I've run across this scenario a few times now.

A question is asked on StackOverflow that isn't extremely clear, however, it does provide code. I see it most often with jQuery since a lot of people seem to not understand how jQuery works at all, yet feel they are experts.

Take for example a question presenting a problem with the following code:

$("#myForm").each(function () {

This calls reset() on each DOM element in the jQuery collection of objects matched by the selector '#myForm'. Yes, it's an egregious use of each.

Nonetheless, an answer is given, with absolutely no explanation, basically as follows:


This code essentially performs the exact same action as the code that the original poster has placed in his question.

In fact, the question isn't "why is my code not working", but rather, "why aren't my hidden input fields values getting reset".

I commented on the answer, and tried to explain this to the poster of the answer. Instead, the answer poster flagged my comments, somehow got them removed by a moderator (there was nothing rude or offensive in them whatsoever), and then proceeded to make rude comments directed towards me. This user is a 2k+ user with 3 gold badges...

In this situation, what should be done about these type of answers?

  • 3
    Downvote it if it doesn't answer the question. – Bart Feb 13 '14 at 16:00
  • @bart, I have an example of this - > 100 Upvotes, Accepted answer :-) several years old, of course – Bill Woodger Feb 13 '14 at 16:24
  • 2
    You can't help what others do @BillWoodger. It's not always satisfying, but all you can do is your "duty" and just move on. – Bart Feb 13 '14 at 16:29

If you feel that an answer is "not useful", then downvote it. That's exactly what downvotes are for.

If you would like to, and you feel you can do so constructively, you are free to post a comment explaining the problem(s) with the answer. If you've already had comments deleted, it's probably best to just stop; it would seem that your definition of "constructive" differs from the mods.

If you want to know why your comments were deleted, consider using the "contact us" link at the bottom of the page to contact a site representative. Then can tell you what it is about your comments that warranted their deletion.

  • 2
    @crush See edit with respect to your comments; that's something that's really best discussed in private with the mods, rather than publicly here on meta (us non-mods also can't see your deleted comments, or the flag reason). As to flagging, no, I don't see this answer as warranting flagging, just downvoting. – Servy Feb 13 '14 at 16:03
  • I'm confused at what constitutes a low-quality answer, then. If this isn't a cut & dried case, then I don't know what is. – crush Feb 13 '14 at 16:03
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    @crush One should not require domain knowledge to judge flags. That an answer is just wrong or doesn't solve the problem asked isn't something that the person evaluating the flag would be qualified to judge. The intended mechanic for such cases is downvotes by users knowledgeable about the subject. It's also for answers that are so bad that the must be deleted. No matter how "wrong" an answer might be, being wrong doesn't warrant deletion. – Servy Feb 13 '14 at 16:06
  • I can agree with that I think. What about flagging it as Not an answer? – crush Feb 13 '14 at 16:07
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    @crush It is an attempt at an answer. The author thinks that it answers the question, and thus NAA isn't appropriate. NAA is for stuff like someone posting clarifying questions as an answer, or something like "I have this problem to, has anyone solved this yet?" – Servy Feb 13 '14 at 16:08
  • @crush: Very relevant: How do I properly use the “Not an Answer” flag? – Amal Murali Feb 13 '14 at 16:10
  • Thanks for the clarification on the flags. It's frustrating because these guys are diluting questions with nothing meaningful. I guess I just need to be more tactful in my comments. I'm usually straight to the point. It seems like people always seem to construe constructive criticism as offensive, unless you sugar coat it first with fluff like In my opinion, it would be better if. Even asking questions to try and prod the answerer in the right direction gets interpreted in a negative light these days. – crush Feb 13 '14 at 16:13
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    @crush I generally haven't had experience with moderators deleting constructive comments, even if they didn't have extra fluff. Do you remember what comment you left? – Sam I am says Reinstate Monica Feb 13 '14 at 16:16
  • @crush That's generally true of most users, but not mods. I wouldn't expect them to delete a curt comment as "rude", which is why I suggest you contact them. Perhaps 6 users flagged it as "offensive" to delete it (but that also seems somewhat unlikely) or perhaps there was something that you said in there that really was a bit over the line. Without seeing it, I really can't know. As to the frustration, if you downvote answers like these, and are able to help push others in the community into doing the same, people generally get the idea and stop posting such answers. – Servy Feb 13 '14 at 16:17
  • @SamIam I'm so active on the site, bouncing between questions, it's hard for me to remember exactly. I think that the comment was simply straight to the point. I actually had two comments deleted from that answer. The first was something like this doesn't reset the hidden fields, and basically does the same function as the op's code. The second was something like How do you know he doesn't need to reset the hidden field? I'm really curious now what I could have possibly said that warranted deletion. If anything, my latest comment to the author is the worst of the three for mocking him. – crush Feb 13 '14 at 16:24

I like to comment on these

this would be a better answer if you explained why it works

Sometimes, people provide that explanation. Other times, they realize it doesn't actually work and remove it. No matter what, other people who read the answer realize that this isn't a great answer. You can also downvote if you like.

I wouldn't flag a question like that as Low Quality, since it's going in the queue anyway because it's so short and only code.

  • Well, the whole thing is that it's the same code rewritten in a different way. It's not an answer at all. Doesn't that qualify as low quality? Especially since there is zero attempt at an explanation of why it should remedy the problem? – crush Feb 13 '14 at 16:06
  • I wouldn't flag a question like that as Low Quality, since it's going in the queue anyway because it's so short and only code. - How come? Can you explain what is the criteria for determining what should go into VLQ queue? – Amal Murali Feb 13 '14 at 16:06
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    @crush How is the person evaluating the flag to know that it doesn't solve the problem? That's not something that they're going to be qualified to judge. – Servy Feb 13 '14 at 16:07
  • @AmalMurali all we know is "The Low Quality Posts queue contains posts which were automatically determined to be of low quality based on several system criteria that generates a post quality score." see meta.stackexchange.com/a/161391/147247 and meta.stackexchange.com/a/190639/147247 – Kate Gregory Feb 13 '14 at 16:09
  • @KateGregory You're right. It's a shame that we must sugar coat our comments, soaking up valuable characters, just to keep someone from interpreting constructive criticism as being offensive/negative. If you are direct to the point, it seems to almost always get interpreted in this way. In reality, my comments are only meant to help the answerer improve his answer! – crush Feb 13 '14 at 16:15
  • @crush the nice thing about "This would be a better answer if" is that it doesn't start "this is a bad answer because". It also doesn't just bark "explain this!" and it doesn't argue or tell the poster they are wrong. Constructive criticism doesn't offend people and leads to improvement. Being correct doesn't mean you're not being rude. Being direct is sometimes rude. If you want to inspire the answerer to improve, say it like that: "you can improve this answer by..." and feelings will be less hurt, and your goal will be reached. – Kate Gregory Feb 13 '14 at 16:22
  • I usually just try to leave judgments out of my comment. Unfortunately, without the sugar coating, users tend to read into them, and just assume you are attacking them. – crush Feb 13 '14 at 16:25

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