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On deleting low quality single-word-request answers established the consensus that single line answers (SLAs) to single word requests (SWRs) shall be deleted, however the highest-voted answer argues that they should not be deleted immediately:

I think that if an SWR answer makes a legitimate but unsupported suggestion, we should give the poster a chance to amend it, with a warning that the window for doing so is narrow (specifying the time frame, if possible); then, if the poster doesn't improve the answer within, say, 24 hours, we should delete the answer.

As already noted in the comments on that answer, there are practical problems with realising this as there is no timed deletion mechanism for answers (by contrast questions can be put on hold). To this, moderator Matt E. Эллен responded:

We currently leave flags in the [moderator] queue for up to a week, once a comment has been left asking for more effort.

However, a central paradigm of SE’s review system is to delegate the handling of such standard cases to users, so that a moderator never sees them. I do not think that having all these answers sit in the moderator queue for a long time is a good solution (and nobody explicitly suggested it), as our moderators are busy enough, the moderator queue offers no good mechanism of organising this, and there is no clear way to get these posts in the moderator queue and only there in the first place¹.

Hence I am asking for a practicable way to handle such answers. In particular:

  • If I encounter a SLA to a SWR in a first-posts or late-answers review, shall I flag it and if yes, how?
  • If I encounter a SLA to a SWR in the low-quality queue, shall I vote to delete it or not?
  • What kind of comment shall we leave on such answers that provides useful and friendly guidance to the author?

¹ Custom flags are not a solution because the respective post could still be deleted in the mean time through the low-quality queue or 20 k users, respectively (and the custom flag will remain in the mod queue despite this, which is annoying to Kit Z. Fox in any case (who was the mod who edited this part in)).
Glossary: SLA: single-line answer; SWR: single-word request; SE: Stack Exchange

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    We could just edit in the dictionary definitions for the lazy users, but I hesitate to make that burden mandatory for our already busy janitorial staff (i.e. we high-rep users). – Dan Bron Aug 4 '16 at 15:16
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    I now think that my recommendation to delete any unsupported answer 24 hours after notifying the poster that it needs reference-work support may be too draconian. It's unusual for more than a very few single-line answers to SWRs in the Review queue at any given time to be truly on-point suggestions. I have no sympathy for answers that list four synonyms in scattershot fashion and define none of them; but an answer that focuses on a single specific (and valid) suggestion may be worth editing so that it meets site standards as an answer. Nevertheless, the vast majority of SLAs are hopeless. – Sven Yargs Aug 4 '16 at 16:52
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It is important to get a hopeless answer in the VLQ queue ASAP because: (1) after 7 days, the answer can't be flagged VLQ; and, (2) long before then, it may attract enough undeserved upvotes to be immune from being flagged as VLQ.

Also note that not all VLQ answers are one-liners, and not all VLQ answers are responding to a SWR.

I sporadically edit VLQ answers from new users into acceptable answers, and then leave a comment explaining what I have done -- it depends on my energy level -- but my cutoff for doing this is -- it depends -- maybe several hundred rep. Above that, I sometimes leave a gentle comment asking them to add a source and link. Some users comply and send back an appreciative comment; others ignore the comment. I've seen some users reply with a comment that is borderline offensive, but so far, no one has done this to me.

Flag any VLQ answer as VLQ, no matter how august the poster!

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    There is hardly any difference between how VLQ and NAA flags are handled, and in particular, the deletion and review mechanisms are exactly the same (except for some rare cases). Therefore I disagree with the arguments in your first paragraph (which does not mean that I disagree with the conclusion). – Wrzlprmft Aug 4 '16 at 19:29
  • @Wrzlprmft Maybe I misunderstand NAA, but VLQ's address the question; NAAs do not address the question. – ab2 ReinstateMonicaNow Aug 4 '16 at 19:40
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    VLQ is for posts that are so incomprehensible that you don't know if they address the question or not. They are so badly written or formatted that they can't be salvaged by editing. Line noise is VLQ. – MetaEd Aug 4 '16 at 23:05
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    @ab2: If we decide that answers should contain references or back-up (or equivalently, that every SWR implicitly asks for references), there is no semantic problem in applying NAA here. My main point is, since this is Meta, we can decide right here what should be flagged NAA for the purposes of this community and we should not worry too much about the distinction between NAA and VLQ, since under the hood, there is little difference. – Wrzlprmft Aug 5 '16 at 5:16
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See: Lots of not-always-useful but well-intentioned answers

A single line answer should be removed even if it's not answering a word or phrase request. It is a comment posted as an answer.

Downvotes and deletevotes are important feedback to the person posting. And they are often the only type of feedback that matters. Especially when combined with a constructive comment that explains the vote in terms of site policy, it lets the poster know what to do next time.

I have been developing a set of boilerplate constructive comments that I use to explain my votes to the poster. I was revising them today when I saw this question. Here is my revised boilerplate comment for this situation:

We appreciate the desire to help, but please consider either expanding your answer or deleting it. We’re looking for long answers that provide explanation and context. Explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Unsupported answers may be removed. (more) (and more)

By the way, I notice that some others have started borrowing my boilerplate comments. Would it be helpful if I put them in a meta post?

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    +1, but I think there must be a better phrase than "long answers" -- maybe "complete answers". We are not looking for length per se. – ab2 ReinstateMonicaNow Aug 5 '16 at 0:08
  • @ab2 The phrase "long answers" is borrowed verbatim from the post notice that moderators can attach to questions attracting single line answers. – MetaEd Aug 5 '16 at 0:13
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    The original text of the moderator post notice reads: "We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed." – MetaEd Aug 5 '16 at 0:13
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    It is a comment posted as an answer. – I disagree with that part. They do not fit any of the purposes comments are for (suggestions to improve the question, hinting at other relevant questions, humorous asides, …) and if they were posted as comments, they lead to the common comments-as-answers problem. – Wrzlprmft Aug 5 '16 at 5:21
  • So, I take it that you propose that reviewers/users should flag such answers as NAA/VLQ or vote to delete them? If yes, please clarify, so that we end up with a clear guideline. – Wrzlprmft Aug 5 '16 at 5:23
  • Some suggestions for your boilerplate comment: 1) I think it would be good to have [edit] somewhere in there (which automatically expands to a link allowing to edit the post). 2) Can you also offer it with block code formatting such that it can be easily copied and pasted from your post? 3) It might be worthwhile to address the case that the author wants to improve the answer after it has been removed. However, this may also be complicated given the complicated conditions under which answers can be undeleted. – Wrzlprmft Aug 5 '16 at 5:37
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Here's my take on this.

If I encounter a SLA to a SWR in a first-posts or late-answers review, shall I flag it and if yes, how?

While using the review queues, I am more inclined to flag SLAs as VLQ and those that don't answer the question as NAA, but sometimes I just edit them to help the new user.
(say, Flag 70%, Edit/Comment 20%, Skip 10%)

If I encounter a SLA to a SWR in the low-quality queue, shall I vote to delete it or not?

I am very inclined to "recommend deletion" if I think the new user will never return.

If the SLA is from a reputed user, I will definitely "recommend deletion" because I'm afraid of leaving any comment there at all.

And also, in some rare cases, I edit to improve the answer.

What kind of comment shall we leave on such answers that provides useful and friendly guidance to the author?

I like new users, I want to help them learn the SE culture. Simply commenting "Please edit your answer to..." might work, but in most cases I've noticed, the user gets very defensive. So, at times when I have enough time, I edit the post for them and leave constructive comments telling them how I have edited the answer and how they can follow that style in the future. In some rare cases, some users may even rollback my edit. But, at least, I tried to help. :)

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I post this answer to distil the other high-voted answers into a clear guideline and also to suggest a more suiting comment:

  • If you encounter an unreferenced answer to a single-word request (or similar) in the wild or in the first-posts or late-answers queue, flag for deletion (not an answer or very low quality). If you have more than 20 k reputation, additionally cast a delete vote.

  • If you encounter an unreferenced answer to a single-word request (or similar) in the low-quality queue, choose recommend deletion or delete.

  • In either case, consider editing a reference into the answer, in particular with new users.

  • Otherwise and if nobody has already done so, leave a comment along the lines of:

    We appreciate your desire to help, but we’re looking for complete answers that provide explanation or back up. Please consider editing your answer to explain why it is right, ideally with references. Unsupported answers will be deleted. (If your answer was deleted before you read this comment and no other answer made the same suggestion already, feel free to post an improved version of your answer.)

    For easy copying:

    We appreciate your desire to help, but we’re looking for complete answers that provide explanation or back up. Please consider [edit]ing your answer to explain why it is right, ideally with [references](https://english.meta.stackexchange.com/q/2573). Unsupported answers will be deleted. (If your answer was deleted before you read this comment and no other answer made the same suggestion already, feel free to post an improved version of your answer.)
    

    ([edit] will automatically be expanded to a link to edit the post.)

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    Feel free to edit the comment to make it friendlier, more informative, or similar. – Wrzlprmft Aug 8 '16 at 13:27

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