This is intended to provide information for people who throw Not An Answer (NAA) flags and who might be surprised to see the canned decline reason "flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer", (or some other decline reason) as the response to the flag.

When should answers be flagged as Not An Answer and when should something else be done?

1 Answer 1


We see quite a lot of Not An Answer flags that shouldn't really have been thrown. The NAA flag should be thrown when the community lacks the tools to fix an issue e.g.

  • The answer is asking for additional information or making a comment on the question - we can convert to a comment.
  • Someone is saying I have this problem too/Did this ever get resolved/Thanks etc.
  • Someone is asking a new question.

You could flag these as not an answer but you could do better

  • The answer is a comment on another answer (please use other and let us know where it should go, use the share link).
  • The answer is additional information that should be an edit to the question. We can convert to edit so using other and letting us know is good, you could edit the information into the question yourself and then flag other and request deletion.

NAA flags shouldn't be thrown when the community has the tools to fix the issue e.g.

  • The answer provided is wrong.
  • The answer provided doesn't answer the question.
  • The answer is phrased as a question e.g. Did you try X or Y ? Which is really a hint to the OP to do something.

You have the tools to deal with these: Downvote, leave a comment or both. If you have enough rep and you feel it necessary, you can cast a delete vote.

Additional Information: https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/167632/147520, Can we have an unambiguous, official ruling on what the "not an answer" flag is for?

  • 8
    The second bullet point in the part saying that NAAs shouldn't be thrown when the answer doesn't answer the question contradicts the FAQ:s text, where it says that answers may be removed if they are "not even a partial answer to the actual question". It'd be nice if the FAQ and the moderators could be in agreement...
    – Jenny D
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 11:04
  • @JennyD: I believe we are, it only says may not will.
    – user9517
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 14:31
  • 6
    Well, yes, but you seem to be saying "should not", which IMHO is a ways off from "may". At the very least it's a bit confusing for a relative newbie.
    – Jenny D
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 14:36
  • 3
    Nice post - we're working to educate and promote the proper use of not-an-answer flags. meta.apple.stackexchange.com/q/1629/5472 I'm a big proponent for keeping all the wrong answers online, searchable, but properly down-voted and explained as to how and why the post is incorrect. Just as many learn from a correct answer - knowing what the answer is not is equally beneficial to learning.
    – bmike
    Commented Mar 27, 2013 at 17:48
  • 6
    Great. So don't use NAA if the answer doesn't answer the question (?!)
    – vonbrand
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 0:31
  • 6
    It seems to me the confusion is the difference between "is a wrong answer" (which shouldn't be NAA) and "is not even a wrong answer", which is what I think should be NAA.
    – Jenny D
    Commented Mar 31, 2013 at 12:08
  • @Iain I find that when a comment is an answer, many users tend to steal the answer in that comment and post it as their own answer.
    – AStopher
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 9:18
  • @cybermonkey That's entirely acceptable
    – user9517
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 9:25
  • 1
    What is recommended when the "answer" does not even try to address the question? I am asking because I flagged NAA an answer telling how to list KBs, because the question was about to uninstall KBs. My flag was "declined - flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer".
    – Law29
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 18:44
  • 2
    @Law29 A downvote. Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 21:38
  • @Law29 That's just a wrong answer - downvote it.
    – user9517
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 21:55
  • 1
    OK, so "Not an answer" should not be used to flag posts which are not answers to the question. That's illogical, but no matter.
    – Law29
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 5:12

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