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I had an interesting chat with @Catija yesterday. She stated:

This is something I've argued with the Cooking mods for over a year. If an answer has even a whiff of an actual answer, they decline NAA flags. So, with my time spent there, I have to decide whether I think we should follow them or require more from our answers. link

I think we can help her make that decision ;-)


So, given:

(And if you can find more metas, please feel free to address them in you answer)

What do we do with our 'bad' answers here? When do we delete, and when do we just downvote? Should we be more strict than any other site?

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    Worth noting that that discussion was about whether we should be deleting or only downvoting these answers. General guidance as far as I've seen is that bad answers are downvoted, not deleted. I don't know that we'd be the only site with a heavier deletion policy but it's non-standard. – Catija Nov 19 '17 at 15:29
  • An answer can be bad in many ways. I think we have already covered what to do with them in those linked and other metas. – NVZ Nov 19 '17 at 19:24
  • This is one of the most pertinent questions about quality control ever asked on IPS meta. Stack Exchange traditional wisdom says that poor answers are downvoted not deleted. I am very curious to see whether we can set stricter standards for deleting answers than the rest of the network, and what the Community Managers would have to say about such a 'stricter' policy. However, it is probably needed here! – English Student Nov 19 '17 at 21:14
  • Some context from cooking: we take that approach mainly because it's an easy rule to apply, and the costs/downsides are minimal (we don't have an overabundance of horribly bad partial answers). The balance is very different here, so I would not expect the same decision to be best. – Cascabel Nov 20 '17 at 20:11
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Not an answer "NAA" flags are generally very conservative. There is pretty strict guidance here as to how to use them.

There is a brilliant illustration of this made by Undo that was originally posted in a meta question on Meta.StackOverflow about the very same thing:

enter image description here

The "Not an answer" flag is really just for posts that are blatantly not an answer.

For all other instances, like bad answers or outright wrong answers, we have downvotes and comments. A wrong answer downvoted and with several (upvoted) comments as to why it's wrong is still more helpful then a non-answer, even if only to look out as to what not to do.

  • "The "Not an answer" flag is really just for posts that are blatantly not an answer. For all other instances, like bad answers or outright wrong answers, we have downvotes and comments." __ absolutely right @Magisch, and I upvote. We should delete any post that is blatantly not an answer. Everything else, downvote + comment. – English Student Nov 20 '17 at 15:14
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    The only quibble I have with this is the "downvote/comment/edit" action-list on Low-Quality; by all means, do those things if you can, but if the result remains a low-quality answer... Don't hesitate to just delete it. – Shog9 Nov 22 '17 at 4:15
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I think the way Magisch answered is okay for a lot of SE sites, but we need to be more strict. This site is sorta getting out of hand as far as answer quality is concerned... I think that we have discussed some other cases here, in which deleting is also necessary. As Jefromi commented:

we take that approach mainly because it's an easy rule to apply, and the costs/downsides are minimal (we don't have an overabundance of horribly bad partial answers). The balance is very different here, so I would not expect the same decision to be best.

The bold part is my emphasis on it. The balance is very different here. We get a lot of answers that fall into one of the categories below, and should be removed instead of just downvoted/commented. Because we get a lot of passerby's with Many Opinions that don't know these answers are bad for our site, and upvote them anyway!


There is enough written on this already. There's also this answer and I recently wrote this. Recently, we had another one of those questions where people were writing non-answers: How can I get my sister to stop asking me to help her smoke?. If the premise is 'I want to ask her to respect my wishes and stop asking me to help her smoke', the 'simple' answer isn't 'go get her cigarettes anyway'.

If an answer goes against the premise of the question, it should be flagged as NAA and be deleted.


  • Answers that aren't offering an Interpersonal solution should be removed

    Make sure to take the time to click the link in that answer. It has been policy since August! to remove answers that aren't offering an Interpersonal skill.

    This site is interpersonal.stackexchange.com, not ihaveaproblemandwantanysolution.stackexchange.com. There's a definitive difference.

This ties closely together with 'not honoring the premise of a question'since posting here holds a premise that an OP is looking for an Interpersonal solution.

If an answer is not offering an IPS solution, it should be flagged as NAA and be deleted.


This goes hand in hand with the discussion about a back-it-up rule. The basic outcome was that there should at the very least be some

One-line answers aren't likely to be backed up with experience, sources or solid reasoning. But, if they 'are' an answer to the question, we should use VLQ flags for these answers, not NAA flags to get these answers deleted.


We can upvote answers if we think they are good, there's no need to confirm that by writing another answer that basically states the same.

I don't think we can flag answers as a duplicate though, so this will probably require a custom mod flag. Make sure to provide a 'link' to the post it is a duplicate of.

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