I recently flagged this answer as "Not an Answer", but it was declined by a moderator with the following reason:

declined - a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it

FWIW, the answer just contains a question "Have you tried using decodeURI()?". It hardly seems like anything other than a comment.

Why was it declined? Was I wrong to flag it? If so, why?

  • 6
    Well it is a suggestion to the OP how to solve their problem, while it's not the best answer it is still an answer.
    – Taryn
    Feb 18, 2014 at 20:27

1 Answer 1


Because even though it has a question mark, it is an attempt to answer, right?

Seriously, if they are making a suggestion, it's an answer, even in the form of a question. If you don't think it's a good answer, down-vote it. If you don't feel strongly enough to give up 1 rep point to do so, move on. Don't flag answers as not an answer just because they're not in a form you expect. Arguably this could have been a comment, and I often leave comments like that to seek clarification on what they've tried, but in this case it could also be seen as a potential solution.

Related: Why was this flag disputed?

Also see all of the related questions to the right -------->

Note that, in some cases, because of the current moderator workflow for processing flags, valid flags have to be declined in one fell swoop along with invalid flags. So let's say someone flagged that as spam, which is clearly wrong, in order for the moderator to get the right message to that user - that they flagged incorrectly - they also have to dismiss yours. See @Shog9's answer here for more information, and also feel relieved that this is getting fixed.

  • 3
    Yeah, I was the one that declined the flag. I debated converting it into a comment, but thought there was enough of a suggestion there to leave it as an answer. It's not a great answer, and didn't appear to solve the asker's problem, but I tend to lean towards keeping these when in doubt. I would have marked it as helpful and left the answer, but we've become a little more conservative with accepting these now that flagged and deleted answers are used as audit cases. Feb 18, 2014 at 20:40
  • 2
    Also, someone had gone through and searched for every short answer on the site yesterday and was flagging all of them as being non-answers, so I was a little more primed to decline when reviewing this one in the middle of those others. Feb 18, 2014 at 20:41
  • 2
    @BradLarson Ugh.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 18, 2014 at 20:44
  • Answering questions with questions is a valid way of answering questions! It is a method used by Socrates, if I am not mistaken it is called "maieutics". So, to sum that up, a question can be an answer to another question, of course in some cases. Feb 18, 2014 at 20:58
  • 3
    I should point out that Amal (and 17 other people) correctly flagged this answer: stackoverflow.com/questions/21840686/… , which is an example of something that should be converted to a comment. Rather than suggesting a solution, that one was only looking for more information from the asker. Feb 18, 2014 at 21:05

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