Please clarify what can be done by people with low reputation points? I'm questioning about answers which don't answer the question, not questioning if the math is correct in these posts. Some of these posts are upvoted https://math.stackexchange.com/a/679047/85079.

I was apprised "declined - flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer."

I read http://meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/4731/dont-flag-wrong-answers and http://meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/4731/dont-flag-wrong-answers. The answer is to downvote? I'm loath to downvote because it can be loathsome to people.

The math is right, but because the two sentences comment on another way and not my questions 1-3, ergo it should be a comment.

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    $\begingroup$ Nothing. The second answer seems fine. It is perhaps not what you wanted, but there is nothing wrong with it. The first answer is fine as well, it was probably posted since the question was answered in the comments, and if there are no (upvoted) answers, it will keep periodically popping up in the front page. In general, if you encounter answers that are not really answers, it would be best to flag them as "it is not an answer" and a moderator could then turn them into comments instead, but I would expect this flag would be declined in the two examples you suggest. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ (To illustrate one of the points in Carl Mummert's answer: Do not use "modus operandi" or "ergo".) About your latest edit: That an answer is short does not mean it should be a comment instead. You are asking whether to flag or downvote a post because its length "feels" like that of a comment. That seems an even worse reason than your explanations before the edit. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 17:39
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    $\begingroup$ @AndresCaicedo "worse"? i clarified my post. that's not what i signified. please rectify "Ergo"? i use it because it's short. $\endgroup$
    – user53259
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 8:02
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    $\begingroup$ "So" is even shorter. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 8:07
  • $\begingroup$ @gerrymyerson but i want to signify 'as a consequence'? $\endgroup$
    – user53259
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 8:09
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    $\begingroup$ So?${}{}{}{}{}$ $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 8:11
  • $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson i don't understand. $\endgroup$
    – user53259
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 8:16
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    $\begingroup$ You want to signify, "as a consequence". "So" signifies "as a consequence". So? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 11:38

2 Answers 2


In this case, I think that the answers are genuine attempts to answer the question. One difficulty is that the questions are stated in an manner that is very unclear, to the point that it is not even clear what is being asked.

For example, in https://math.stackexchange.com/q/676630/630 it is very unclear what you are asking. Only after actually looking at Abbott's Understanding Analysis did I realize that the text in the question that appears to be written by you is actually a direct quote from the textbook, but not marked as a quote in any way (!).

In general my impression of the question is very similar to the answer at http://meta.math.stackexchange.com/a/12922/630 . My advice is to:

  • Make your questions more clear and direct - preferably, write just one very clearly stated question in a post, and wait for a clear answer before posting follow up questions.

  • Use quotations much more sparingly - ideally just one brief, clearly marked quotation per post.

  • Ask about the mathematics, not about the exact wording of some particular source - before you ask why a particular proof was worded in a particular way, make sure you can prove the result yourself. So in the linked question, you could have first just asked "How do we prove that if $(b_n) \to b$ and $b >0$ then $(1/b_n) \to 1/b$". That is a genuinely mathematical question that is likely to get good answers.

  • Use ordinary conversational mathematical English.

  • $\begingroup$ Shouldn't "more clear" be "clearer"? Or does the scope of the "more" include the "direct" somehow (in which case "clearer and more direct" would be better, I suppose)? :-) $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 16:46

Comment and/or vote down if the answer is wrong. Users with sufficient reputation can vote to delete an answer. Users without sufficient reputation can flag as "very low quality" if that applies. However, flagging as "not an answer", is often misused to mark an incorrect answer.

From this answer on MSO:

Not an Answer flags can be seen by 10k users whom can further flag the post or vote to delete if permissions allow. They are automatically dismissed if the answer gets deleted at any point, but otherwise require a moderator to dismiss.

In my opinion, these flags should be used for a post which should have been an edit, a comment, or another question, or a post which should be deleted. Reviewers and moderators should not need to make an assessment of the correctness of an answer when reviewing these flags.


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