Whenever looking at answers in the Low Quality Posts review queue that are real answers (i.e. should not actually be a comment, edit or new question), just bad ones, I'm a bit conflicted about choosing between saying "Looks OK" and "Recommend Deletion". Let me explain.

The answers usually fall in one of the following categories.

  1. The answer lacks explanation or worded in a confusing manner and is only fully understandable to someone who already knew the answer beforehand.

  2. The answer is a (partial) duplicate of an existing answer.

  3. The answer is (essentially) a link-only answer.

  4. The answer is wrong.

Of the reasons provided for recommending deletion, "This is a link-only answer (and not spam)" clearly fits only 3. and the other reasons clearly do not fit here, leaving only the generic "No comment needed". Reasons provided for recommending deletion

Now, my feeling is that in all of these cases it would be better to just downvote the answer and leave or upvote a comment explaining why. This will keep the answer on the site but clearly mark it as unhelpful, giving everyone the opportunity to weigh in with their vote and the answerer the opportunity to improve or delete their post. Deleting on the other hand hides the answer from everyone but a relatively small number of people and likely discourages the author from posting another, improved version of the answer.

So, what I would like to do is say "Looks OK" and downvote, since the post is clearly an answer (just a bad one). In case 3. the provided option pretty clearly tells me not to do that. Furthermore the tooltip of the "Looks OK" button states "this answer doesn't seem low quality", which clearly is not the case. "Looks OK" tooltip

Also, the interface of the review queue does not provide the option to downvote; I would have to go to the question, downvote the answer there and separately say "Looks OK" in the review queue.

All in all the system seems to push one to recommend deletion, for lack of better options with "No comment needed" (though one can of course still leave a comment), and that is what usually happens.

So, is that desirable behavior and I should stop worrying and love the bomb liberally recommend deleting questions with "no comment" that I deem to be low quality? (Are downvotes on new answers merely a tool for identifying those low quality answers in the system?) Or would it be preferable to leave the question with a downvote and push for an interface change that reflects that?

  • Something that is almost axiomatic on the Stackexchange is "even a wrong answer is an answer", and I think the list of deletion reasons is stated in such a way that anything else (like your 1, 2, and 4) are answers, and as such should be dealt with by voting not by deletion. The Low Quality Post list has no real content knowledge, so it's just a starting point for human interaction from us as reviewers. I agree, however, that 3 seems to be the odd one out, but I think that's because the other axiom is "link only answers are not answers".
    – Alan Munn
    Aug 18, 2019 at 3:20
  • 8
    They should be downvoted, but the fashion of TeX.SE is "never downvote", so I prefer to recommend deletion and leave a comment, if necessary. Usually bad answers are posted by the same users, and if you always downvote the same users, you may be accused to persecute them and you may risk to be suspended.
    – CarLaTeX
    Aug 18, 2019 at 7:14
  • 3
    I agree that the system is a bit confusing here. This specific review queue is called "Low Quality Posts", while the available options for deletion suggest that it should actually be called "Non-answer Posts". To me a plain wrong answer is even worse than a link-only answer, so I usually vote for deletion on wrong answers. I've always wondered why there is no deletion reason for wrong answers.
    – siracusa
    Aug 18, 2019 at 21:47
  • 4
    The fashion of TeX-SX is not never downvote but don't downvote past -1. The consensus established early on was that if a post (question or answer) stands at -1 then there is an issue with it and that is all the information that is needed. So downvoting is fine with the proviso that if it stands already at -1 then further downvotes aren't needed. Aug 22, 2019 at 20:10

1 Answer 1


Keep in mind that the processes are set up for the entire network, and in some (many?) cases the nature by one of the largest networks - Stack Overflow - governs the implementation. There you typically deal with a sharks den of coding experts.

Voting still reigns supreme in terms of the Stack Exchange ranking mechanism. We tend to favour the one direction (upward), but we should really be consistent rather than be concerned about what others would think. For example, if you always up-vote as a way of checking a question (or answer) as "read," then do that. If you interpret the voting buttons literally (up-vote = post shows research effort; is useful and clear / down-vote = post does not show research effort; is not useful or unclear) then use that as your guide.

Of course, the ever-present reputation link provides a disincentive for down-voting (since the voter loses reputation), which makes it difficult for everyone to contribute appropriately to "speak their mind." Moreover, the suggested "be nice and don't down-vote below -1" sentiment doesn't help either since you may feel like you didn't get an opportunity to cast your ballot on some response.

My suggestion would be to skip the review if the option doesn't meet your needs, then visit the post and vote accordingly.

If you want a change in the interface, consider asking on Meta Stackexchange.

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