I came across this answer in the First Posts review queue. It didn't look like an answer to me, but rather a comment requesting clarification from the question author, so I flagged it as "Not an answer", expecting the flag to put the "answer" into the appropriate review queue, according to this explanation.

However, my flag was declined: enter image description here

So, does the flag put the flagged post into the corresponding review queue, or not? If not, what's the purpose of flagging "Not answers", if it doesn't warrant moderator intervention? If yes, why was my flag declined?


2 Answers 2


What are the guidelines for flagging posts, again?

I'm not the moderator that handled your flag (they may choose to answer to give their exact reasoning) but the general guidance is in the SE FAQ:

How do I properly use the “Not an Answer” flag?

So, does the flag put the flagged post into the corresponding review queue, or not?

Yes, the flag pushes the post into the Low Quality Posts review queue (this can only happen once), but that does not mean a moderator won't handle it, especially if the community doesn't resolve it relatively quickly. By default, moderators don't see these flags for 15 minutes. In this case, there were only two (contradictory) community reviews in 22 hours, so a moderator made a decision.


I don't think this is a particularly clear-cut case. Certainly it might have been left as a comment - if the author had had the necessary reputation - but it also just about qualifies as a answer, in the strict sense.

It is certainly capable of being expanded into a fuller answer, and perhaps the user deserves that opportunity. For all I know, there's enough in that answer already to answer the question for the OP, so making it a comment would actually be counter-productive.

Perhaps it would have been better to leave a comment guiding the new user to improve their (partial) answer than simply flagging it NAA? New users are generally not fully familiar with how the Q & A format works, or what sort of answers we prefer. Flagging without voting or leaving a comment wasn't the most helpful option available.


The post you flagged contains suggestions addressing the OP's problem. Perhaps the author could elaborate a little and/or use examples to illustrate their point, but overall their effort still qualifies as an attempt to answer the question. You are perfectly free to decide how good that attempt is: you can vote, you can comment, or you can edit the post. A poor answer is still an answer, though.

Perhaps as an expert a moderator might agree sometimes that a flagged answer is too poor to keep. But (in my understanding) the Not An Answer flag is not for calling on a moderator's expertise, it is for invoking their janitorial function. And as a janitor the moderator will only decide whether the post makes sense as an attempt to answer the question. Whether it is poor, even extremely poor, will be irrelevant. Only if it can qualify as an attempt to address the question.

  • 1
    I wasn't invoking moderator's expertise; my intent was to place the answer into the review queue (which this flag is supposed to accomplish) for the community to weigh in. Apparently, the guidance for flagging is incorrect in that respect.
    – mustaccio
    Jan 9, 2019 at 15:20
  • Yes, maybe the guidance could use a revisit.
    – Andriy M
    Jan 9, 2019 at 16:03

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