I was reviewing Low Quality Posts this morning when I came across something I often encounter. An answer which states something with authority but completely lacks any references.

The question was What is the name of the small containers of half & half, etc.?

The answer given (in full), was:

The little plastic portion cups are called RAMIKENS

In this particular instance @svenyargs has gone to the trouble of researching the answer for the person that had answered, and posted the fruits of that research in the comments:

Hello, user268075. You could make your response more of a one-stop-shop answer—and therefore more useful to site visitors—if you added a relevant definition of ramekin from a reputable dictionary, with a link to the appropriate page online (if possible). Merriam-Webster, at least, limits its definitions of ramekin to (1) a baked dish containing cheese, egg, and breadcrumbs, and (2) a small baking dish. – Sven Yargs

In light of this it did not seem right to recommend the answer for deletion, because with the commentary it did seem somewhat relevant.

However I so frequently come across these low quality answers, which state a purported truth without any evidence what so ever, that I wonder should we not have a category for them in the low quality post deletion options?

Here is an image of the options currently available:

enter image description here

And none fit this frequent type of low quality answer I encounter.

I could have used no comment needed but this is an instance where I do think a comment is really needed. Especially if the person that answered knows their answer to be correct, they might be surprised it has been deleted, if they do not understand why evidence is important when answering a question.

My suggestion is that a new category be added:

This is an answer which has no evidence to support it. In order to justify your answer you should include references which demonstrate its truth.

Or wording of similar effect.

There are two linked questions I would also like to ask the community here, so the three questions are:

  1. Should we have an additional category of low quality post to support the type of low quality post I just described?
  2. Should we automatically recommend answers such as these for deletion if we do not know if the answer is correct?
  3. Should we automatically recommend answers such as these for deletion if we know the answer to be true, but haven't got the time and or inclination to go and research the answer for the original poster and update their question?


In light of MetaEd's very reasonable answer. I think the process of moderating answers could be made smarter, and in turn save us time, but I have no idea how difficult this would be to implement.

Having of course run into another of these on the very first post of the next set of Low Quality Posts I've entered, I've realized the down and up vote buttons are not accessible from the main review screen.

enter image description here

It would be a great improvement if they were, as it would save us having to come out of the review window, into the question, down vote, then back into the review window. Instead we could just simply click DV, and then move on to the next question.

  • 2
    Thanks for showing sensibility for posts that are potentially interesting but lack the required research to be "viable". The general attitude, and that is valid also for questions, is to put them on hold or recommend deletion. The result is often a waste of potentially good posts for the sake of "sticking to the rules". Where is the trade-off? I still don't know.
    – user 66974
    Nov 22, 2017 at 10:02
  • 1
    +-. I hope adding a new kind of recommend deletion comment is low-effort for the SE team, so it we can see it materialize in real-life. In re: 3, I am really not a fan of other people editing in read here on a poster’s behalf. That seems to encourage precisely the wrong kind of behavior. For answers, if the answer really is helpful and adds value to the questions, then the “rescuer” should instead post a competing newer with the same fundamental response more more substantial corroboration and evidence. That answer will get upvote and the lazy user’s languish in obscurity.
    – Dan Bron
    Nov 22, 2017 at 12:26
  • My previous comment was supposed to start with +1. The rebellious keyboard stikes again.
    – Dan Bron
    Nov 22, 2017 at 12:58
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    Sven Yargs explained why the answer was wrong as did Mari-Lou A. I would have flagged the answer as VLQ, and if I encountered it in the queue, voted to delete, no reason needed. We don't need a new category; the categories we have are flexible enough. As for filling out a low quality answer, that is a kindness for a new user and sets several good examples for the new user. An established user should know better, and deserves only a comment and a downvote and a flag. Taking a new user's answer and writing a better answer based on his idea -- @Dan Bron could you bring yourself to do that?
    – ab2
    Nov 22, 2017 at 15:09
  • @ab2 Yes, I could definitely bring myself to do that. I’d comment under the lacking answer and give a reasonable amount of time for the user to edit it into shape, but experience tells me only a tiny fraction of users respond to comments and even fewer heed he advice given and edit posts appropriately.
    – Dan Bron
    Nov 22, 2017 at 15:13
  • 1
    @ab2 I disagree "no reason needed.". This is fine for random cases when an answer needs to be deleted and there is no appropriate category. But these type of low quality posts appear far more frequently than: 'this is a thank you' , or this is just a 'link'. Yet we have specific responses for those. It would help the people posting these low quality answers to know why the answer was removed, and these types of answers are so prevalent - In my humble opinion if there was only one specific low quality option available, I would say it should be this. Let alone we have many that are seldom used.
    – Gary
    Nov 22, 2017 at 15:19
  • 2
    You can always directly make a comment on the question, in addition to putting it on the VLQ queue.
    – Mitch
    Nov 22, 2017 at 16:09
  • 1
    Yes the problem with this is it takes far longer, and if you are just trying to clear the bank of reported low quality answers, you don't really want to have to be posting comments every 3 answers if you can help it i think.I guess you copy paste the same thing over and over, but if you're having to do that, I kind of think it would be nice if the system did it for you, if such a change wouldn't be to burdensome to implement.
    – Gary
    Nov 22, 2017 at 16:12
  • To go into the question to vote, click the "link" link on the right sidebar. That creates a separate tab in the browser on which you can vote. When you close that tab, you're back to the review queue.
    – MetaEd
    Nov 22, 2017 at 19:05
  • 1
    The ability to downvote low-quality posts has been suggested and declined on MSE.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Nov 22, 2017 at 22:21
  • Well that's a great shame. If we are expected to down vote these types of answers and not close them, as they take up more than 50 percent of the low quality posts in my experience, the ability to down vote really should be a part of the ELU review system.
    – Gary
    Nov 23, 2017 at 1:01
  • Regarding users getting hammered by multiple down votes, as in the linked MSE post, I don't see why the system couldn't just display the voting buttons on low quality posts, that have not yet received any down votes.
    – Gary
    Nov 23, 2017 at 1:04

1 Answer 1


An answer which is so short that it won't be much help (no explanation of why it is right) is still an answer if it answers the question. It's just not a very useful answer.

A new deletion category for this type of answer doesn't really fit with the way the site works. Poor answers that have been downvoted actually help future users. Deleting them is not helpful.

Deletion is for answers which are not answers. They are spam, or comments on the question or other answers, or a new question, or gibberish, or something else which is not an answer.

The appropriate response to an answer which is not very useful is a downvote. This helps future readers gauge the usefulness of the answer.

Beyond that, if you have the necessary rep, we welcome constructive suggestions for improving the answer, posted as comments on the answer, and we welcome edits which actually improve the answer.

  • 1
    That's actually a very useful reply thanks. So we shouldn't really be deleting these answers then, we should be downvoting them. i guess now I think about it, that does make more sense.
    – Gary
    Nov 22, 2017 at 16:16
  • I've just edited my question, interested to hear your thoughts!
    – Gary
    Nov 22, 2017 at 18:17

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