The description for that flag is the following:

This was posted as an answer, but it does not answer the question. It should possibly be an edit, a comment, another question, or deleted altogether.

It seems that sometimes the flag is used for an answer that is not correct, as in the case of an answer about the etymology of rest saying that rest derives from the Italian restare.

Is the description sufficient clear, or does it needs to be rephrased?

  • I am not asking because I think the flag description is not clear; I understand the description perfectly. What I think is that probably there is something in the description that confuses who uses that flag, if who is using it does read the description. If who uses the flag doesn't read the description, then whatever description is used doesn't avoid the flag is mis-used.
    – apaderno
    Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 17:31
  • The text for the not-an-answer flag has been clarified
    – user362
    Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 19:58

3 Answers 3


The flag should be marked as "invalid" in that case. While the answer may be incorrect, it is still an answer and (presumably) the community will downvote it into oblivion for being so incorrect.

The description for the flag seems sufficient for me. The issue is that here--as well as everywhere else on the internet--people just don't read.


Downvotes on answers cost you rep. Flags don't. Q.E.D.

(The flag should be marked invalid in such a case. Which of course means that there will be a cost, but to the user's flag weight instead of his reputation.)

  • I know that a flag can be marked as invalid; I am wondering if the description for that flag could not be changed to avoid it gets misused, if the cause of it being misused is what the users read as description.
    – apaderno
    Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 15:01

If the misuse of the flag is caused by the fact the users didn't read the "it should possibly be an edit, a comment, another question, or deleted altogether" part, then what is probably confusing the users who are flagging is the "it does not answer the question" part, which seems to be interpreted as "it is the wrong answer."

Rephrasing the description as follows (or with similar words) could help.

This was posted as an answer, but it should possibly be an edit for the question, a comment, or another question.

The "or deleted altogether" is probably what causes the flag to be used from who want to flag an answer because they think it should be deleted. Removing that part, or rephrasing it could help too. As the only cases where an answer should be delete because it's not an answer are already listed, I would rather remove the "or deleted altogether" part.

In the case the users who flag an answer as not an answer don't read the description of the flag, then changing the description would not have any effect. In that case, there is few that can be done, if not educating the users on how to correctly use an SE site.

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