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Most of us are (or should be) familiar with this section of the Help Center Page How do I write a good answer?:

What goes into an answer

Every answer must make at least one insightful observation about the code in the question. 1

as well as this section of Why and how are some answers deleted?:

Answers that do not fundamentally answer the question may be removed. This includes answers that are:

  • commentary on the question or other answers2

which is why I flagged this answer for moderator intervention, stating that it should be converted to a comment on the other answer.

should be converted to a comment on the answer, since this isn't really a review of the OPs code

I didn't comment on the answer until after flagging it. Maybe it wasn't obvious that the answer in question didn't relate to the OPs code.

Was my explanation not sufficient? Should I have left my comment on that answer before flagging it? Or is it acceptable to have an answer that merely comments on another answer?

1https://codereview.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-answer

2https://codereview.stackexchange.com/help/deleted-answers

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  • \$\begingroup\$ For future users: an answer that is an expansion on another answer isn't always off-topic. Take my answer here that explains another answer in more depth. Expanding on another answer can be fine as long as it's a valuable answer by itself. \$\endgroup\$ – Peilonrayz Nov 9 '19 at 10:11
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The post didn't in itself strike me as a commentary on first read, and seemed to somewhat relate to the OP - it even had a positive score! "the answer" confused me I guess; the flag would likely have been handled differently if it had said "this is a comment that belongs under https://codereview.stackexchange.com/a/187501"... the positive score still would have made me more cautious and reluctant to delete than in other similar situations with a negatively-voted post.

I have indeed mishandled that flag, erring on the side of letting community votes speak. Sorry!

Mod-deletion isn't something that should be done lightly, especially with upvoted answers that look like legit feedback, even if the answer is rather thin: if it's blatantly delete-worthy and doesn't bring any value whatsoever, then sure. Otherwise, best let the votes do their job.

Posts deleted by a moderator cannot be undeleted by the author, nor by community undelete votes: that's why only an unsalvageable obvious non-answer should be mod-deleted; other cases should be handled by community votes (down/delete as appropriate).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Am I misunderstanding something, or did Vogel612 do what you're saying is impossible here. Pretty sure on another occasion something similar has happened, moving a different users 'answer' to a comment on one of my answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Peilonrayz Nov 3 '19 at 19:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Peilonrayz ok I can see how... and doing this is much easier on a desktop than on mobile. To be fair "a comment on the answer" was ambiguous and misinterpreted - replacing "the answer" with "the other answer" (or a post ID) would have helped a lot, but I'm still baffled by the comment-answer's positive net score. I'll fix this now, sorry for the mix-up. \$\endgroup\$ – Mathieu Guindon Nov 3 '19 at 19:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's all good, thanks for the edit. Yeah I can see that quote being hard to understand, as I did the same a while back. \$\endgroup\$ – Peilonrayz Nov 3 '19 at 19:37
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I can see myself misunderstanding your flag. The segment "on the answer" is fairly ambiguous.


Normally I would suggest commenting and then flagging. The comment should explain the steps for the user to take. This comes in handy when flagging as then the moderator can also see what your desired path is, reducing ambiguity.
I personally would flag a couple hours after posting the comment. But the delta is ultimately up to you. This is as the comment allows the user to understand what's happened to the answer, and gives them a chance to resolve the issue. It also means that we don't just delete a users post1 which can seem rather hostile as a first step.

Now obviously you can suggest the user to comment on the other answer, but they wont be able to. And so my suggestion may seem a bit odd. However you can still write the comment in a way that is friendly, and informs the user of what your desired outcome is whilst acknowledging the lack of privilege.


Please don't resort to extreme methods without trying to deescalate the issue first. It's rather rude to just delete content1 however much it breaks the rules.

  1. Yes you wouldn't be deleting content, but it would likely look that way to the user.
    (Where's my answer gone?)
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Another option might be to suggest an edit to the original answer instead of a comment (unless a more thorough explanation of the error is warranted). \$\endgroup\$ – hoffmale Oct 30 '19 at 23:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ okay- I will ensure I leave a comment first and then try to flag a few hours later \$\endgroup\$ – Sᴀᴍ Onᴇᴌᴀ Oct 30 '19 at 23:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @hoffmale I personally wouldn't do that as I find it to be kinda rude, and I have the comment privilege. But in this instance I think that may be the best suggestion for the user. Thank you, I'll add it to my answer now! :D \$\endgroup\$ – Peilonrayz Oct 30 '19 at 23:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @hoffmale Actually on re-examining the situation I don't think it should be a suggested edit, as I'm unsure on whether Ludisposed made a typo or not. I can see reasons for .keys() and .values(). \$\endgroup\$ – Peilonrayz Oct 30 '19 at 23:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Peilonrayz: I was thinking more of the general case when I made the comment above (since this resolution might be used as precedent). I agree that the given example warrants clarification from the writer of the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – hoffmale Oct 30 '19 at 23:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Commenting before flagging is an excellent idea; the flagged answer and its comments (and a collapsed "preview" of the OP, but no other answers) are visible in the flag-handling UI, so a comment does help putting a flag in context (the comments under the post showed up after the flag was declined). \$\endgroup\$ – Mathieu Guindon Nov 3 '19 at 19:44

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