While clearing up some obsolete tags I recently flagged an answer as "Not An Answer". The answer is a link only answer posted by the asker.

The flag was declined with the following message:

declined - answering own question, this is permissible. may need an edit however

How should I edit this question to improve the quality? I'm not familiar with the technology nor do I know which exact part of the link helped the OP. Should I leave it and just hope that the OP comes back and makes the necessary tweaks?

  • 1
    Hmm. OP is still (kind of) around "Last seen Sep 29 at 21:40". I would just leave it for the OP to edit.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Oct 10, 2016 at 19:44
  • We have a huge number of questions with no disposition. We don't know if there is even still a problem. There is value in having the OP close the loop on the question, even if that doesn't include a clear description of the solution. So even if the OP just posts, "I solved the problem", I let it go as an answer because it documents the disposition and lets people know that solutions are no longer required. However, I suggest in a comment that it would be helpful to others if they could add an explanation of what the solution was. (Cont'd)
    – fixer1234
    Oct 11, 2016 at 9:11
  • If they provide any useful information, that's gravy, even if it is a low quality answer. If the question can't be definitively solved without OP input, they don't explain their solution, and whatever they post indicates that the problem can no longer be replicated, that may mean that the whole thread is useless, so it may be a candidate for closure.
    – fixer1234
    Oct 11, 2016 at 9:14
  • 1
    The real question here is: if it wasn't a self answer, would the moderator delete it?
    – Braiam
    Oct 15, 2016 at 20:39
  • Good question, I have the feeling that they would.
    – Burgi
    Oct 16, 2016 at 1:03
  • 1
    The answer was deleted.
    – Braiam
    Oct 19, 2016 at 0:23
  • Yes I did notice that.
    – Burgi
    Oct 19, 2016 at 7:52

1 Answer 1


You cover several topics:

I recently flagged an answer as "Not An Answer"

This flag should be used only for post which doesn't even try to answer the question (asking for clarification; commenting another answer; totally different topic...).
I've also learned it having a few of my flags refused. Low quality answers could be voted down, but they're still answers

How should I edit this question to improve the quality?

Link only questions in general can be improved either by giving some context (e.g. if the link points to a software), either quoting its relevant parts.

I'm not familiar with the technology

Then don't improve it:), we have experts on different topics, nobody can be expert of everything. Hope that somebody with the required skill, or the OP will improve it.

  • I wanted to flag it as low quality but that option had disappeared from my flag list. It might be a time thing.
    – Burgi
    Oct 11, 2016 at 9:34
  • "low quality" flag is available only for users without enough reputation for voting to close on questions, and for answers there is something similar in the review queue, but in general it doesn't exist Oct 11, 2016 at 10:24
  • 4
    This MSE post seems to indicate that answers that only point somewhere else with no additional information count as NAA.
    – Ben N
    Oct 11, 2016 at 13:14
  • @BenN somewhere else with an expired link too... :-) BTW below there are different answers with commandlines, links to video, a whole thread with a little clue about what helped the OP. Probably netsh winsock reset catalog and netsh int ip reset reset.log... Is it ethically right to add this and some links as answer now?
    – Hastur
    Oct 12, 2016 at 22:09
  • 1
    @BenN: the tricky part with marking as NAA is that answers aren't put on hold, but deleted. I agree that link-only answers are low quality ones and they should be discouraged, although I don't think those with useful links should be removed from the site. Unfortunately this aspect isn't covered in the post you've referred to. Oct 13, 2016 at 12:24

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