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The most recent comment on my answer says my answer is not an answer, just information. I admit it contains primarily information, but at the end I do provide a solution, albeit--as my answer is meant to suggest--one I don't think should be used.

So I flagged it, and the flag was declined. Did I just use the wrong flag option, or should I have not bothered flagging the comment at all?

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For the record, the comment was:

not a solution. just information.

  1. As long as comments aren't abusive, there's no reason to flag them. I don't see this as abuse; the user is merely expressing their opinion.

  2. The correct way to handle an answer that you really feel is not an answer is to do any combination of the following: downvote; comment; if you feel strongly that it's obviously not an answer then flag the answer. Just commenting isn't likely to cause anything to happen, so you'd only comment if you don't really care if anything happens.

  3. Comments are "ephemeral"; they can be cleaned up, deleted at any time, for any reason by a mod, even if the comments are constructive and helpful (just to reduce the noise on an answer, for instance). Comments are designed to be a "temporary work area" where people can collaborate on how to improve a question/answer. They only deserve speedy and prioritized deletion if they are somehow harming the site.

  4. Obviously the mod disagreed with the comment that your answer is not an answer, or the mod would've deleted your answer when reviewing the whole situation. I assume they didn't delete the comment because the user has the right to their opinion, and the comments on your answer aren't noisy enough to warrant speedy deletion.

In conclusion,

should I have not bothered flagging the comment at all?

Yes, you should not have bothered. But don't worry about one single flag decline, as it really doesn't make a dent.

On the other hand, getting flags declined on a regular basis (with a very small percentage of helpful flags) is bad for your ability to conveniently reach mods, because users with a large percentage of declined flags have their flags "de-prioritized" (as I understand it) somehow indicating to mods that they're likely bogus. I imagine extreme abusers of the flag system are either suspended/banned or their flags are ignored entirely.

  • My concern is that the comment itself is, for lack of a better way to put it, a "meta flag," and an incorrect one at that, which is why I chose to flag it. – Heptite Aug 10 '17 at 23:43
  • I'm not sure what a "meta flag" is. If other people try to take this guy's word at face value and therefore flag your answer as "not an answer", a mod might intervene to delete the misleading comment if they feel your answer is an answer. Ultimately it doesn't matter what anyone thinks; if a mod has reviewed your answer and it wasn't deleted for being NAA, then you have nothing to worry about. A user expressing their opinion about an answer being NAA has no bearing whatsoever on whether it is truly NAA in the eyes of the moderators. – allquixotic Aug 10 '17 at 23:45
  • At this point, I could interpret your actions as an attempt to silence a dissenting opinion about the content of your own answer. A moderator has already reviewed your answer and has determined (by their lack of action against it) that it is indeed an answer; if that isn't enough to satisfy you, I don't know what will. Let the dissenting opinion stand. – allquixotic Aug 10 '17 at 23:47
  • No, I'm satisfied. I was unaware the answer itself had been flagged and reviewed. I was only concerned about the comment. – Heptite Aug 10 '17 at 23:49
  • I am not sure whether the answer itself has ever been flagged by any user of the site; I'm not a moderator and do not have access to that type of information. But I can tell you that unless a moderator was quite negligent in their duties, they would have reviewed the entire question and read your answer as part of handling your flag against his comment. Moderators never read the content of a flag in isolation; they always base their decision on all available data. – allquixotic Aug 10 '17 at 23:51
  • This is especially true in the context of comments; I've seen entire comment threads, answers, or even questions deleted because someone flagged a comment. I assure you they did not only read the comment you flagged. – allquixotic Aug 10 '17 at 23:52
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    I handled that comment flag and dismissed it for the reasons outlined in the answer. It is an answer (and accepted by the OP as the solution as well). I forgot to also delete the comment when I dismissed the flag, and have now done so. As an aside, there have been no flags cast on the answer itself. – DavidPostill Aug 11 '17 at 8:29

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