I came across some scenarios like these:

  • Case 1: Obviously not true

    Q: Why does the sun rise and fall every day?
    A: Because the Earth self-rotates.
    A2: Because the sun orbits around the Earth.

  • Case 2: Letting the OP do what is declared not to

    Q: How can I charge my phone without a charger?
    A: Try the USB ports on your computer.
    A2: Go buy a charger.

  • Case 3: Attempt to joke (despite looking like a real answer)

    Q: What's this round bird in bright red? [An image]
    A: It may be a rare or mutated species of sparrow.
    A2: It's a phoenix.
    A3: It's an Angry Bird.

Should I flag A2/A3 as NAA in those cases?

  • 4
    Not really. If it attempts to answer, it is an answer. Flags are for things that the community cannot handle by itself, and this only needs downvotes. Commented May 8, 2017 at 11:25
  • 1
    meta.stackexchange.com/q/81389/230261 should probably be added to the dupe list as well.
    – Jason C
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 12:21

2 Answers 2


NAA is intended for answers that are not an honest attempt to answer the question. Hence:

  • Case 1 – The example is oversimplifying to make a specific statement. The answer is unrealistically stupid; but so is the question. So, let’s assume that the answer is not so bad that it cannot possibly be serious. In that case, it should be downvoted, not flagged as NAA.

  • Case 2 – If the question imposes clear constraints, ignoring them is like answering a totally different question and just produces noise. This can be flagged NAA, but you should leave a comment to make clear what the problem is to reviewers or moderators handling the flag.

  • Case 3 – This is clearly not an honest attempt to answer the question. As above, flag as NAA and leave an explaining comment. On the other hand, we do not completely hate fun. If the answer is actually funny and maybe even educational, it may fall within “only a certain amount of fun will be tolerated”.


The NAA flag is meant to be used when one encounters a post that is Not An Answer. As the name implies, it's not meant for wrong answers, as those are still legitimate answers.

If used properly, one will find their most common use of the NAA flag will be for answer posts that:

  • Ask a new question
  • Seek more information from the OP without providing him a solution
  • Thank another poster
  • etc.

In my experience, much less frequently than these scenarios will be cases where the OP asks What is the first day of the week? and the answer is, "You need version 15 of the compiler." This isn't a wrong answer, it's an entirely unrelated post, hence it being appropriate in this case to use the NAA flag. As noted in the comment by @Kate Gregory, leave a comment on the answer before flagging it explaining the problem to the poster and those reviewing the flag.

  • 2
    When the answer is an answer to an entirely different question, be sure to leave a comment. Otherwise the flag-handler just sees what is clearly an answer and declines your flag. Comment like "the question was X and this appears to be an answer to Y" (I did this once when someone provided a chicken soup recipe with no mention of freezing to a question about how to freeze chicken soup. The flag was marked helpful.) Commented May 8, 2017 at 12:50
  • @KateGregory Excellent point. I will incorporate this into my answer. Commented May 8, 2017 at 12:51

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