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To my surprise I saw this in my flagging history:

My computer boots up with Ubuntu: How can I tell what's on my hard disk? - answered 1 hour ago by TomC

not an answer – 46 mins ago declined - flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention


The answer it is concerning is not an answer at all, by three parts:

Welcome to the world of Linux. In command mode, you can type uname -a This will show you the version of Linux, the architecture (probably i386) and build date, along with some more information. But the menu already indicated that it is version 3.0, which is really ancient, and no longer supported.

As I commented also, this part is about the Linux command line (terminal/Bash) while the question is about the Grub command line. I guess the user misinterpreted the question.

It is quite possible that this laptop has no wireless and maybe not a wired internet connection, which limits the usefulness in today's computer world.

This has nothing to do with the question.

You could possible use it as a doorstop (ha! ha!). In reality, unless you want to use it as a Linux learning tool, you might be better off selling it on Ebay as a collector's item. Sorry, but that's my opinion.

I don't understand what this is about, and it's his opinion anyway.

So, to improve my flagging skills, why is the "not an answer" flag declined here?


By the way, right after my flag was declined the post re-appeared in the 10k tool queue:

enter image description here

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    Seeing the userbox for TomC in the post made me think this was his meta-post and has been confusing my socks off. Go home moderator, you're drunk! – Oli Jun 26 '13 at 7:28
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The comment when flagging a post as "not an answer" says:

... but it does not attempt to answer the question.

So in my eyes the flag should not be used as long as the poster tries to give an answer.

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    I agree with guntbert. The only time I would use Not an Answer on an attempted answer is if it answers, say, the wrong question and therefore doesn't give an answer to what is being asked. – Thomas Ward Jun 30 '13 at 23:15
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I didn't handle this flag but I did handle one very much like it yesterday.

On a technical level, the answer you flagged is an answer, it's just not a very good one. uname -a will give you a fair indication about what you're currently running. Now that by no means explains what's on the entire harddisk and even with a uname string, you're left with some detective work. Yeah it's crappy, but it is a partial.

When you hit something like this your reaction should be:

  • Edit the post if it's easily fixable.

  • Leave a comment - explain what's wrong so the writer has a chance to fix or delete it.

  • Vote down if it's technically incorrect to let the OP and others know it's bad. That's the whole point of there being a down-vote button.

  • After all of that, call for a moderator if it's dangerously incorrect or wildly offtopic, etc.

The tools that exist here are supposed to further users' abilities to deal with light moderation issues without requiring one of a very limited number of moderators.

In this case the question simply didn't need our eyes. A comment and -1 was all that was required.

  • I'm very surprised by this answer, actually. "uname -a will give you a fair indication [...]" Well, no, not in the context of the question as I tried to point out. Would an answer "run format C:" to a question how to format a partition in Ubuntu also be an answer then? In my opinion this answer sounds like we don't even need the "not an answer" flag at all. – gertvdijk Jun 26 '13 at 8:39
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    There are plenty of cases where Not An Answer gets used: people asking follow up questions or posting me-toos and thanks. What I'm saying here is use the voting and commenting systems to deal with bad answers. – Oli Jun 26 '13 at 8:50
  • I concur with what has been said. Use voting and comments to fix bad answers. – Marco Ceppi Jun 26 '13 at 11:25
  • I really still disagree with your qualification of the post being an answer. My definition of a "bad answer" is completely different I guess. – gertvdijk Jun 26 '13 at 14:06
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    @gertvdijk, read the comment, when flagging: "... it does not attempt to answer the question...". So as long as someone tries to give an answer the flag should not be used. – guntbert Jun 26 '13 at 15:05
  • @guntbert Good point. Add that as an answer, I'd say. – gertvdijk Jun 26 '13 at 15:08

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