I reviewed late answers and got shown an answer that only had gibberish in it, no coherent answer whatsoever (first I thought ok a test maybe) and flagged it as spam.

Now I got the flag declined, but now the answer has a correct answer, dated back 2018, with no edits.


I remembered it. because it was quite unusual for an answer and it was my only flag during review.

So because it is strange I thought I reported and no I don't make screenshots usually.

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There's an FAQ on Meta Stack Exchange about when to use what flag: What are the “spam” and “rude or abusive” (offensive) flags, and how do they work? Specifically, this looks like a use case for either the Not An Answer or the rude/abusive flag:

It should not be marked as spam when:

  • The post contains no useful information, such as an answer that says “I don't have an idea how to solve your problem”. Flag as not an answer instead.

  • It contains only gibberish, such as “sdhsgfdhsfdshs”. Use the rude or abusive flag for these cases. See below.

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  • i am not complaining about the decline, which i still think is spam, because it is neither abusive nor rude, but that is why i don't like reviews at all, because the rules don't make sense and the text never fits, i am complaing because i got the false answer to judge – nbk Oct 6 at 13:10
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    @nbk The post you highlighted was deleted. The flag was declined because you raised the wrong flag, that's all. Getting a flag declined is not a bad thing, it's an educational tool. This answer specifically probably should have been flagged as "not an answer" - spam is clearly not the right choice; even though spam is equally unwelcome, it is a very specific band of unwelcome. – Aaron Bertrand Oct 6 at 13:26
  • @nbk The way I see it, the gibberish was only added to pad the answer to the minimum length. The poster appeared to find the answer helpful and wanted to say thanks. A validated spam flag wouldn't be the most educational outcome. I left the canned "please don't leave thanks as an answer" comment, and deleted the non-answer. – Paul White Oct 6 at 14:19
  • @PaulWhite the answer must be deleted and it was, so it was helpful, as of the Spam flag, at that time reading all the descriptions in the frame, i still find it is apropriate to use i in that case. as i find the description of the flag still missleading – nbk Oct 6 at 14:56

Pitching in a day late and a dollar short, and I was gonna do a comment but I wanted a little longer context, and as this is meta, it's usually ok.

There's something to remember when it comes to flags and that is that they are metrics that SO uses to build better algos, and to see where improvements need to be made to their system. We moderators do try to do the right thing, but as you, we too are just people. So we may get it wrong.

So now that I've said what I consider to be a pretty good thing to think about, I'm gonna hit you with the bad stuff. Those algos I mentioned before? If you flag poorly too often (happens more than you might think) the algo turns against you and now you're penalized or prevented from your flagging privileges. There's more documented on meta.se if you wanna go search it out, but it doesn't sound like you're that invested in the minutiae if I had to guess? If you do want to know and can't find it I'll poke too, just lemme know.

The upside to that previous proviso is that it mostly only matters on SO because that one has a ton of flag traffic. It can bite you if you're getting flag blocked here, but that's unlikely due to volume in general.

Just remember we're human, we're happy to volunteer, and we are always glad for meta questions. This is a democracy, not a despocy, and your voice matters! If we are wrong (look, I get called out a lot for being wrong haha), we do what we can to make it right. (ex: If we made an egregiously bad call that cost you rep or got you banned or something, we can reach out to the CM team to see about having things set right.)

When in doubt, in the future, use the "other" option and type it out to us. You can also ping us in chat usually, altho it may take time for us to see the chat and get around (sleep, work, families, weekends, just a few of us)

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