I was wondering if a sanity check might be possible regarding this answer, which I flagged as NAA.

Per my understanding of NAA, as well as the text under the flag itself, it is reserved for answers which 'do not attempt to answer the question'. I personally don't believe that this answer attempts to answer the question, which asks how to generate an html table from a mysql query.. not how to retrieve form values the 'proper' way.

In case it is relevant, here is the question title, and the answer text(also in case they are deleted):

Question title: Displaying a php array (made by sql) as a table on html

Answer text: When you get values from a form always use $_POST

(and then a code example showing how to use $_POST)

So.. am I wrong here?

  • And to be clear, I have read the duplicates of this, as well as most of the other questions about specific answers. I still feel the need to ask, though. – Daedalus Mar 6 '14 at 21:16
  • Is it an answer of any kind? – user102937 Mar 6 '14 at 21:16
  • From what you've posted, the answer doesn't seem to be relevant to the question. – John Dvorak Mar 6 '14 at 21:16
  • it is also incorrect, but that's beside the point – John Dvorak Mar 6 '14 at 21:17
  • @RobertHarvey In my opinion, I don't feel it is. At best, its a comment on what type of variable retrieval should be used. – Daedalus Mar 6 '14 at 21:18
  • Appears to me to be NAA. Looks like a suggestion on what the OP currently is doing...not answering the question at-hand. – codeMagic Mar 6 '14 at 21:21
  • I'd say it's hard to tell what the question is actually about. Who is to say what the answerer thought the question was asking? (Apart from the newbie poster, who clearly admitted this was meant as a comment) – John Dvorak Mar 6 '14 at 21:21
  • As a side note, I assume you closevoted the question, @Daedalus? – John Dvorak Mar 6 '14 at 21:24
  • As it stands now I do believe this is not an answer. Under the new guidelines this to me seems like it would fall under the category "it is an attempt to communicate with some other user (should be a comment)" since it is a suggestion relative to the topic and not an answer directly to the question. – Travis J Mar 6 '14 at 21:24
  • @JanDvorak I haven't voted to close yet as I'm still uncertain of how to vote in that regard.. though it likely could be voted to close as a duplicate, I just need to find the duplicate. Otherwise, I don't agree with the current vote to close reasons as 'unclear what you're asking'. – Daedalus Mar 6 '14 at 21:27
  • @Daedalus: I cast the fifth close vote as "unclear what you are asking." – user102937 Mar 6 '14 at 21:45
  • @TravisJ: You can say "it is an attempt to communicate with some other user (should be a comment) since it is a suggestion relative to the topic and not an answer directly to the question." in a custom flag. – user102937 Mar 6 '14 at 21:47
  • @RobertHarvey I don't understand why you're telling me. I stand by my disagreement with that reason per the question title. – Daedalus Mar 6 '14 at 21:48
  • @Daedalus: Fair enough. – user102937 Mar 6 '14 at 21:48

Here's the thing about Not an Answer flags: The moderator dashboard does not display the question. That means that, if you're relying on question context to verify the veracity of your NAA flag, you risk getting your flag declined.

When an answer is flagged NAA, moderators expect to see something that doesn't look like an answer. Something like:

  1. I have a question...
  2. @someUser: I think that...
  3. I like turtles.
  4. aj098243u5in (cat on keyboard)

The answer you flagged looks like an answer, and because moderators do not evaluate answers for technical veracity, there's no reasonable way that they can approve such flags on the basis of question content and answer context. NAA flags are simply not designed to do that.

The only action a moderator can take on an NAA answer is to delete it, and a mod is not likely to delete an answer based on how good or bad it is, relative to the question asked. The better remedy is to downvote and comment on the answer.

As always, if there's any doubt, cast a custom moderator flag instead of the canned one, and explain the problem specifically.

  • 6
    Maybe moderators should also verify the answer is at least somewhat related to the question topic (even if this leads to a feature-request for the mod tools to display the question)? – John Dvorak Mar 6 '14 at 21:26
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    In this exact case, I am considering casting a delete vote on this answer. I can see both the question and answer and in that context it is clear this should be a comment on the question at best (the code is just the OPs code with the word Get replaced with Post). Is it incorrect for me to cast a delete vote here if a moderator would decline the flag? Or is it correct because the moderator may not have been able to review the entire context of the answer? – Travis J Mar 6 '14 at 21:27
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    OK, a follow-up question: Since it's clearly NAA and the NAA flag clearly doesn't suffice, is it OK to flag such answers as "other - post is unrelated to the question"? – John Dvorak Mar 6 '14 at 21:28
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    @TravisJ: You're perfectly within your rights to cast a delete vote, and I encourage you to do so. But that doesn't involve a moderator. Moderators shouldn't be handling situations that the community can handle themselves. – user102937 Mar 6 '14 at 21:28
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    @JanDvorak: You'd still be asking mods to evaluate the answer based on whether its technical content is good or bad. We don't do that. That's what downvotes are for. – user102937 Mar 6 '14 at 21:29
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    @RobertHarvey If the only possibility is to delete the answer, then I assume the 'convert to comment tool' is no longer viable? Also, given what you said, I personally believe that the question context should be visible. What if someone asks a Python question and is answered with a javascript answer? – Daedalus Mar 6 '14 at 21:30
  • ... in which case, should "looks like an answer, but is off-topic" be flagged as VLQ, so that they are pushed to the VLQ queue? Since they clearly should be deleted and mods don't want to have to understand the question. – John Dvorak Mar 6 '14 at 21:31
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    @Daedalus: See my edit. – user102937 Mar 6 '14 at 21:31
  • @JanDvorak If you really, really, really want a moderator involved (as I can see there's no reason to involve us here), then use a custom flag and explain the exact problem. "This is an I like cats answer. The question mentions felines, but the answer is in another ballpark where dogs are the majority animal". – George Stocker Mar 6 '14 at 21:32
  • @RobertHarvey - I see, I think that the distinction you are making is a fundamental misunderstanding that I have had. Just to make sure I fully understand this (sorry to badger) -- it is not the moderators job to review technical correctness of content, but the community is more than welcome to (i.e. with down votes or delete votes when applicable)? – Travis J Mar 6 '14 at 21:34
  • @TravisJ: That's right. – user102937 Mar 6 '14 at 21:34
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    So, the best solution for off-topic answers is to spam the relevant chat rooms with delvote-pleases? – John Dvorak Mar 6 '14 at 21:34
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    Last time I checked, not an answer meant not an answer (in the sane world). If the answer is totally unrelated, it's as much of an answer as "I like turtles". – bjb568 Mar 6 '14 at 23:34
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    @bjb568 Use a NAA flag if you must. Just don't expect moderators to try and figure out why you flagged it if it clearly looks like an answer. – user102937 Mar 7 '14 at 0:00
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    @CodesInChaos: The moderator flag should always contain all of the information the moderator needs to make a decision. You can put a comment below the post, but it requires an extra step for mods to see it (the answer has to be expanded in the moderator dashboard), and your comments to the moderator are not the only things that might appear in the comments. If you want a moderator to see it, copy/paste it into a custom flag. – user102937 Mar 10 '14 at 17:04

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