I already read When is an answer Not An Answer? and Moderation inconsistencies. It seems that bad answers are supposed to be just voted down, and indeed a few flags I have raised on bad answers have been denied.

Now I came across this answer and I get the message "STOP! Look and Listen.", although the answer is better then some of the answers I flagged. I agree that there is room for improvement in this answer, but that might be fixed with some editing.

Something like "You can use export MYSQL_HOME=/app/mysql, for details see link" would have been better, but essentially the same. The link is to the MySQL documentation, which is likely to stay around for a while, and Google for "MYSQL_HOME" would find the relevant info if necessary. Besides, the answer already contains the relevant info, the link is just for reference, and references are encouraged.

This answer contains useful information that answers the original question and wasn't already present in the other answer, and probably solves the problem posed in the question.

On the other hand, other answers didn't even answer the question, or were just plain wrong, but they were not deleted.

It seems that long enough nonsense is preferred to a short answer that solves the problem, that form is more important than content.

I see some problems with this:

  • People are encouraged to post long answers, no matter how wrong.
  • People are discouraged from posting factually correct short answers that are to the point, they need to find some useless filler or not answer at all.
  • Adding a comment isn't possible for new users, and converting the answer to a comment doesn't give the the opportunity to get credit for their answer.
  • People who review don't like to be told they are stupid when they accept an answer that does answer the question, and be told they are stupid when they reject an answer that doesn't answer the question
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    Tangential to your original question, but flagging is not a substitute for downvoting. – womble Sep 14 at 20:00

I disagree that this a useful answer. What does You can export MYSQL_HOME even mean? Knowing bash, you can assume this is meant as "add the line export MYSQL_HOME=..." somewhere, but if you don't know it, this means nothing. Even then: Where should I put this line? This lacks all context and is not understandable without reading the external link.

People are encouraged to post long answers, no matter how wrong.

No. The only thing that forces people to post longer then necessary answers is the minimal post length requirement of SE. Your answer should be complete and understandable without external references.

People are discouraged from posting factually correct short answers that are to the point, they need to find some useless filler or not answer at all.

Yes, but again: Only by the minimum post length requirements and the fact that new users are not allowed to post comments and often post answers instead.

Adding a comment isn't possible for new users, and converting the answer to a comment doesn't give the the opportunity to get credit for their answer.

Yes, correct. If something should be a comment, it should not get credit for circumventing restrictions by posting it as an answer. I don't necessarily agree with this comment rep threshold, but I disagree that this should be an excuse to game the system.

People who review don't like to be told they are stupid when they accept an answer that does answer the question, and be told they are stupid when they reject an answer that doesn't answer the question

I FULLY AGREE. This has nothing to do with the question at hand though, but everything with the fact that the review audit system is fundamentally broken. I've essentially stopped reviewing for this exact reason a long time ago. You can disagree with a decision and still be careful in the review, but some genius at SE doesn't understand this and hasn't changed this crap in years.

  • Note that I didn't write the answer, I did the review. While I agree that the answer is somewhat short, it contained enough information to be useful to me. On the other hand, if I had been the original poster, I probably would have read the manual and found out myself. What I don't like as a reviewer is accepting somewhat correct answers is considered wrong, and flagging bad answers is also considered wrong. It seems that you agree with that point. – RalfFriedl Sep 13 at 21:46

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