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I flagged a post for deletion that was (IMO) low quality being that it was more of a comment/question for more information than an answer. I had also posted onto the same question a duplicate answer that was (again IMO) higher quality as it actually answer the question instead of posing a question. However I posted after the initial answer (I can't remember what my reasoning behind it was).

In the flag I describe the situation as the flagged post was a more of a comment than an answer, and that the answer was clearer in my answer. The flag was declined with the following reason:

declined - this was posted before you even answered

While I don't really care about the declined flag, nor am I trying to get rid of a "competing" answer, I am more curious what to do about this type of situation where:

  1. There are two answer identical in solution but different in quality
  2. The newer question is of a higher quality than the original

What should we do in this type of situation?

  • Moderators should not judge the technical quality of a post. If it looks like an acceptable answer then it's not worth deleting it. Especially not if it was posted before yours. (This could be interpreted as trying to remove competition. Which I understand you're not trying to do, but we wouldn't want to make a precedent case.) – slhck Mar 31 '15 at 19:35
  • @slhck In this specific case, the other post is more of a question. I read it as more asking for clarification rather than attempting to answer the problem at hand. I see now and agree with you that low quality, but still applicable answers shouldn't be deleted. – James Mertz Mar 31 '15 at 19:44
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The post could be easily rephrased as "check if the installation was successful". To me it's not really a question asking for information, but more of a question the author should ask themselves in order to arrive at the solution.

Also, the answer was posted before yours, so technically, if it weren't for quality reasons—and if we were a little more strict altogether—yours should have been deleted as a duplicate. (I'm not saying there's any reason to do so. Your answer is great.)

But more generally, if there are two duplicate answers, one lower quality than the other, simply downvote the other answer. Especially if these duplicated answers were posted within a short period of time (say, a few days), then there's no reason to delete anything.

Note that I'm talking about low technical quality, as in, maybe not explaining all the details or being wrong altogether. Those should not be handled by moderators. Low quality answers in the strict sense of being unsalvageable through edits are of course flaggable.

The only exception to all of this would be a rather low quality or mediocre answer posted to a question where practically the same answer has already existed for a longer time. By that, I mean months or even years. We often see people just scrolling past existing answers, posting their own solution, which then happens to be the same as a previous one. That, in my opinion, is worth deleting, and you can flag it for moderator attention using a custom flag.

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    But more generally, if there are two duplicate answers, one lower quality than the other, simply downvote the other answer. Do you mean to down-vote the lower quality (technical) than the other or the newer one? If you mean to downvote the lower quality one, then I completely agree with you. – James Mertz Mar 31 '15 at 21:30
  • Yes, exactly, the lower quality one. – slhck Apr 1 '15 at 5:53
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    The downvote advice bothers me. To me, downvotes apply only to poor quality posts. if you have an "OK" and "better" situation, nothing should get downvoted, they are just two competing answers. The better answer would be expected to garner more upvotes. – fixer1234 Sep 3 '15 at 20:40

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