I flagged an answer as very low quality.

The flag was rejected, with the notice:

A moderator reviewed your flag, but found no evidence to support it.

The reason I flagged this as VLQ is because.

  • It cites no sources or references. Nor does it cite any personal knowledge or experience. (Having lived in Britain and heard the phrase, for example.)

  • It appears to be wrong. (This alone may not warrant VLQ deletion, but coupled with the lack of sources, I figured it might.)

Is this answer deletion-worthy? I'm thinking it might be, due to the total lack of sources and references.

Or does it take lower quality than this to warrant deletion? And is this the reason my flag was rejected? Why was my flag rejected?

  • 4
    I have no insights to offer about your flag, but I just voted to delete that answer for the reasons you outline. I'm the first delete-voter.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 23:17
  • @DanBron Good to know.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 23:17
  • I have had the same experience. See english.stackexchange.com/questions/350750/…. Not only did this answer have no backup, but it was subtly wrong. I think moderators want to err on the side of generosity, which I think is correct.
    – ab2
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 1:28
  • 1
    I voted to delete as well and it looks like that put it over the edge.
    – Jim
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 4:17
  • 3
    @ab2 I think moderators want to err on the side of generosity It is to laugh. Check out the next question "Please Justify This Delete".
    – deadrat
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 8:40
  • @deadrat As soon as I get 56 more points, I will.
    – ab2
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 8:48
  • 1
    @ab2 As soon as I get 7997 more points, I will.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 8:53
  • @ab2 There's ten more toward your goal.
    – deadrat
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 8:56
  • @deadrat - gracias
    – ab2
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 9:00
  • 2
    This may be an opportune moment to comment that voting for a user instead of the content which that user posted is a "targeted vote" which is not allowed.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 10:41
  • 3
    @AndrewLeach To give him the benefit of the doubt: It's possible that he sought out a high quality answer which he felt was worthy of an upvote. Would that be different?
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 10:48
  • 1
    @Fiksdal Indeed. But I wouldn't want anyone else, reading through these comments, to think that voting for any old thing in order to vote for its author is an acceptable thing to do.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 10:51
  • @AndrewLeach I see. Yeah, agreed.
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 10:56

1 Answer 1


Low quality is not the same thing as wrong, incomplete, or unreliable. An answer that is readable and apparently addresses the question passes the quality test.¹ When an answer: (i) fails the test; (ii) is impossible to fix or would take an unreasonable amount of effort to fix; and (iii) does not fall into another low quality category (spam, abusive, or not an answer), then it is appropriate to raise the Very Low Quality flag.

Consider that a Very Low Quality flag is a flag for deletion. But a wrong or unreliable answer is still valuable to readers because it attracts downvotes. A downvoted answer warns a reader “don’t go this way”. A deleted answer does not have the opportunity to warn readers of anything. Also, moderators have been told we are not arbitrators of whether an answer is wrong. That decision is left to the whole community by way of up- and downvotes. Deletion is for answers on which a downvote would be wasted: answers that are not even wrong.²

Moderators have been told to be sure the reviewer’s chosen flag strictly applies to the post. “The system has to be able to trust the accuracy of quality related flags”.³ There are actions taken behind the scenes which are different for different flags. These depend on accurate flags. Past flags are also used to train reviewers through review audits (not currently active on our site, but has been in the past and probably will be again). The review audit system also depends on accurate past flags.

In short, if the answer is right or wrong, reliable or unreliable, vote it up or down. Otherwise, if unsalvageable, flag it.

Looking at the answer in question, it is readable, articulate, and addresses the question. So the appropriate action would be a vote up or down, not a flag or delete vote.

See also the flagging FAQ.

  • 1
    I have to say even after reading all of the linked posts it seems pretty subjective what VLQ is. Especially since I get (purely subjectively speaking) different responses to my VLQ flags (I guess depending on the reviewing mod). While I get the distinctions to other flags and simply wrong answers, the test is the post embarrassingly bad is by definition subjective. The ambiguity is even bigger, since a good chunk of the posts where I had VLQ declined have been deleted anyhow. Can the current moderator team provide a current stance on VLQ flags. (1/2)
    – Helmar
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 12:14
  • Maybe that reduces time wasted. On side of the people flagging and the moderators having to judge those flags. (2/2)
    – Helmar
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 12:15
  • @Helmar As much as a bright-line test would help, I think it is not possible. The line is defined in part by what's unsalvageable, and that is subjective to a degree. As somebody pointed out in the research I did for this answer (can't find a link), there is always going to be that person who feels strongly that a post could be salvaged by enough hours of editing work, usually by somebody else.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 17:53

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