Should you flag answers to Problem Statement Questions, or off-topic questions?

It was brought to my attention after flagging a post, that flags should only be used to make moderators aware of content that requires their intervention.

As answering PSQs or other low-quality (and assumeably off-topic) questions is banable right now, I think that such posts are in need of moderator investigation.

Am I wrong?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ For off-topic questions, one can vote to close as off-topic: "This question is not about mathematics, within the scope defined in the help center." $\endgroup$
    – robjohn Mod
    Jun 20 at 22:57
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ FYI, you seem to be talking about flagging as in need of moderation intervention. There are many other flags; you probably should not flag the low-quality posts as spam/rude, for example (unless they are also spam/rude). I see that "in need of moderation" is mentioned in the EoQS post, but perhaps it should be more visible $\endgroup$ Jun 21 at 2:42
  • $\begingroup$ Does it really matter that much how you flag a post? I think the moderators will eventually look at most of the flags, and then judge from their perspective anyways. Of course you should try to give the most accurate describtion of what is wrong with the post to show the "relevance" of the flag, but how much of a difference does that really make? Honest question. Besides that, I always found that flagging is a somewhat tedious process and in the jungle of different choices, and choices after choices, you eventually get confused about how to flag... $\endgroup$
    – Cornman
    Jun 21 at 4:24
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ Yes, because not all flags go to mods. Examples: Flag for low quality sends it to the low quality review queue where users can vote. A flag for spam sometimes hides the post immediately (I'm not 100% sure on the exact trigger, I think it is once you reach a certain number N of spam flags .) $\endgroup$ Jun 21 at 4:35
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, I see. Thanks. I tend to avoid these queues, so I have forgotten that some flags are handeled by the community. $\endgroup$
    – Cornman
    Jun 21 at 4:36

The following post Enforcement of Quality Standards give directions.

Raise Flags If you encounter a user who consistently answers low-quality (or duplicate) questions over a significant period of time, and polite references to this post do not seem to be helping, please raise a flag on one of their answers.

This means, no you should not flag each and every answer to a question that might deserve closure. You should do this only in the case indicated, that is, flag in case "you encounter a user who consistently answers low-quality (or duplicate) questions over a significant period of time."

The policy is about recurring behavior. Moreover, it is not really about all questions that might need closure, but that is a detail.

To avoid confusion "flags" here refer to "flags" for "in need of moderator intervention". If a particular answer is "not an answer" or the answer post itself is "low quality" the posts can and should be flagged as such (by contrast an answer post should not be flagged as "low quality" if the post itself is not "low quality"). The same goes for "spam" and "rude and abusive" flags but that's likely more clear.


When engaging with users (old or new) who have posted (or answered) a low-quality question, remember to remain polite and courteous. Please do not issue unpleasant orders or leave judgemental comments: we will not tolerate rudeness, even when in the context of a honest attempt to improve the quality of the site.

I hope this clarifies the situation a bit.

I'll note that OP had actually a problem with one of my answers, too, but the other post is rather explicit. Thus, this is not a post hoc justification.


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