Recently I have flagged an answer which should have probably been a comment as “not an answer“. Today when I wanted to flag another answer for a different reason, I noticed this message in the flag dialog:

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So I followed the link to find

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I don't understand this at all. This answer is neither technically inaccurate, nor is it wrong per se. It just does not answer the question and should therefore be a comment.

What should I have done differently here?

  • Seems two other users thought the answer was OK: tex.stackexchange.com/review/low-quality-posts/145710. So your flag was declined by the review queue, where reviewers found the entry to 'look OK'.
    – moewe
    Apr 3, 2018 at 21:52
  • 2
    I suppose you could have made a stronger case by leaving a short comment on the answer explaining your views (and suggesting a way to improve the answer to a real answer - if possible). That way the reviewers are aware of your motives for flagging and can weigh your arguments. But then on the other hand one could argue that reviewers should only consider the merits of the answer and should not be influenced by your views...
    – moewe
    Apr 3, 2018 at 22:01

3 Answers 3


I think this is one where it's borderline: I suspect the person answering did think it was about the issue, though personally I would say this is more of a comment. The 'clear cut' cases where flagging as 'not an answer' work are where the post is actually a new question, is totally off the topic in hand, etc. One might argue that downvoting is appropriate for the case highlighted.

  • As I say, to me the flag looks good: I'll likely move the 'answer' later.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Apr 4, 2018 at 6:23

I agree with Joseph on this call, that the "answer" might be an edge case - it's difficult to quickly establish whether the post provides an answer, or whether it should be a comment.

The title of the flag might have been misleading here. True, this may not have been an answer, but it's difficult to validate.

In this case I'd suggest commenting on the post and request more detail so the problem can be replicated (even if it's an answer and not a question). That way one can more readily validate the content.

Here is some background on the procedure:

  • Flagging an answer as "not an answer" puts it in the Low Quality review queue.

  • Reviewers decide the fate of the post. "Looks OK" votes negate the flag, resulting in it being declined (as in this case), while "Recommend Deletion" or "Delete" votes validate it.

  • If it stays there too long, moderators get to take action as it becomes part of their list of notifications.



It is up to the poster to decide. There is even a badge for it "peer pressure" or something similar. It is an answer and relevant not necessarily correct.

Here package defaults might have made the difference about the caption distance. It's just an answer and answers are not kept depending on their correctness.

I also don't understand your willingness to delete it which made you come over here and open a question. So things are relative hence if we are so eager to trust the review system for close votes here system worked out as "successfully" as usual.

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