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Something I've noticed in the brief time I've been a moderator is that most of the "not answer" flagged posts have one word in common: same. They're usually posts saying something along the lines of "I have the same problem" and don't usually provide an answer.

Most of the time they should be comments but because the way the reputation system works, new users can't comment so use the answer box to make themselves heard. I personally thing this is a huge design flaw (as I've said before) because it trains people into the wrong behaviour.

So assuming we can't lower the commenting boundary to 1, can the system at least look for the word "same" and make the user aware again that they should only post if their answer is actually an answer to the problem.

Failing that, a convert-to-comment link on the flagged pots page so it doesn't take 5 clicks to commentise and dismiss a flagged post.

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    "assuming we can't lower the commenting boundary to 1" - I wish we could because people don't make this mistake out of stupidity they would use comments if they could. – 8128 Feb 26 '11 at 18:55
  • Another thing: these me too "same" answers tend to also be "late answers". – 8128 Feb 26 '11 at 18:56
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    @flute we will NEVER reduce comment level to one, and if you want that, you have a deep misunderstanding about how Q&A works. – Jeff Atwood Feb 26 '11 at 19:18
  • here's the mandatory page answers that trip this heuristic will see: askubuntu.com/questions/how-to-answer – Jeff Atwood Feb 26 '11 at 19:40
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    @Jeff on our site people often have relevant information to add (such as their hardware combinations) so not all "me too answers" are useless. I of course agree that "pure me too"s are useless. – 8128 Feb 26 '11 at 21:09
  • @flute that's fine, so long as the comments are adding relevant information (or relevant meta-information..) but this is best expressed as an answer containing "I tried to fix this problem too in the following ways and learned these things.." which gets us moving toward a solution. – Jeff Atwood Feb 26 '11 at 22:03
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This is already what the new answer auto-flagging heuristic does. Details:

Heuristics for detecting a bad answer?

also announced on blog:

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/01/how-to-say-thanks-in-an-answer/

specifically, note this paragraph:

We now have some basic heuristics in place to check for the short answer, and the short “thank you” answer. If the answer is by a new user and matches enough of the heuristics, we provide automatic guidance — as originally suggested on meta by Kop — in the form of a (mandatory) How to Answer page.

edit: however, this test is only enabled for the trilogy (SO, SU, SF). I will enable it here for you as well.

We really don't want these "I have same problem!!" items as comments, they add nothing (and this is why we require rep to comment, by the way, so we don't get flooded by dumb, inane comments).

Why is there a threshold to add a comment? OR Why can't we send private messages?

So I don't support that, either. Just delete them.

  • Thanks this seems to be working better now. It does seem to be catching most of the old usual suspects. – Oli Mar 2 '11 at 0:06
  • @oli great, glad to hear it works. Some stats from the panel: Answer Eulas Invoked: 22 Answer Eulas Ignored: 11 – Jeff Atwood Mar 2 '11 at 1:19

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