We just got some flags on this "answer":

sáng sadsadsadsafsafsafsafsafsafsafsafsa

There were 6 flags, of all types. Some of the wrong ones were from longtime users who ought to know by now what the different flags mean.

The above is not an answer. It is not spam (advertisement), nor is it offensive (abusive / hate speech); there is no excuse for using those flags for this. Spam and offensive flags are treated as high-priority by the system and are intended for something that is actively hurting the site or its users; this post is merely dumb.

The remaining flag type is a bit more confusing. "Very low quality" is for something that looks like an answer, but is indecipherable or requires so much editing that it's not worth anyone's time to fix. The above is clearly not a quality post, but it's also clearly not an attempt to answer.

  • 5
    Thanks for the clarifying words, Matthew! I admit being one of the "wrong-flaggers" on this: I felt offended by the abuse of an answer, "just to be seen" the only reason I could imagine it was made. My apologies for not considering it might raise "alert signals" on the "mod console" this way (I never was mod on SE) – and NAA would have been sufficient here.
    – Izzy Mod
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 13:47
  • 2
    @Izzy That's fair, all of the flag types have a degree of ambiguity. "Spam" has come to be associated with anything unwanted or low-quality too, but SE has stuck to more traditional definitions. Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 21:14
  • 1
    How is this not actively harming the site? It makes the site look like a pile of gibberish. Commented May 5, 2015 at 11:09
  • @JanDvorak An answer written in some non-English language would also fall into "pile of gibberish". Would you still think that it would be actively harming the site (just because the poster is unaware of using English only)? Another established user may very well translate (Google/Bing translate) it into English. // However, the example in the question certainly isn't an answer.
    – Firelord Mod
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 11:54
  • 2
    @Firelord I wouldn't classify a non-english language as a pile of gibberish. Posting "asdfasdfasdfasdf" cannot be accounted to misunderstanding, posting "pouvez vous trouver un erreur dans mon program" can. The former is a deliberate abuse of the site, the latter is just a double non-answer. Commented May 24, 2015 at 12:12
  • 1
    I don't know how well-behaved the reviewers are on this site (and I certainly don't want flaggers to keep a table), but I would rather not trust the Stack Overflow reviewers to not robo-accept these answers, even if these robots can only dispute flags, not reject them. Commented May 24, 2015 at 12:14
  • @JanDvorak I would say that gibberish is passively making the site worse. Commented May 24, 2015 at 17:08

1 Answer 1


Some of the wrong ones were from longtime users who ought to know by now what the different flags mean.

I'm (definitely) not a long-time user, but I feel that the current explanations are slightly (just slightly; no more no less) mismatched with the actual descriptions:

The Very Low Quality Flag is officially defined for (reworded for your reading experience):

  1. Severe formatting issues. The post is not worth salvaging and should be deleted. Like, right when it was posted, and only the original posted him(her)self can salvage the post after hours of hard work. Okay I exaggerate, but such severity of formatting issues does exist:
    • Caps mixed in with horrible use of spacing, fragments of words harming readability, code blocks and blockquotes are misused of such severity that deems the post unreadable to an average user even to a reasonable tolerance.
    • CHECK OUT MY CODE var foo = new foo(); foo += foo - foo + bar + -bar * bar console.log(foo);
  2. Severe content issues. For decent examples, check out Gems From Stack Exchange — Most screenshotted posts there deserves a missle wave of VLQ flags.

The Offensive Flag is officially defined for (reworded for your reading experience):

  • Extreme case! Harsh destruction is needed. The content itself makes it 100% certain of a need of a nuclear blast. Cases such as:
    1. Hate or abusive speech.
    2. The post has more than severe formatting or content problems.
    3. Inappropriate for no matter whoever looks at it, such as NSFW pictures.

Bonus: Shog9 himself has said that "If someone is abusing the site by posting gibberish, flag it as such." This establishes a need to flag "asdf"-like content with The Offensive Flag.

Therefore, while it's true that your linked answer is not SPAM, VLQ flags and Offensive flags were correct approaches to take in this case; Not An Answer flags do not have an official FAQ post on The Meta, however according to their description:

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.

This kind of flags are for anything that fell into the wrong box — and is a question / a need of bounty / comment / resource recommendation that should have been in a comment, not its own post / et cetera. Abusive posts should be flagged with The Offensive Flag or, at minimal, The Very Low Quality Flag.

  • 2
    This, which you linked 3 times, does not support your argument at all. Even if a post is a bad post for some reason or other, it is probably not offensive. The Offensive flag is meant to be used only in extreme cases, like hate speech, or abuse. The question it duplicates says the same in its answer. Your link about VLQ also says nothing about content, just formatting. Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 19:15
  • 3
    @MatthewRead Shog's answer does, however. What else is needed? Commented May 5, 2015 at 11:08

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