1

From time to time I see comments like

Doesn't answer the question.

At best such comments are useless, since they do not explain what is the problem with the question - the same point is sufficiently well communicated via downvoting. It is a bit clearer when such a comment comes from the OP author, although they would also do better explaining what exactly they meant and/or clarifying their question.

At worst such comments can be perceived as condescending or as a presumptuous attempt to speak for the whole community (one could soften such a comment by preceding it with something like "in my humble opinion", but this is rare.)

I am wondering about other's experience with such comments. Should they be flagged or simply ignored? Is there a clear moderation policy in this respect?

2
  • 3
    FWTW, those comments are auto-generated when someone flags some answer as "not an answer". As long as that feature exists, works that way, and people use it, we'll see some of those comments. May 20, 2023 at 2:31
  • TBH I'm not sure if you're talking about those auto-generated comments (which actually are a bit longer) or some chunks of other comments I see you've complained about in the past. May 20, 2023 at 2:49

3 Answers 3

16

When I see an answer that misses the point, then I usually reply with something like:

This does not answer the question. The question is "Why are hot-dogs illegal in Arstotska", but you posted your personal opinion why they should be illegal in Kolechia, too.

But in some cases it is just so obvious that an answer is misplaced that "this does not answer the question" is stating the obvious and no additional explanation is necessary.

Many users, especially new ones, often confuse this website with Reddit and have the misconceptions that up- and downvotes are not a measure of quality and on-topicness, but a measure of agreement and disagrement. So when someone posts a rant instead of an answer, then informing them that the downvotes on their answer are not because people disagree with their views but because they are not really answering the question can be helpful.

3

While it is a curt comment, it is a possible comment on why someone downvoted.

While it is probably frustrating to see a comment this curt, if one is certain that it is an answer to the question, as it has been asked, one could ask to elaborate. And while this can easily devolve into an argument, having this option is still better than not having it and being forced to guess as to why a downvote has been made.

3

As Philipp noted in their answer, posting such a comment along with an explanation can help the user understand why their answer is being downvoted and/or deleted. It also serves another purpose: giving the answer author a chance to fix the answer before either of those outcomes occurs.

Sometimes, a user may have misinterpreted the question, or missed part of it. Other times, they may be new to Stack Exchange and not realise that answers need to be, well, answers, as opposed to tangential commentary or responses to other answers. In those cases, leaving a comment explaining the problem can help them realise their mistake and fix it. It's admittedly not that common, but I have seen it occur on several occasions across the network.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .