 9:17
  • @Shog9 I must say that I still fail to understand how flagging mechanism works. Based on your advice, this appeared to be Not an Answer, was flagged, and disputed. So it seems that poor quality answers should remain in the system.
    – devnull
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 2:30
  • Disputed means one or more (in this case, several) 10k users disagreed with the flag, @devnull
    – Shog9
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 4:56
  • I understand that probably several 10K+ users disagreed with the flag. But based on your response and from my understanding of the site thus far, it isn't an answer. Am I wrong in my understanding?
    – devnull
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 5:12
  • Sorry, but you didn't clarify my doubt in my previous comment. Does it imply that those 10k users were robo reviewers?
    – devnull
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 17:39
  • The flagging history reveals that low quality or not an answer on a number of such posts end up being disputed. Perhaps, the robo reviewers effect!
    – devnull
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 20:42
  • It means they disagreed that it was a poor answer, @devnull - nothing more. This is a collaboratively-moderated site - ultimately, what is allowed or disallowed is determined by the folks using it.
    – Shog9
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 23:14
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Very Low Quality has always been a confusing and problematic way to flag posts.

(In this case, it should be clear that it doesn't apply, because the post quality could definitely be improved by editing. An editor could bring over some information from the other side of the link.)

If you would like to flag this, however, you should indeed use a custom flag describing the issue and the action that you think should be taken. Although it seems awkward, moderators have repeatedly said that explicit is better than implicit for them when reviewing flags, so writing out the problem manually is the correct practice.

And, just because someone's going to say this in a comment if I don't first: also note that the answer is from the First Age of the site, when our current standards for answers -- particularly links -- had not been fully hammered out. I don't think that means you should give it a pass; just that you may be the first person to review it in this Modern Era.

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  • My thoughts exactly. I'm curious what the down-voter thinks is wrong here? If my understanding of VLQ is off, I'd like to know how so.
    – Ben Lee
    Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 20:57

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