I flagged a answer in this question As "In need of moderator attention" on a answer that was:

sudo rm -rf /var/lib/mysql

My flag was declined, perhaps because I was not specific enough. I did not think an evil answer such as this would need much more explanation. How should I have flagged the answer?

  • 12
    I recommend commenting on and downvoting posts with dangerous commands if you have time. It's also appropriate to flag such posts for moderator attention, but explaining what's wrong is always a good idea and makes things easier for everyone :)
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 19:43

2 Answers 2


Your flag was declined with the reason "Use standard flags." Because you say two things:

  1. This isn't an answer
  2. The answer is evil and dangerous.

You're also dealing with a moderator who today hasn't had much sleep. I also was trying to do everything from a tablet so I can't easily open the entire question. You're right it was an evil command, but it's more "Not an Answer" because it doesn't even address the question being asked.

(I'm the mod who handled the flag by the way).

In my tired state, I was judging based on the "Not an Answer" state of the answer, not the command itself.

As was stated in comments though, it's usually best to make a comment to the effect that the command is dangerous rather than just rely on a moderator flag.

Comments are immediately posted. Mod flags take time for one of us to get up off our butts and sift through the flags queue.

You also should compare the actual answer to the actual question - the posted 'command', though dangerous, has no actual attempt to solve the underlying installation failure on the question you linked to.

Note that I did also delete that answer, but for the "Not an Answer" reason. my comments about the answer later on the deleted post were after-the-fact. (10k+ users and other mods can see that information directly)

  • I really appreciate the response. I usually just comment, downvote and move on instead of flagging, especially in review. I'm sure the moderators are inundated with flags so I stray from unnecessarily adding to the burden. Since Q and A's show up almost instantly on the search engines makes me hate dangerous answers even more.
    – stumblebee
    Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 4:12
  • 7
    IMHO, you should work with inappropriate tools as a moderator, and then hide behind their insufficiencies. And if too tired for moderation, don't do it. Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 13:41
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    I don’t think you can reliably determine if someone is “too tired for moderation” by a single flag/case.
    – Thomas Ward Mod
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 16:55

As far as it concerns the question

I am pretty sure your flag shouldn't have been declined. The discussion how it should be flagged is kind of irrelevant, and can be communicated in a comment.

As far as it comes to the other answer given to your question

I am not in the position to lecture anyone,


On quite a few occasions over time, you used expressions/excuses like "I was extremely tired", "I was in a bad mood", "I drank too little coffee", and you seem to find that acceptable.

Again, I am not in the position to lecture anyone, and I am pretty sure I have been unreasonable or harsh on more than one occasion.
There is however one big difference. If I am unreasonable representing myself, I am the one who will be held responsible. If you are representing someone else, you should at all times consider your actions, and not look for excuses. You are representing AU as a moderator. If you feel you are not in a condition to do the job, then skip for a day or so.

People spending their time here to keep the site in order is a precious thing. That goes for you, but as much for anyone else, moderator or not. You should be our example.

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