Lately I seem to be disagreeing with a lot of answer flags like this one, where one or more users think a post is either "Not an answer" or "Very low quality".

Personally, I only tend to downvote posts that don't remotely address the question, or which I think are actually wrong. And they have to be really bad before I think about "flagging".

My general position is good answers get upvoted. Indifferent or irrelevant answers should be easily identified by the fact that they don't get upvoted.

I admit I'm more likely to downvote poor quality answers to "redress the balance" if I disagree with others who thought they were good enough to be upvoted. But that's about as far as I usually go.

It's mainly when I'm dealing with the Review Queue that this becomes an issue for me (as I'm not a mod, that's the only way I know what others are flagging). My question/point for discussion is...

Does the Review Queue encourage harsher judgements? If so, is this a good, bad, or neutral effect?

  • 1
    I think the review queue definitely gets me to do more flagging than I otherwise would, but I tend to skip over lots of questions/answers where the rating is not clear cut. I think what bothers me most is when "Wrong" answers are flagged as "Not an answer" I think only non-answers should be flagged while wrong answers should be downvoted and not flagged. I generally flag for "low quality" when the answer is clearly unsupported opinion from uncredentialled users.
    – Jim
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 4:57
  • Closely related: meta.english.stackexchange.com/q/4446. My own view is that drawing attention to a flag will produce more flags -but the latter are just as likely to be 'disputed' as agreeing with the flagger. On the whole, it's a good thing to have an open debate about the boundaries of 'not an answer' and 'very low quality', since nobody can call those obvious. Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 13:12
  • @TimLymington: Well, maybe it's just me, but unlike Jim above, I tend not to skip over "marginal" flaggings. Once I'm in the review queue, I feel I'm "expected" to have an opinion (me especially, since I'm an opinionated ole git! :). It often happens that someone's flagged an answer which I'd have just passed over as "not particularly good" if I saw it when looking at the original question & answers. Since I don't want to "defend the [almost] indefensible", I tend to agree with the flagger on low quality posts which I'd otherwise have let pass. Commented Jan 18, 2014 at 13:38
  • Terrible questions attract terrible answers. The real problem is why five people thought that question was worth upvoting! Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 8:21

1 Answer 1


Your general approach and mine to flagging and up/downvoting are very similar. The only thing I'd add is that I tend to skip answers that appear in the review queue when I think some of the points they contain are well founded and others are not, especially when it's clear that resolving the issues is going to involve some time-consuming digging.

(Life's too short, etc.)

My own reviewing stats show that I tend to approve about half the queried items (often after a bit of tweaking on my part), and vote to kill the other half. I probably skip about 1 item in 15. I don't have much compunction about killing the crappy answers (or questions): poor questions rarely attract high-quality answers, so their only potential value — that of opening the topic for worthwhile responses — is usually negligible.

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