The following image shows an answer posted for the question How to change the density (DPI) for specific applications?

IMG: Answer

The answer didn't even cover half of the line. Anyhow, I flagged the answer as VLQ, albeit being unsure, and to my surprise, the flag was resolved as disputed .

Note: It is not relevant to me which diamond marked it disputed.

I'm seeking input from the community, what do I do with such answers?

If I start localizing the question here, then for the answer in the image,

  • it is factually wrong -- doesn't make that eligible for VLQ
  • a comment you say? -- Not good enough candidate for NAA but I was hoping that a Mod would convert it to a comment so that quality (my perspective) on the page could be maintained and nobody would be devoid of that pointer, so I flagged it as VLQ.

</End of localization>

My question is also about half to one line answers, such as:

  • Do a factory reset. Problem solved

  • Give the phone to service center

  • I think the only way is buy a new mobile

  • Update your app to the latest version. Optionally, some blah blah.

  • Try XYZ app. It works for me -- (I don't bother about them much now)

  • Have you tried <some software>? Always works for XXY brand.

  • Contact their technical support for help -- Optionally, blah blah to cover one to three lines.

  • Clear data and cache and dalvik cache.

Look deeper -- not much to look into -- and you would notice that the pointers cannot be termed unhelpful but some of them are so much universal and vague that I wouldn't ever want to see them as answers, but they, IMHO, are good enough for comments at least.

I don't want to flag them as NAA because that is bound to cause disputed or declined at some point and may create tension. As I see it, we don't seem to have a shared (community specific) understanding for these cases, or may be my search failed me. I hope that this question should reach a consensus where anyone should be able to know what to do with those common half to one to two line vague answers.

I saw the answers to One Liner answers and How to differentiate a “low quality answer” and “answer that should be a comment”? Couldn't find them much helping except the interesting fact:

Determining what to flag and how best to flag content comes with experience and to be honest it is not as simple as the list you posted above - it is not black or white but many shades of grey.

Yeah, fifty shades, I got it.

So, what do I do with such answers? Should I just,

  • leave them alone and hope that somebody else would take care of them
  • comment on them in regard to explaining the quality requirements of the site
  • downvote -- if only it is not helpful, the definition of latter may vary amongst users
  • flag -- that's what I want to discuss
  • or, you've something more interesting, such as the cocktail of the above points?


Related reading(s):

  • 1
    I think that was probably me, but I didn't decline it directly -- IIRC I hit "Looks OK" on the review task. It's probably downvote-worthy, but (assuming that Xposed module works for this) it does provide some degree of useful info. For that reason, I thought your comment was sufficient. Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 14:57
  • @MatthewRead, thank you for the clarification on that flag. Meanwhile, any thoughts on the rest of my question. That would be much appreciated.
    – Firelord Mod
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 16:38
  • I wouldn't necessarily have flagged this answer, but I agree with the other post that it's up to your judgement. You do a lot of great clean-up work. Commenting, and voting how you see fit, is definitely the most useful when it's a borderline case. Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 17:21

2 Answers 2


My proposal for such would be: Flags. Mods can convert answers to comments – and all those mentioned above IMHO should be comments rather than answers. Thus the info doesn't get lost, but quality isn't "downgraded". Additionally, a comment could be placed encouraging to make it a "full fledged answer, elaborating on the background and include missing details" (such as links, backing, etc). While converting an answer to a comment, there's an option to take the answer's comments along.

Even if the original answerer doesn't turn up to improve, someone else might (maybe even the OP if the hint helped solving the issue). It might as well happen that someone else turns up posting an answer based on that comment – and then the original answerer turns up complaining. In that case, tell that one "lesson learned" – do it properly next time, and you've got no reason to complain ;)

  • Out of all the moderators we have, one moderator was last seen months ago, one was seen last month and two of them were active this month on the meta site, per their profile page. Tell me please, assuming that your answer would gather 5 or more upvotes with no opposition from anywhere, how do we know mods would consider this answer as a new rule? Unless they themselves support this visibly, the confusion to whether comment and/or flag and which flag to use (NAA, VLQ or custom message) would remain profound for me and I assume so for other non-long-time users as well...continued..
    – Firelord Mod
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 15:58
  • ...Can you please mention which flag do you recommend to be used? NAA might be declined unless as stated the mods know about this answer and agrees with it. VLQ - don't know how it would be handled. Only good hope I believe is a custom message where one would explain why the answer would better be converted to a comment than being retained as an answer. But that's really cumbersome, given that we do receive a good chunk of half-one-two line no-detailed answers.
    – Firelord Mod
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 15:58
  • 1
    I didn't base my answer on any activity profiles (if there's an issue as you indicate, that's a separate case) – but on my activities as moderator at SR. Hence my recommendation was "flag for mod attention" (last item in flags list), and as flag comment ask to convert.
    – Izzy Mod
    Commented Jan 18, 2016 at 16:01

Izzy flagged this asking for a canonical answer, and I just declined a couple flags on such posts so I thought I would weigh in again.

The length of a post does not determine its quality as an answer.

Yes, it's strongly correlated with poor answers. But some questions only require short answers. Your concern should be whether it answers the question — not with whether it could easily fit into the comment space.

If a question is answerable by bad one-liners, you should also consider whether it's the question itself that is problematic (but again, it's just a correlation).

Beyond that I can't say too much concretely. It's a subjective and, as noted in the question, experience-based determination.

  • 2
    While I can say "yes" to every single point you say in your answer here, Matthew – IMHO you've forgotten one most important issue with those "short answers": Do they contain enough information to really answer the question – or do they only give a "raw direction"? Taking the example on top, to me it's the latter. It might be an answer to me (I am deeply involved with Android) – but to my dad it'd mean asking 2 new questions: "What is Exposed/Gravity box", "where to find" (spelling error intentional). => it's a lazy comment, not an answer. But can be salvaged in this example.
    – Izzy Mod
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 9:53
  • @Izzy But it doesn't become not-an-answer by virtue of appealing to advanced users. Lazy answers are worth downvotes, and with enough of them high-rep users can vote to delete, but mods are discouraged from removing them outright. Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 1:41
  • I can see that for "outright" (i.e. if you just "stumble upon them"). I however see it a bit different when you get to see it for a flag was risen. Especially with multiple flags ;)
    – Izzy Mod
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 7:03

You must log in to answer this question.

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