Recently, we've started enforcing a "back it up" policy. I agree with this. But I'm having trouble in the VLQ queue identifying what's a non-backed-up answer and what isn't.

For example, I came across this answer which I was on the fence about. I'll agree it's not thoroughly backed up with personal experience, but the top answer on the same question is almost exactly the same. Both say "give a handshake, say this, they'll say that, then either talk about blah or leave it there."

I understand this particular answer might need to go anyway since it doesn't really add much the top answer doesn't say, but that doesn't make me any less confused as to what's a "backed up" answer and what isn't.

Is there an obvious distinction between the two I'm missing, or is this one of those things that'll just take some time for the community to work out the best criteria for a "backed up" answer to meet?

  • 2
    I think a lot of what you're seeing is that the enforcement of the policy is still relatively new. It's pretty obvious that an short answer saying "Do this" doesn't provide any supporting arguments. It required a deliberate reading of the answer on more verbose questions to determine if they're backed up or not.
    – sphennings
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 18:05
  • 1
    Apart from beeing VLQ, could you care to explain why this particualy answer might need to go anyway since it doesn't really add much the top answer doesn't say? Isn´t that what voting is for? Is SE short on server space? Maybe it does a better job at explaining the same to some readers ...
    – user6109
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 9:08
  • As a very occasional visitor, I find that labelling good helpful suggestions derived from personal experience with "citation needed" is completely absurd. Someone has lost the plot. Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 8:21

1 Answer 1


"This answer was flagged, but this similar answer wasn't" isn't a great measure of what should be flagged or how to act on flags.

I just flagged the other answer that wasn't flagged, because you're correct, it wasn't supported either. Please keep in mind that the users flagging may not be reading every answer on the page, and/or the answers that aren't flagged may have been added later. Personally I often take a moment to click through to new answers that bump older questions, particularly when there are already lots of answers, because these are often redundant and/or low quality answers that could use a flag.

When reviewing, it's probably a good idea to weigh answers on their own merits. How well an answer is supported has nothing at all to do with the other answers to the question. If you do click through and spot other unsupported answers, please go ahead and flag them.

What you're seeing as inconsistency is probably more a matter of users flagging what they're taking the time to read. Not everyone has the time to read 3-15 answers in one sitting, but if they're reading one or two and flagging where appropriate, they're doing their part. Every little bit helps.

  • 3
    "Every little bit helps" - Not technically true. If only a couple people are reviewing answers for this policy, not all answers will be evaluated for this specific policy. Until most answers are consistently evaluated, the policy enforcement will make absolutely no sense to anyone who doesn't read the 6 meta questions on it. Every little bit helps once the bare-minimum is met. I know that's not ideal, but put yourself in the shoes of a new user who doesn't even read the meta.
    – Clay07g
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 16:02
  • 2
    @Clay07g Feel free to pitch in if you're concerned about not enough users participating.
    – apaul
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 16:29

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