I flagged this answer for a moderator as the answer was so short I believe it should have been added as a comment. Furthermore, the poster added a line of dots to deliberately foil the minimum length check, which detracts from the quality we normally expect here.

I flagged it for a moderator rather than flagging as "not an answer" since I felt it should be converted to a comment and that it was not immediately obvious why it was not an answer (it is an answer but the foiling of the length check was discovered by trying to edit the post).

My flag was declined thusly:

declined - flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention

Thus, a poster has deliberately flouted the length requirements and a moderator has knowingly let it pass (I assume it was Bluefeet, as he/she has subsequently edited the post). As it goes this is a minor concern, but I'd like to ask whether I should just stop flagging these. I've flagged many of them in the past, and as far as I recall they have all been approved. Perhaps I got a different moderator this time :)

  • I used to flag before but if the user deletes his answer than it doesn't matter – Mr. Alien Apr 1 '14 at 16:02
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    Yes I reviewed the flag and declined it, this could easily be fixed by editing further which I just did. My fault for not performing this full edit before. There was no need for a moderator to get involved with this. – Taryn Apr 1 '14 at 16:04
  • No worries @bluefeet, thanks for your thoughts. My one quibble is whether answers that refuse to meet the length requirements should be improved. As a frequent editor, there are plenty of posts that are basically good and can be improved upon, and I will generally focus on those. – halfer Apr 1 '14 at 16:34

We don't turn answers into comments because they're bad answers. Comments are not a punishment zone.

This answer, answers the question. In fact, multiple other people on that post used the same answer (with varying degrees of specificity).

The "Not an Answer" flag is used when what you're flagging isn't an answer. Things like:

  • "I like watermelon."
  • "I have this problem too."
  • "How did you finally fix it?"
  • "@AnotherPoster, can you include code?"

If a post addresses the question, it's an answer. Period. It may be a bad answer (downvote it), or it may be incorrect (downvote it), but if it addresses the question (or attempts to), it's an answer.

To answer your more general question:

If you're going to flag an answer, it either needs to meet one of our predefined criteria, or you need to custom flag it with the action you want us to take.

In this case, what action do you want us to take? Do you want us to edit the post to make it longer? Do you want us to delete it to punish the user? Do you want us to do nothing?

If you want us to edit the post, you can always edit it (or suggest an edit) yourself.

If you want us to delete it, there needs to be a good reason (especially when that answer has the same level of specificity as other answers that you did not flag).

If you want us to do nothing, don't flag it.

There was no need for us to be involved in this flag at all; the only thing that marginally needed to happen was editing the post to match the minimum length filter. We don't need to do that.

For a "minimum length" flag; no need to flag it for us (at the present time). Downvote, leave a comment, vote to delete if you have the reputation.

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  • I agree with this, but what's your view about users adding ......... in order to meet the minimum length? – halfer Apr 1 '14 at 16:07
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    This is all correct, except that he didn't use "not an answer". – Shog9 Apr 1 '14 at 16:07
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    @Shog9 You see? This is what happens when we go crazy. I've hit old age in meta years, I'm starting to repeat things I've said a million times before, that have nothing to do with the current issue. – George Stocker Apr 1 '14 at 16:10
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    You're talking to the guy who posted a 14K character screed the night before just to re-hash a bunch of stuff he was tired of linking to over and over again - I'm not sure I can accurately evaluate crazy anymore. – Shog9 Apr 1 '14 at 16:11
  • Thanks for your additional thoughts George. I was (and still am) of the view that a moderator was required here, since the minimum length requirement should be either enforced or removed entirely. If converting to a comment was not suitable, deletion would have been fine (though I am also not of the view that comments are a punishment - they are however good for very short contributions). – halfer Apr 1 '14 at 16:15
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    @halfer In this particular case; I don't see the benefit in flagging. I don't like it when people try to skirt minimum length requirements, but you do far more good by downvoting them (and letting them know why) then you do flagging. – George Stocker Apr 1 '14 at 16:16
  • Righto, I'll not report for minimum length infractions - that's the answer I am after! Thanks. – halfer Apr 1 '14 at 16:16

Your flag read as follows:

I tried to edit this to fix case/inline formatting, and found the dots have been added in order to escape the minimum length requirements. Thus, I proposed it is converted to a comment.

Conversion to comments is reserved for posts that are not answers but would make good comments. As the answer you asked to be converted did not meet these requirements, your flag was declined.

I do agree that circumventing length requirements like that - particularly for an answer that's essentially redundant - is abusive, and have removed it.

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  • Not sure I fully agree with the delete, I just edited it to meet the 30 character requirements which involved using some different words but not changing the meaning of the answer. Isn't that what editing is for? :) – Taryn Apr 1 '14 at 16:07
  • You're very kind, @bluefeet. But I would recommend dedicating your time to answers that will provide some benefit to others when edited. – Shog9 Apr 1 '14 at 16:08
  • I guess it depends on when they were answered. If it was some time after then it should be removed as a dupe, right? – codeMagic Apr 1 '14 at 16:08
  • @Shog9 Fine.... storms off to her mod duties – Taryn Apr 1 '14 at 16:09
  • No, not necessarily @codeMagic. Questions where the answer is trivial often get multiple duplicate answers in a very short period of time - that's just to be expected, and generally does no harm. But circumventing restrictions to get yours in faster - and then failing to flesh it out - is dirty. – Shog9 Apr 1 '14 at 16:09
  • I agree it's dirty and if they can't find 30 characters to put in an answer then I think it should be deleted (hell, they can provide a link to make up for the minimum) I just meant from a mod standpoint. I meant if it was added more than a few minutes after another similar answer. – codeMagic Apr 1 '14 at 16:11
  • Mods (and, I'd wager, yourself) generally have better things to do than worry about duplicates of such trivial answers, @codeMagic. If it bugs you, down-vote and move on. The exception to this would be cases where there are so many such answers that it is becoming a burden to find new, more detailed ones. – Shog9 Apr 1 '14 at 16:13
  • I'm not bothered...free as a butterfly. Just getting your opinion. back to mining unicoins – codeMagic Apr 1 '14 at 16:16
  • Alright, thanks Shog. – halfer Apr 1 '14 at 16:19

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