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There is an answer here (screenshot) which does not attempt answer a question and instead posts a joke in response to a whimsical bounty message. Several people flagged it as NAA and it quickly accumulated many Recommend Deletion flags in review, but the flags were declined. Is there a different standard for what counts as an answer on this site? Are answers which contain nothing but a funny image acceptable?

The bounty message, which was unrelated to the topic of the question, mentioned that it would be awarded to anyone who posts a random, funny answer or says that the OP is an awesome person. A funny answer was indeed posted (which did not answer the question), and it was given the bounty.

The answer even states:

Here is a completely unrelated answer with a funny picture!

As the answer was visible for at least 60 days and has at least +3 score, the author won't lose any reputation if it gets deleted, including the bounty reputation.

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    Let's just ignore the part where the asker's bounty reason specifically said to respond in that manner... It's even captured in a screenshot. – Catija Aug 7 at 15:13
  • @Catija That's why I linked to the answer and mentioned "whimsical bounty message". If jokes in bounty messages leading to joke answers are acceptable on Meta.SE, then can you please post an answer? – The forest of Reinstate Monica Aug 7 at 15:14
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    You're selectively presenting only half of the information. People don't follow links and if the answer does get deleted, most people won't even be able to make sense of your question. If you really want to honestly have people judge this situation and have it be of value to future users, you need to actually give all of the information, not rely on a link. – Catija Aug 7 at 15:15
  • @Catija Alright, I'll edit my question to give more details. Thanks for the suggestion. Is there anything more you would like me to add to make my question more acceptable or fair? – The forest of Reinstate Monica Aug 7 at 15:16
  • Eh. Is it really worth flagging a seven year old answer? – fbueckert Aug 7 at 15:18
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    @fbueckert If it's a blatant non-answer, why not? Multiple people flagged it already. On occasion, an old post which is not considered good can be locked, but that is not the case with this non-answer. – The forest of Reinstate Monica Aug 7 at 15:19
  • How do you know multiple people flagged it? I see the review, but that just means one flag, the one that throws it into the queue. I'm not aware of any others. – fbueckert Aug 7 at 15:20
  • @fbueckert In addition to people commenting, it was discussed briefly on the Tavern chat. – The forest of Reinstate Monica Aug 7 at 15:20
  • @forest How about the fact that it was awarded the bounty, and if the answer gets deleted, the bounty will be revoked? – Catija Aug 7 at 15:21
  • Okay. I agree it's not really an answer, but...is it worth the fight on an old answer? Seems like extra work for no real gain. – fbueckert Aug 7 at 15:21
  • @Catija Will it? I thought posts like that were exempt from rep loss at deletion. But deletion isn't the only option anyway. The post could be locked for "historical significance". – The forest of Reinstate Monica Aug 7 at 15:22
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    @Catija As the post was visible for at least 60 days and has at least +3 score, all reputation will be preserved, including bounty reputation. – Sonic the Reinstate Monica-hog Aug 7 at 15:26
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    @Catija Then is there any other reason the answer should stay, if rep loss is not an issue? – The forest of Reinstate Monica Aug 7 at 15:29
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    ... it's meta. We're allowed to have a bit more fun here. We don't have to be 100% serious business all the time... – Catija Aug 7 at 15:33
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    @Catija even if this answer gets delete, the Wayback Machine has it. That’s not a very major problem. – Stormblessed Aug 7 at 15:52
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Humor and silliness are more welcome on meta than main, but posts that don't even attempt to answer the question aren't answers. This one is blatant; it ignores the question and responds to the unrelated text of a now-ended bounty. That answer is not making the site even a little better.

Because it is upvoted, users with the "trusted user" privilege cannot delete it. I have deleted it now.

A silly bounty reason (and award) shouldn't protect a non-answer forever. It was cute; we had our fun; it's gone now.

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    (Note: For those wondering why it is now deleted under my name: I redeleted it after clearing a helpful spam flag from '12) – Tinkeringbell Aug 7 at 17:34
  • That answer is not making the site even a little better. However, there's something to be said for making some of its users appear silly, yes, but also more likeable and relatable. – Mari-Lou A Aug 8 at 13:26
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No, I don't have different standards, here or anywhere else.

But I do also have some weird sense of humor which made that I clicked Looks Okay on that review.

That answer definitely showed some aspects that it answered a question, was upvoted and collected a bounty. And it did put some effort in to make it stick. Some users found it useful, probably users with my humor, oh dear.

Had it been the only answer that is blocking the roomba for cleaning up a terrible question I might have reviewed differently.

It is not a big drama your flag got declined, you just happened to run into the wrong reviewers. Try again later. With the attention you've put now on that answer it will be gone in 6 to 8 something.

It is fine.

As this answer is now in competition with that of a moderator let me remind readers of a subtle but crucial difference on how to interpret Not An Answer. I'm not a langue juggler but there is a difference between those two statements wrt NAA flags:

  • An answer doesn't answer a question.
  • An answer doesn't answer the question.

I'm in the a camp interpretation so I'm less likely to delete answers from the queue, if they look like an answer to any question.

The deletionists among us favor the the interpretation and they delete a lot more answers from the queue as they take question context into account as a deciding factor.

I can see why some users prefer one interpretation over the other and I'm the last one to contest an review outcome. That is why I said try again later to see if a slightly different mix of reviewers would change the outcome. I don't think site moderators should interfere much in that process, only if some consensus is reached. I challenge that such consensus existed already and the answer was deleted prematurely by a binding vote.

It might not be everyone's cup of fun but let us at least decide together when the fun is over.

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    -1 What are these “aspects that it answered a question”? There is no attempt to answer an on-topic question in this answer. – Stormblessed Aug 7 at 15:54
  • @Stormblessed it doesn't need to answer an on-topic question. That is where down votes are for. A common misconception, I forgive you. – rene Aug 7 at 16:02
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    That goes against the whole "when is an answer not an answer" post: meta.stackexchange.com/q/225370/384528 – The forest of Reinstate Monica Aug 7 at 16:04
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    The picture doesn't really help your point about the "a" camp, though, since it makes it quite clear oranges aren't answers to apples, no matter if someone in a parallel universe could potentially have asked for oranges if the stars were aligned. – Chris says Reinstate Monica Aug 7 at 17:35
  • Imagine the question was about fruit @ChristianRau ... something like that. – rene Aug 7 at 17:37
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    @rene Same difference. This question isn't for fruit, otherwise oranges were an answer. If we go by the picture they just aren't or it wouldn't read "NOT Answer DELETE". Your viewpoint might be a viable interpretation (and some people share it), but it's certainly not shared by that picture. – Chris says Reinstate Monica Aug 7 at 17:39
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    Read the text of the "not an answer" flag: "This was posted as an answer, but it does not attempt to answer the question. It should possibly be an edit, a comment, another question, or deleted altogether." – pppery Aug 7 at 22:22

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