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I flagged this answer as "Not an Answer", and the flag was declined by a moderator with the following text:

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

Normally, I wouldn't mind, accept someone disagrees with me and move on, however, in this case someone else has commented on the answer stating it doesn't attempt to answer the question.

Is this considered an answer, am I missing something here?

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    I've removed the offending comments. – ChrisF Feb 26 '14 at 17:30
  • If that's an answer (which, I admit, it can be argued to be), it's one of the worst I've seen. It's a) vague, b) poorly written, and, if the comments are to be believed, c) wrong. Let's see how deep it's going to get downvoted, now that you've linked to it from here... – Ilmari Karonen Feb 26 '14 at 20:19
  • The quality is poor, there's no denying that, but after reading the answers provided below, I can see how it can be considered an answer. Downvote/Comment away I guess! – Joe Feb 26 '14 at 20:25
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It is an answer.

An answer has two (and only two) essential elements:

  • It addresses the question
  • It attempts to solve the problem the user has

This answer does that.

It directly addresses the question, and it tells the user something that could possibly be the problem.

That doesn't mean it's a good answer -- but flagging as 'not an answer' isn't meant for those situations. That's what downvotes and comments are for.

If you had flagged it as 'very low quality', I could have seen marking that as helpful (deletion is another story, but it is at least a helpful flag).


I see a lot of Not an answer flags used because the answerer is unsure of their answer and pose their answer as a question. They're still answers, regardless of the level of confidence the poster has in their own answer. If you can replace a ? with a . and it still reads as an answer, then it's an answer.

  • I understand your point, and I wouldn't have raise a flag for a poor answer, however, I don't believe this addresses the question, it's asking the OP if they've checked a file, which is surely better suited as a comment? – Joe Feb 26 '14 at 17:29
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    @Joe if they had said, "Check the app.config in the DAL." Would that have been an answer? If they had simply removed the ? and replaced it with a ., would that be an answer? – George Stocker Feb 26 '14 at 17:31
  • I see your point, I would agree more if the answer was "It's in the app.config in the DAL", or something definitive, rather than a pointer. Obviously it's my interpretation of the question – Joe Feb 26 '14 at 17:35
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I was the moderator who reviewed and declined the flag because I felt that it was an answer. While it is not necessarily the best answer, it is an answer directing the OP to review the configuration file which is an answer.

I suggest downvoting and/or commenting on it, not flagging as "Not An Answer".

I also wouldn't base your flagging on comments placed by other users, you need to make your own decision on whether or not flagging is appropriate.

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    I actually didn't even see the comments until I checked the post to refresh my memory of what it was. As I mentioned in the post, I genuinely considered it not to be an answer. Thanks for the clarification though – Joe Feb 26 '14 at 17:35

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