After this incident, I became more careful whenever I flag or review flags.

I have flagged an answer which should be a comment instead, even if it solves the problem and the question itself should be closed as well, if the problem was a typos.

enter image description here

I am dead sure that SO doesn't encourage such answers, because they have no added value. In my humble opinion, answers should be comprehensive and clear to reflect professionalism.

I am just surprised that my flag was declined, yet the answer was deleted and converted into a comment.

enter image description here

Edit: comment = not an answer

enter image description here

  • Are such answers encouraged on SO?
    • You are missing an "apostrophe"
    • You are missing a "hash tag"
    • Your code works on "fiddle"
  • Does SO (users/mods) consider such answers as real answers?
  • Is an answer...?
    • That solves current question/concern?
    • That solves current question/concern and others in the future?

My question is, was I mistaken for flagging this answer? Would I be mistaken for flagging such answers in the future?

  • 2
    The problem is with the question, not the answer. You also cannot expect an SO user with 16 rep to be able to vote to close the question. It just turned out to be a silly mistake when the OP typed the question so converting to a comment was quite appropriate. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 21:11
  • @UphillLuge The answer doesn't solve the problem either. Pls check OP's comment. Converting it to a comment means my flag was correct, wasn't?
    – Omar
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 21:13
  • It did, he fixed his question. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 21:14
  • @UphillLuge the poster has 16 rep so he can't comment. A comment isn't an answer, thus should be deleted and converted into a comment, so the flag is correct.
    – Omar
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 21:17
  • I don't care how terse the answer is, or how silly the question is, If it is a solution to the problem that the OP posted about than it definitely is an answer. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 21:31
  • @downvoter late one, where were you 17 hours ago?
    – Omar
    Commented Mar 26, 2014 at 14:22

2 Answers 2


You used a "Not an Answer" flag. You run the risk of getting your flag declined if you use that flag on answers that look like answers.

Not an Answer flags are for things like:

  • +1, would read again
  • Did you order this pizza?
  • @SomeOtherUser I think...

Cast a custom moderator flag instead, and put in the custom flag description an actual explanation: "This doesn't answer the question asked; it should be a comment instead."

Rule of thumb: If you have to look at any other part of the post (the question, other answers, other comments) to evaluate whether or not an answer is an answer, don't use the "Not an Answer" flag on it.

  • Thanks for your answer. Like this one and this which were disputed?
    – Omar
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 21:53
  • Yes, like those two. Those are answers.
    – user102937
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 21:56
  • As per your answer, this will be declined then.
    – Omar
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 22:05
  • Yep, that's an answer too.
    – user102937
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 22:07
  • Btw, this was flagged with "other" and I have explained that it is not even related to the OP. I'm not arguing, just wondering why it was disputed.
    – Omar
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 22:43
  • @Omar: That one had eight flags (most of which were "Not an Answer" flags), and mods don't have the ability to decline or approve them individually. It only takes one disagree flag for them all to be disputed.
    – user102937
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 22:48
  • I have 509 helpful, 113 disputed and 30 (+1 maybe) declined. How bad is my situation? and how can I correct it?
    – Omar
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 23:04
  • Sounds like you're still in the ballpark.
    – user102937
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 23:04
  • "ballpark" means so so. Good to know! and thanks again for clarifying this issue.
    – Omar
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 23:23

I declined that, and I should probably provide a little more context for why I did and then converted that to a comment.

First, it was an attempt at answering the question by pointing out that there was a potential problem in the code they'd posted. Since answers with "not an answer" flags that are marked helpful, then deleted, are used as audit cases, I wanted to prevent this from being used as one. This answer would very easily trip up reviewers as an audit case, since it was a legitimate attempt to fix something in the question.

I then decided to convert it to a comment, because it was helpful that they pointed out the typo, but the asker then corrected this part of the question. The question had changed to make that no longer relevant as an answer, but the answer did provide some history for why the question code had been changed. I thought it could help explain this change best as a comment.

I hope that makes a little more sense now.

  • If I had used "others" instead of "not an answer", would my flag be declined too?
    – Omar
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 22:11
  • 1
    @Omar - If you'd flagged it as "This answer addresses a typo that was fixed in the current version of the question, is no longer relevant, and should be converted to a comment", sure, I would have gladly accepted that. However, this was a particular case, and not every short answer that attempts to fix something in the question deserves to be removed or converted to a comment. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 22:15
  • Thank you, the vision is clear now. However, I still find such answers inadequate and have no real value within. But since they are accepted on SO, then I have to live with it.
    – Omar
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 22:34
  • @Omar: I think what Brad really said (in a nutshell) is that you need to communicate. Use moderator flags to explain what the problem is, and what you want us to do about it.
    – user102937
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 23:06
  • @RobertHarvey I'm communicating now; I'm trying hard to help. I'm in love with jquery-mobile as I dedicate a lot of time and effort. Maybe I'm pushing it too far or am being rather dramatic.
    – Omar
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 23:13
  • 1
    Declined flags is part of the process. If you never get a declined flag, you're not flagging hard enough.
    – user102937
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 23:14
  • Well said @RobertHarvey this is what I wanted to hear.
    – Omar
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 23:16
  • @Omar tell me again what you thin is inadequate about answers like that. I don't think I understand. If a question can be solved by correcting a single typo, than an answer like that is not only appropriate, but it's optimal Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 23:43
  • @SamIam You have your opinion and I have mine, there is no need to argue. "With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about programming." and "We're a little bit different from other sites." reference.
    – Omar
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 23:49

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