When reviewing (LQ and AFAIR FP) I can recommend deleting an answer as link-only. It's a suggestion that link-only answers are bad and should dissapear from the system.

However, there's no option to flag existing post as link-only and request to create such flag was rejected. This is a big consernation to users, like the urge to get some consensus in flagging them have shown.

Could you please explain, why I can recommend to delete an answer as link-only when I'm reviewing, but I can't flag the answer as such to put it into the review queue? It's really confusing, because access to low-quality and first-posts review queues requires relative low reputation compared to reviewing flags.

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    There are two types of link only answers: bad and not-so-bad. Only the bad should be deleted. Bad link only answer is just a type of very low quality answer, hence doesn't deserve its own flag type in my opinion. Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 14:58
  • @ShadowWizard but low-quality flags are usually handled by mods, which almost always reject such flags on link-only questions, at least it seems to be so from my experience? That's the most confusing part, there are numerous posts of type "why my flag of link-only question was refused". Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 15:03
  • There are thousands of such flags so even if there are 20 such posts here on Meta, it's a small percentage. I assume most of the flags are marked helpful. Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 15:05
  • @ShadowWizard but the question linked by me, about the consensus with flags for link-only answers, was answered by Shog, with "NO". So I'm afraid there are some mods accepting LQQ flags in such case, and others rejecting them. Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 15:07
  • There are definitely cases where I accept VLQ flags on link-only answers, it's just not because the answer was link-only. There has to be more wrong with it than that (dead link or spam being the two most common). Having said that, I think that reason should probably be removed from the review dialog. Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 15:23
  • When you say that you can "recommend deleting an answer as link-only" in the review dialog, what do you mean exactly? Is there a bullet or checkbox you can mark in the review dialog that has the caption "answer is link-only, recommend deletion?"
    – user102937
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 18:45
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    @RobertHarvey Basically, yes. screenshot
    – Servy
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 19:54
  • @Servy Ah, Al E is right. It's there to provide guidance to the poster; has nothing to do with flagging, and everything to do with reviewing.
    – user102937
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 20:00
  • 3
    @RobertHarvey But it's still a contradiction. If, as a reviewer, it's appropriate to delete a post because it's just a link, then why is it not valid to flag a post for that same reason? On top of that, flagging a post as VLQ puts it into the VLQ review queue, where this exact function is accessible. So if an item ends up in that queue, it's okay to delete it, but it's not okay to put an item into that queue when it meets the exact same criteria? That's contradictory.
    – Servy
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 20:05
  • @Servy: I think you might be attributing more importance to that review option than it actually has. The "this is a link-only answer" is merely guidance, not a moderator flag. It does show up in the mod queue as "link-only answer," but it's "riding the coattails" of an original flag, so to speak. The corollary to your premise is that we need a "link-only answer" flag in the flagging dialog, and SE is not likely to do that.
    – user102937
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 21:11
  • @Servy: In other words, you're assuming that there's a one-to-one mapping between the review options and the flagging options, but I don't think there is such a mapping.
    – user102937
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 21:13
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    @RobertHarvey We don't need to add a link only flag option, we just need to have mods not handle VLQ flags. The VLQ queue already handles them. To my knowledge there aren't any VLQ flags that the queue can't handle.
    – Servy
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 21:15

1 Answer 1


Because when you recommend a Very Low Quality answer for deletion as a link-only answer, there's a canned comment that is added to the answer to prompt the author to improve the answer.

There's no such automatic comment added when flagging.

This is to push you to complete the feedback loop to let the author know that link-only answers are generally considered non-helpful.

George Stocker adds more information in this answer on a related question.

  • 1
    But flagging the post as VLQ puts it in the VLQ review queue, where, in that queue, someone can use this option to suggest deletion, thus adding a comment to the post for the author to fix it. Therefore, flagging a post (through a layer of indirection) results in a comment being posted to the answer.
    – Servy
    Commented Mar 6, 2014 at 19:52
  • @Servy Which is a good thing if you care about content quality, but a pain for your flagging stats. It's an issue. This is why the mods are now emphasizing comments+downvoting alone... which sucks also unless you come back to undownvote after an edit. But usually the post does get deleted, so perhaps the problem is blown out of proportion.
    – chappjc
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 0:10
  • BTW, I could not agree more about the inherent contradiction the existence of a VLQ NAA reason and the absence of a flag reason. It's a mixed message.
    – chappjc
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 0:16

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