Referring to this answer as an example: https://english.stackexchange.com/a/119687/47377

While the answer isn't strictly relevant, the user has obviously put some effort into researching it. On the other hand, it really doesn't answer the question. As it's a new user, I don't want to put them off by downvoting.

I've come across other examples of tangential answers while reviewing, so thought I would ask if there is any guidance on how to deal with them.

  • I downvoted because it wasn't really an "answer", but I didn't bother mentioning that in my comment because the answerer had already accepted as much in his text. If you're bothered about his feelings, and/or want to encourage him to stay and post real answers, you should probably post a comment there yourself. If nothing else, a link to this question. But even that may never get noticed, because he's an unregistered user. – FumbleFingers Jul 19 '13 at 1:35
  • There's no policy as such. If you think the answer is good, then upvote, even if irrelevant. Maybe you think it is irrelevant but someone else thinks it is the appropriate answer. Voting is intended to sort those things out. However, if the answer is really irrelevant then nominally it is 'not an answer' and could be flagged and removed for that. whatever the work put into it. – Mitch Jul 19 '13 at 12:45

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