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I flagged this answer as “not an answer” because it was short, link-only, and the poster explicitly said that they did not have enough reputation to leave a comment. The flag was declined because “a moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it”.

While I respect the opinion of the moderator, I kindly disagree with the decision and would like to know the thinking behind the decision. While I had significant trouble at first and had a number of flags declined, I’ve now flagged almost 200 straight that were marked as “helpful”. In my opinion, I have made many closer decisions than this one when deciding whether to flag or not.

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Because it's an answer, albeit a link-only answer.*

I took me a while to learn that it's safer to just flag low quality (LQ). Use NAA (not an answer) after very careful consideration.

An example from MSE:

When an answer is flagged NAA, moderators expect to see something that doesn't look like an answer. Something like:

  1. I have a question...
  2. @someUser: I think that...
  3. I like turtles.
  4. aj098243u5in (cat on keyboard)

As for having a flag declined, don't worry about it. You said you have 200 helpful in a row, that's great and keep up the good work.


* The user meant to update a broken link in the older answer. Of course they could have used the edit button, but they're new so they didn't. I've updated that broken link, and submitted a custom flag.

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    $\begingroup$ So just to make sure, they are entirely separate queues? I guess that I assumed that they went to the same place with different labels. Is there anything regarding what actually makes a low-quality answer? I typically don’t flag much as “low quality” because I have had a number of flags declined when using that flag in the past. $\endgroup$ – dalearn Aug 12 at 21:10
  • $\begingroup$ @dalearn: I've added links. $\endgroup$ – ymb1 Aug 12 at 21:18
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    $\begingroup$ This, along with my previous question for my own declined flag, have helped shed a lot of light onto the moderation process. I feel if this kind of information was better communicated up front we would use the flag system much more efficiently; though I have no knowledge as to how much of an issue this is for mods. $\endgroup$ – AEhere Aug 13 at 9:48
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    $\begingroup$ Just rereading this now. "NAA and LQ go to different queues", no, they both end up here: aviation.stackexchange.com/review/low-quality-posts The post you link explains the difference between them and a "other" (also known as "mod only"/"custom flag"), that does not go any any public queue, and have to be handled by a mod. The difference between LQ and NAA is in names only, and in the effect that the name has on a mod reviewing them. (NAA should be deleted, LQ should be edited) $\endgroup$ – Federico Aug 19 at 12:52
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The post in question really is a comment (a post suggesting a way another post could be improved), not an answer. Specifically, it's suggesting that the other answer to the question be updated with the new URL for the given page.

That said, the post looks like an answer; at first glance, it looks like it's an independent attempt at answering the question, rather than a suggestion for an improvement. So it's not surprising that the flag was declined, perhaps by mistake.

(If it were an answer, it would be a "small answer", but "small answers" should still be posted as answers, not as comments.)

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For the purpose of NAA flags, it is enough for the answer on its own (i.e. without the links) to address the question in some way. So Take a look here: [link] is not an answer, while Yes, because [link] technically is. It may not seem much better (and it isn't much better!), but flagging the second version is very likely to get your flag declined. Pretty much anything else about the answer (provided the above criterium is fulfilled) doesn't matter:

  • a completely wrong answer is still an answer.
  • an answer containing questions to the OP is still an answer.
  • an answer stating it should have been a comment is still an answer.
  • an answer arguing with another answer is still an answer.
  • an answer answering the wrong question is still an answer, if it sufficiently relates to the original question.

In essence, NAA flags are reviewed very formally, and the benefit of the doubt is always given to the answerer, not the flagger.

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