In recent times I see more and more flags on questions and answers. Unfortunately a not insignificant part of them are IMHO the wrong flag type or shouldn't have placed in the first place. While wrong flags may not a big issue if moderator attention is indeed required, needless flags, at least in greater number, do waste the time of moderators and reviewers.

Therefore I like to remind all users that flags are intended only for issues which require moderator attention, which means that there can't be resolved by normal users. Exceptions are, within reasons, things which require votes from multiple users but should be handled faster by a moderator.

Flags can be declined for the following reason which I like to mention here explicitly:

Declining because…

  • flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer
  • a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it
  • flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention
  • other…

The first one is IMHO an important reason which I have seen done a couple of times. I can see why people flag an answer which simply says something technically incorrect and therefore doesn't provide a working solution as "not an answer", but it is still an valid (but wrong) attempt to answer the question. The flag description is: 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. Therefore this flag is not valid here (even if it should actually be a comment after our standards because its not a full answer). You could consider using the "very low quality" flag here, but this is more for hopeless posts. I also feel disappointed if I see a "not an answer" flag on a valid but incomplete/technically wrong answer where no comment was added to point out to the user what is wrong or missing here. It's not the task of the moderators to add such comments to every such post. If the answer is really wrong, feel free to down-vote it (down to -1) and please add a comment to it if there isn't already a suitable one there.

While I really enjoy the high quality of posts and the good manners on this site, which both are much higher than the average on SX sites as I can see it, I think we shouldn't be too strict and tidy. Having a technically wrong answer with 0 or -1 votes to a question is not a thing which needs to be eradicated immediately by a moderator, especially if there are already good answers there. Also, not every short answer needs to be turned into a comment. Sure, things like "try the xyz package" should be posted as comments if there is not a (hopefully tested) solution with it. On the other hand if a (new?) user can fix this issue with a simple, but according to TeXnicans' standards totally imperfect, solution which is good enough for him and most likely others, then why bully him or her to move it to the comments? Instead of flagging this as "not an answer", explain the reasons why it shouldn't be done like this. This way other visitors of this site can decide themselves whether they can live with the drawbacks or not.

  • 6
    “Therefore I like to remind all users that flags are intended only for issues which require moderator attention” – I’m not sure I agree entirely; we have an increasing number of diligent 10k users who seem to be doing a great job at acting upon the flags they can see (which are all but those that say “ it needs ♦ moderator attention”). I think I read in some other meta post that a ♦ mod can deal with flag much more easily if there are already a number of identical, agreeing flags on the same post, so we should add our flags to existing flags.
    – doncherry
    Feb 25 '13 at 19:32
  • 6
    There is no possibility to add a comment to a post when flagging it as (say) "Not an answer" when it's listed under the 10K tools list. Only under Review are you capable of posting a comment as part of the flagging process. That is, you have to go back to the post and insert a comment manually.
    – Werner Mod
    Feb 25 '13 at 20:30
  • So let me ask for clarification: Should such answer be flagged or not? "well... you could always draw it out and use use inkscape to make an EPS/svg of your font... that's probably a bit more artsy than you had in mind though :P"
    – yo'
    Feb 26 '13 at 6:51
  • 4
    I do rarely flag – I always feel kind of unsure if it is appropriate or not, even after reading this post. What would really help me is a couple of positive/negative examples in this respect.
    – Daniel
    Mar 12 '13 at 22:36

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