I flagged this answer as "not an answer", which is explained as follows.

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

My flag was declined, and the following explanation was given.

flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer

I don't understand the explanation. This answer is not just technically inaccurate or altogether wrong. It is not an answer to my question. It is off topic not only there but even on the site, since it is not about politics. It could possibly be a comment, but as an answer it makes no sense whatsoever.

Could you explain this to me?

  • 2
    In my opinion, The explanation is simple: the moderator evaluated your flag in error. The answer posted on that question doesn't appear to attempt answer the question asked at all. Commented Jan 10, 2013 at 20:43

2 Answers 2


Agreed, the "answer" is tangentially related commentary that doesn't even come close to an attempt to answer your question. I flagged it as well and upvoted your comment, it's a good enough explanation of why the "answer" doesn't really stand as an answer.

I can't (obviously) know why your flag was declined, but I must admit that I had to read both your question and the "answer" twice to be absolutely certain it's not an answer. I've added a link to this Meta discussion in my flag, I'm assuming that if it gets declined again, we'll get a full explanation about it here.

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    Thank you. The answer is now deleted. A new non-answer has been posted there since, and I've flagged it too. We'll see how that goes.
    – ymar
    Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 16:13

I declined the flag, perhaps incorrectly, but I did eventually reconsider and remove the post as a broken window. So a bit of background —

When responding to an answer flag, I am typically looking for "exceptional" situations like misuse of the feature, answers that should have been comments, spam, egregiously bad content, etc. A cursory reading seemed to indicate this was simply a poor answer — a situation preferably handled by down-voting the content so the best stuff can rise to the top. That's how the system is designed; moving on.

But upon reviewing subsequent flags (some with further explanation and then this meta post), I reconsidered the activity and motivation behind the post. Such un-cited claims are often used to advance an agenda or just to push your point of view. There's nothing inherently wrong with voicing a strongly-held opinion (especially in a political forum), but we're trying to do something a bit different here. The best way to curtail this kind of content is by vigilantly enforcing what we consider so-called constructive questions (and answers) in the context of this type of Q&A.

Broken Windows
It’s pretty clear now that the broken windows theory applies to community sites as well. The theory is that minor forms of bad behavior encourage worse ones: that a neighborhood with lots of graffiti and broken windows becomes one where robberies occur.

We really are trying to do something a bit different with Politics SE. As such, I am going to be starting a clean-up effort for culling the content that doesn't quite fit in the Stack Exchange model — stay tuned — so this seemed as good a place as any to start.

Thanks for the discussion.

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