I just flagged this answer:

    image of answer by ricbax; text quoted below

Have a look at this article: Unicode Easy Keyboard Layout for XKB

as “not an answer” because it is a textbook1 example of a link-only answer.  What’s worse; it’s ambiguous whether the linked page really answers the question.  My flag was declined: “flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer”.

flag (text quoted above)

BTW, this happened very quickly: within 20 minutes.

Why was my flag declined?
1 And here is the “textbook”: Your answer is in another castle: when is an answer not an answer?, by Shog9.

… Even if the link was originally pointing directly to the most awesomeest answer ever for exactly the question being asked, there's nothing in the answer itself to even hint at what direction we're being pointed in.  Strip the markup, and this is what you're left with:

i think you should take The tutorial HERE! This will help you a lot

Is there even one tiny speck of information there?  No. Even the title of the page being linked to would have provided something to go on, but that was entirely too much work.

So let me be clear: this sort of response is not an answer.  If you see this, flag it.  Moderators, if you see it flagged, delete it.  …

Note that Shog says that this post should be flagged and deleted even though it “makes an attempt to answer the question”.  OK, he was not clear about whether inclusion of the title of the page being linked to would be enough to tip the balance.  But he gives examples of things that should be allowed to survive, and they all have actual, usable information in the text of the answer.  The fact that ricbax’s post contains the title of the page — which is basically just a rewording of the question — does not qualify it as an answer.

  • It is an answer, although not a very good one. You have enough rep to use the link and improve it.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Apr 1, 2020 at 19:29
  • You could have also added a comment asking the OP to improve it.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Apr 1, 2020 at 19:30
  • You could also just downvote it and leave a comment asking for it to be approved by the author. You could also downvote it without leaving any comment. Normally, link-only answers are unacceptable answers, but they are still considered answers. Yes; The contents of the link actually does answer that author's question.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 1, 2020 at 19:37
  • 3
    (1) How is it an answer?  What information can anybody get from reading that ‘‘answer’’ without following the link?  (2) How should I have “improved” the post?  As I said, it’s not clear that the linked page answers the question.  (3) Since when are flags declined because the post could, in theory, be improved?  (4) Commenting would probably not be helpful, as the author hasn’t been here in over a year. … … (5) And I could have upvoted. Since when is downvoting (and not flagging) the appropriate action for link-only answers? Apr 1, 2020 at 19:40
  • Not an Answer flags have always been declined if an answer makes any attempt to answer the question. You should have raise a custom flag (i.e. "in need of moderator intervention") instead of saying it was "not an answer".
    – Ramhound
    Apr 1, 2020 at 19:42
  • 1
    @Ramhound: Again I ask, since when? David and the other moderators routinely delete link-only posts that make an attempt to answer the question. Apr 1, 2020 at 19:44
  • @G-ManSays'ReinstateMonica' - Those answers are typically flagged with "in need of moderator intervention" by users, otherwise they are appearing in the low quality review queue, and we are voting to delete them. Look the answer could be saved with 2 screenshots that captures the information, or we could simply nuke it, I won't be fixing a low quality decade old answer.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 1, 2020 at 19:48
  • 1
    @Ramhound: OK, we seem to be coming to a partial agreement: this post should be deleted and is not worth the effort to repair. (Actually I argue that it’s not really repairable.) Apr 1, 2020 at 19:53
  • Just because I won’t edit that particular answer doesn’t meant I have improved or fixed similar answers like it.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 1, 2020 at 20:29
  • @G-ManSays'ReinstateMonica' - A moderator indicated they believed the answer you flagged was an answer, although admittedly not a very good one, at the end of the day a custom moderator flag should have been used instead. Even that 6 year old question, didn't have a uniformed conclusion, on what flag should be used.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 2, 2020 at 12:17
  • I've just had a NAA flag declined on a link only answer. There is a definite inconsistency betweens SE sites on how these should be flagged, or whether they should be flagged at all. On Ask Ubuntu, link-only answers should be flagged as NAA, there's even a meta post making this request: Please don't flag link-only answers as Very Low Quality. How should link-only answers be flagged on SU? Why isn't there a definitive answer to this meta post? Why isn't this Meta answer being followed Nov 7, 2021 at 15:59


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