Occasionally we get answers recommending a product that doesn't fit all the requirements of the answer:

  • A question asking for a video solution, an answer with a photo solution
  • A question asking for a dog-petting solution, an answer with a solution that pets cats.

Etc. What do we want to do with these kinds of answers?


IMHO we must divide such "wrong answers" in multiple categories, which might have to be dealt with differently:

  1. a post that doesn't answer the question altogether: flag NAA, delete
  2. a post only matching parts of the requirements: decide by case.
    1. Sometimes there might be no solution fitting all the requirements, and that's at close as one can get: keep it, even up-vote when sure (when unsure, ignore).
    2. Other times it's just lazyness of the answerer (or a new user not understanding how our site works): comment a friendly hint for the latter, downvote the former, and for both flag LQ. If the poster improves his post, remove your downvote (you can't do that for the flag unfortunately). If note, it gets into the review queue and asks your "VTD" (vote-to-delete), which you then should confirm (given the poster some days to improve).
  3. answers to pet cats on questions to pet dogs may fall into either of the above categories: both animals like to be petted, and in some situations that's the only thing we can do. But remember to not feed a dog mice, and to not send it up a tree. So if it clearly misses the point, and it doesn't match 2.1., then it should go the way of 1. or 2.2.
  • I agree with most of this, but not the flagging. VLQ says: "no amount of editing can salvage the post". This is not the case here. see here – Angelo Fuchs Feb 6 '15 at 11:57
  • I agree with your reasoning, @AngeloFuchs – but if we'd take all comments as "literally advices", that would often times leave us with "no way to go". We should take the spirit behind it rather. Taking literally, that comment is even wrong: If one enters editing mode, removes all the content, and writes up a 100% matching answer – that were an "edit" which fully and perfectly salvaged "the post" (technically, with "posting" being the action of "hitting that button") ;) – Izzy Feb 6 '15 at 12:04
  • I think a DV and a comment would be sufficient. No need to flag this as VLQ. And yeah, technically ... - So the idea behind VLQ is to filter out stuff that is so bad that you don't need to read the question to be able to recognize it as crap. This would not be the case here. Its just the wrong flag (and this situation does not need flagging) – Angelo Fuchs Feb 6 '15 at 12:08
  • see also this discussion on SO: meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/265573/… (I think we should not redefine VLQ) – Angelo Fuchs Feb 6 '15 at 12:10
  • @AngeloFuchs LOL See, that's why I put "technically" in the middle of my comment, not at the start #D And yes: your MSO link were the correct pointer when speaking about questions – as for those you could "VTC as OT". But we are speaking about answers here, where the "close" link is not (initially) available. – Izzy Feb 6 '15 at 12:19
  • Well I stand by my point: VLQ is for stuff that is so horrible that you Do Not Need to read the question. A answer that would have been a valid answer on a different question can therefore never be VLQ. To quote Shog9: "Use VLQ for obvious, unarguable garbage." Seriously, "wrong answer" is not nearly bad enough. – Angelo Fuchs Feb 6 '15 at 14:04

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