Example Answer

Link to the review.

Admittedly this is a low-quality question as well, but the answer came up in my review queue as having been marked as low-quality. From what I can tell, the answer provided has a legitimate chance to solve the asker's problem. That makes it an acceptable answer, in my opinion.

However, the OP commented to say that it didn't work. Without additional information from the asker or answerer, it is difficult to judge the underlying quality or accuracy of the answer. The answer could admittedly be improved by explaining what the asker might be doing wrong and what the provided code does to address that. The critical distinction is that the answer isn't wrong, it just doesn't solve (all of) the asker's problems.

What should a reviewer do in a situation like this? My reaction is to mark it "Looks good." This is partially informed by my knowledge of PHP and MySQL. If the question were about something I had no special knowledge of, I would be inclined to skip the review.

  • 10
    Downvote sounds like an appropriate course of action here. If it's factually wrong, then it's not really "useful".
    – Makoto
    Apr 4, 2014 at 19:41
  • Relatedly, is there a way to tell whether the flag was raised by a user for a specific reason? I gather that some (most?) low-quality flags are automatically added to questions by the Community bot.
    – Patrick M
    Apr 4, 2014 at 19:41
  • @Makoto That's a good point. However, the provided answer (fetching the row from the result) is pertinent and looks like an essential step in an actual solution. More importantly, you can't downvote from the low-quality review queue, so the actual decision between "Looks Good", "Edit", "Recommend Deletion", and "Skip" still needs to be addressed.
    – Patrick M
    Apr 4, 2014 at 19:45
  • Well, since I don't know PHP all that well, I'm merely suggesting it as opposed to sticking hard and fast to a downvote. Further, if the review tool doesn't provide the ability to take an appropriate course of action, then the tool is flawed. In all honesty, it could be recommended for deletion, but I feel that's too heavy a hammer as opposed to a simple downvote.
    – Makoto
    Apr 4, 2014 at 19:48
  • 2
    @PatrickM - Many of the posts in the Low Quality review queue are there because they tripped the post quality heuristics, and weren't actually flagged. This one wasn't flagged by anyone, but it probably got in there due to its shorter length. The heuristics have a high false positive rate, though, which is why humans need to review these posts. This one seems to be a legit answer. Apr 4, 2014 at 19:59
  • I guess what I'm looking for is more useful advice than "Recommend Deletion to recommend that this answer be deleted". I'm more inclined to upvote this answer than downvote it, because it is working code and an improvement on what the asker posted. So @BradLarson if you want to make your comment into an answer, I would be inclined to accept it.
    – Patrick M
    Apr 4, 2014 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


A wrong answer is still an answer. Wrong answers should be downvoted - that's very much what these votes are for.

However, this answer is lacking in another department: It has no explanation as to why this code is suggested, or what its supposed behaviour is. Personally, I'd be inclined to Recommend Deletion on those grounds, but an Edit (or, by extension, not deleting the post for someone else to fix it) to add such information would be a good option here as well.

The result of a Very Low Quality review should either be a post that is now fine according to our quality standards (which can be achieved either by saying it already Looks Good, or by Editing it into shape), or the post being deleted for being unsalvageable from this low quality.

If you do not feel confident enough in your own choice that your own choice could stand as the final result - Skip it.

  • I ended up editing the answer because I felt it had merit, even if poorly explained. In the future, especially on questions I'm not as knowledgeable on, I think I will make more use of the Skip option.
    – Patrick M
    Apr 4, 2014 at 20:28
  • Also, is there a better outline of the quality standards for answers than this? The question quality standards section I found is only a little more help...
    – Patrick M
    Apr 4, 2014 at 20:31

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