How should we deal with answers, which have some valuable contribution, but technically do not really answer the question?

Let's take a look at this answer. The question (in short) was:

Does anybody has a python code to share ? That would be really helpful. My code is as follows : [...]

The answer clearly begins that the question will not be addressed:

I don't know the R-code; but I can maybe cut through a lot of the academic bull=plop in the paper referenced.

The answer is quite anecdotal and vague, but offers some useful value on the topic. However, it does in no word address the question being asked. I therefore flagged the answer ("Not an answer"), which was disputed. How should we deal with such answers: Leave a comment, vote, flag, etc.?


1 Answer 1


I think the author to that answer has contributed some equally verbose answers in other areas.

If the answer is primarily opinion based I think it best just to downvote if you find it unhelpful. There is the off chance the original question asker appreciates the input whilst the community may not and this at least seems to be a democratic response.

If the answer specifically ignores the question then I would say there is an argument to report/flag it and let a moderator decide to delete it. If there is some vague attempt at relevance or even a chance that the answerer is genuinely trying to be of some help/value I, personally, would be inclined to leave the answer as is and, again, simply let it democratically sink, rather than drive away a new user who is not necessarily used to the 'system'.

I suppose there are two options:

  • Delete a possibly inappropriate answer and upset the user who may be driven away
  • Allow the answer to add to the existing bloat whilst getting downvotes.

For me I think the second option serves the purpose of having a downvote option in case of a conflict.


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