While reviewing First Post queue, I came across this review item and flagged it because it was kind of a comment. Since it was flagged as not an answer, it was added in the Low Quality Posts review queue, where 5 reviewers recommended to delete it while one didn't.

Anyway, this post was later deleted by a moderator, but my flag was declined with a message

declined - flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer

If it was going to be deleted by a moderator, then why declining my flag? This kinda behavior made me wonder whether should I flag posts that look like a comment or not.

FYI, I have Marshal Badge on SO and am almost halfway to reach there on Movies & TV. I know what does contribute as an answer and what doesn't.

I welcome every answer and feedback, but I'd prefer words from moderator(s).

  • How do you know the answer was deleted by a moderator, since you don't have enough rep to see deleted answers? Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 22:27
  • A screenshot (provided by a 10k-er, perhaps) would really help this post. I remember looking at that answer in review, but can't remember exactly what it said. Something like "perhaps the railings were for elven children"? Which is an answer to the question, albeit an ill-explained one - worth downvoting, perhaps, but not flagging as NaA. Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 22:28
  • @randal'thor it was converted to a comment.
    – Catija
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 23:59

1 Answer 1


The declined flag was appropriate. Just because it was a crappy answer - "Maybe because of elven children?" - doesn't make it "not an answer".

It was an attempt to answer. If you read the "Not an answer" text, it reads

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.
emphasis added

This does attempt to answer the question. It's a guess. It's a single sentence that posits an idea for why the railings are short.

Now, should it be a comment? Probably... but that doesn't make it NAA. Its brevity got it into the low quality posts queue where it was likely slated for deletion due to all of the things that make it a poor answer. One of the mods saved it from utter deletion by converting it to a comment.

Note that different mods and different sites may have differing ideas about how strictly to interpret the "Not an answer" flag. Considering how many flags SO gets on a daily basis, I'd guess they're less strict about it, in an attempt to remove poor-quality content... but I don't go on SO, so I've really no clue how they deal with NAA flags.

  • 2
    +1; agreed. (This is essentially why I didn't vote to delete it in the LQP review queue.) Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 0:19
  • 3
    @AJ There's no such thing as a "Low Quality Answer" flag. There's the VLQ flag but that's reserved for posts that are unintelligible, not for bad answers. Read the text - "This answer has severe formatting or content problems. This answer is unlikely to be salvageable through editing, and might need to be removed." The reality is, there is no appropriate flag for this answer because, that is not the purpose of flags. If you think something is a bad answer, you downvote.
    – Catija
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 4:19
  • @AJ There's nothing for the moderators to do. If it shows up in the delete queue, you (and other high-rep users) can vote to delete it but it's unlikely to be deleted otherwise. Mods aren't here to unilaterally delete content. Consider reviewing the answer here on MSE. It explains what deletion is and when it should be used.
    – Catija
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 4:24
  • Now, should it be a comment? Probably... but that doesn't make it NAA.. If you see the text of "Not An Answer", you would see it mentions It should possibly be an edit, **a comment**, another question, or deleted altogether. Can you explain it a bit?
    – A J Mod
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 7:50
  • @AJ The "does not attempt to answer the question " trumps "should possibly be a comment". Just because you think it should be a comment doesn't make it not an attempt to answer the question.
    – Catija
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 14:06

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