Specific question:
I flagged this as "Not an answer" because...well...it is not.
It is just a pale attempt to get some undeserved points. It does not relate to the question. The question had no "lateral-thinking" tag. And the answer was not even funny or even that clever.
Why was this dismissed?

General question
How should snarky answers be handled for questions that don't expect/want a snarky answer?
I'm not talking about comments. Just answers.
I feel like answers like this insult other people's intelligence and just create a lot of useless noise in the answers area. But maybe I'm wrong. If I'm wrong, someone please correct me.

Note: I will allow snarky answers to this question as long as they are at least funny.

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ IMO more realistically, who upvoted it is my question... $\endgroup$
    – boboquack
    Apr 12, 2017 at 7:12
  • $\begingroup$ Related $\endgroup$
    – Ankoganit
    Apr 12, 2017 at 7:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Ankoganit. Thank. I've read that. Good info, but not enough. It's somehow similar, but here I'm talking about a specific case. Where it is pretty obvious that the answer was not exploiting a loop hole. $\endgroup$
    – Marius
    Apr 12, 2017 at 7:56
  • $\begingroup$ BTW, I've had a flag dismissed because 'flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention'. Even though it's a bad answer, maybe one of the mods thought it wasn't bad enough to delete, and that it should just be handled with downvotes if people think it's bad enough (the communal quality check). $\endgroup$
    – boboquack
    Apr 12, 2017 at 8:32

2 Answers 2


Because other users said it "Looks OK".

That flag was put through the low quality queue. As you can see from the history (which you can access with review priviliges, IIRC), four users reviewed it.

enter image description here

Since there was no conclusive choice one way or the other, the system marked it as "disputed" - not "declined", which would mean that one of us looked at it.

I've gone ahead and deleted the answer.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I was one of the people who said 'looks okay' - but that was an accident. My computer was being slow and I was tapping the screen and then it loaded causing me to accidentally click 'looks ok' without having actually time to see the post... Apologies, I probably would have recommended deletion looking at it now. $\endgroup$ Apr 13, 2017 at 12:46
  • $\begingroup$ Thus proving my point: once a mod is on the case, such answers get dealt with quickly :-) $\endgroup$ Apr 15, 2017 at 0:37

Use a custom mod flag.

Standard "very low quality" or "not an answer" flags send a post to the Low Quality Posts review queue and only later to the mod flag queue. If a few non-mods who don't see anything wrong with the answer, or don't check the tags on the question, mark it as "Looks OK", then your flag gets disputed and that's the end of the story.

When I see a post like this - especially if it has a positive score, so that it can't be flagged as "not an answer" - I generally use a custom mod flag:

Lateral-thinking answer to a non-lateral-thinking question - please delete.

My experience has been that such flags have invariably been marked helpful and the answers deleted.

If it's something you don't trust the community to reliably VTD, use a custom mod flag. This can apply to these lateral-thinking answers which get upvoted because they're funny even though they're not in the spirit of the question, or to the kind of "placeholder" or link-only answers I've occasionally seen where someone posts an answer which doesn't (or at least doesn't yet) answer the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Seams like a good advice. Thanks. I will accept this answer if no moderators reply in the next 24h. $\endgroup$
    – Marius
    Apr 12, 2017 at 10:57
  • $\begingroup$ It’s six on one hand, a half dozen on the other. Many many many moderators and high-rep users say that ordinary users are delete-happy, and urge restraint. They say that any declarative sentence on the topic of the question (that attempts to answer the question) is an answer, albeit possibly a wrong one. I get way more flags declined (by a moderator) than disputed (by “Looks OK” votes from ordinary users). $\endgroup$ Apr 15, 2017 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Peregrine Sure, ordinary users are often more delete-happy than moderators, because with great power (modhammers) comes great responsibility and restraint. Many answers that might not deserve to be modhammered still get deleted by the community. But this Q&A are specifically about lateral-thinking answers to non-lateral-thinking questions, which have long been deemed delete-worthy on this site specifically (all your links are from other sites). $\endgroup$ Apr 15, 2017 at 21:25

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