The following answer to my Turing question has been flagged as not an answer. There's an argument for it being an answer, and there's also an argument for it not being an answer.

We the moderators would appreciate some guidance from the community about how you want us to handle these flags. Should we delete answers? Add post notices? What are the criteria for an answer being not an answer?

  • 3
    You don't have to do anything "as a moderator," by the way. If you're not sure what to do, you can skip the review and let the community handle it as they see fit. (Although I don't know if we have enough reviewers with delete privileges at this point for NAA deletion. YMMV.)
    – Shokhet
    May 2, 2017 at 15:36
  • 2
    @Shokhet If a post is actually flagged and goes into the Low Quality Posts queue, you only need 6 reviewers with > 1000 rep (there are currently 24), so in theory, the community could delete posts that were deemed low quality.
    – Aurora0001
    May 2, 2017 at 18:20
  • 1
    Good to know, @Aurora0001. Thanks for clearing that up.
    – Shokhet
    May 2, 2017 at 18:57
  • 5
    Yes, what @Shokhet said. Moderators don't have to handle "not an answer" flags - the community can deal with them via the Low Quality Posts review queue, and mods only need to step in if a) the community is reviewing inappropriately somehow or b) the community votes to delete a post which has too high a score for their votes to count (the latter raises an automatic mod-only flag). The "Patience, my young padawan" rule applies here :-)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    May 2, 2017 at 22:37

1 Answer 1


Wrong answers are answers, even if you don't like them

Here's what the not an answer flag definition 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.

Generally, the not an answer flag is reserved for posts that do not even attempt to answer the question at all. There are practical reasons for this:

  • Allowing not an answer flags to be used for posts that you simply disagree with (even if, to you, they're obviously wrong) means that moderators have to make a technical judgement on the post. In effect, moderators become the only users to decide whether your post is 'right' or not, which is difficult to judge, especially for a topic like literature.

  • Stack Overflow has already struggled with inappropriate NAA flags (although mainly in the context of link-only answers, or partial answers). The Low Quality Posts queue tends to encourage people to delete everything that could be described as low quality, which is perhaps too extreme.

If a post attempts to answer the question, it is not worthy of flagging and deletion. Downvote incorrect, misleading or low quality answers; edit if you can see a way to fix them and comment to let the author and others know what's wrong.

The system already has a way of showing users the best posts first, and those which are more controversial sink to the bottom of the page. This is good—it means that there's no need to delete answers which aren't as good, because the post's score is obvious.

Save your flags for posts that really shouldn't be here, like gibberish, questions/comments in the answer box or other weird posts. Otherwise, let people have their voice, and allow the voting system to do its job.


You must log in to answer this question.