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I've recently been given review privileges for new users. Occasionally, some of them make the mistake of posting answers when they shouldn't, such as here, where the user asks for clarification on what the Super key is. Braiam explained in the comments that this should not have been an answer, and Seth responded to the question itself, clarifying what the Super key did.

I was unsure if I should flag this for deletion, since presumably deleting this answer would mean the new user would never see the responses. Hence, they'd never know what they did was wrong (and also never get their answer). What is appropriate in this case?

To complicate matters, new users are unable to post comments asking for clarification, so I can understand why the new user did this. (I guess they could ask new questions, though.)

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The proper course here is to flag the answer as "Not an Answer" because, well, it's not an answer. This is necessary to keep the site clean. If we let one person's "question" answer stay then we have to let everyone's question answers stay.

As you can see, I tried to help the OP out while waiting for the deletion on the off-chance he saw my comment. Some people have before...

Also, the first search result (on Bing of all places) would have answered his question, so it's not like we're killing his only chance at figuring out what he needs to know ;)

tl;dr*

These "answers" need to be flagged just the same as any other "answer" that isn't an answer, but it's good practise to try and answer the guy's question at the same time (if possible, sometimes he just needs to ask a real question).

*(man.. that wasn't much for you to skip O_O)

  • Ha… thanks for the tl;dr version. I was getting tired… :p You are right with this specific case being trivial, since a simple search would have answered it, but I was asking this as a more general question, when it's less clear-cut. So do I understand correctly that the question gets flagged by one person, then (multiple) people with enough rep vote to delete it? If so, then do you normally reply but not flag, since I was able to flag it? – Sparhawk Aug 31 '13 at 3:54
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    @Sparhawk It's not quite as clear cut as that. More than one person can flag an answer or question. Once flagged the post gets put in a queue for moderators and 10k users can review them. 10k users only get to add an "agreement flag" to your flag (or disagree with it), but 20k users can vote to delete an answer with a score of -1, otherwise a moderator must do it. I didn't flag that one since I caught it going through the low quality posts queue (I don't think you have access to that queue, but you can't flag there). So I normally flag and reply, if feasible and possible. – Seth Aug 31 '13 at 4:06
  • In the LQP, whenever we get questions, the users with close vote shall spend their votes to close/review the question, answers don't have this limitation and this kind of "short" answers that are not answers get caugh there. – Braiam Sep 1 '13 at 2:34
  • @Braiam Yes, they do.. I'm sorry, but I don't understand the point of your comment though.. Maybe I'm just tired. – Seth Sep 1 '13 at 4:00
  • "I didn't flag that one since I caught it going through the low quality posts queue" I was trying to address cases where the LQP queue don't help, when we have spent all our votes :S – Braiam Sep 1 '13 at 11:18
  • @Braiam Ah.. Well AFAIK only see answers in the LPQ queue if we are out of close votes.. – Seth Sep 1 '13 at 14:37
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Seth answered your main question: yes, flag as not an answer.

But what about the communication aspect? When it makes sense, add a comment to the question, @ing the username. Or start a chat room with them and explain the situation.

  • They can still see their deleted answers if they have enough reputation. Otherwise, they just get a notification that their answer was deleted. – Braiam Sep 12 '13 at 2:45

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