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Answers are supposed to provide references, or at least arguments supporting their view.

However, with some low quality posts like the one below, the issue is that someone just provides some statement as a one-liner, with no supporting evidence. When reviewing such questions, there is not really an option to let them know how they should improve their answer, there are only these options

  • Leave it open
  • Edit it yourself (which in such cases essentially means writing and researching your own answer)
  • Providing one of the close reasons listed below, of which none matches

Can we add an answer option to provide information to them how to better answer questions to avoid this in future?

enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ An answer to this question should look at whether we should delete that type of answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Mar 18, 2022 at 10:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does the post notice not do this job? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 18, 2022 at 11:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ I will also say, not everybody agrees whether unsupported answers should be deleted in the first place, so adding a delete reason without first discussing whether they should be deleted would probably be a step too far. I can try to collect the various links to people making statements for and against deleting unsupported answers if you would like \$\endgroup\$ Mar 18, 2022 at 11:34

1 Answer 1

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Those are optional automatic comments. You’re welcome to leave your own, manual comment, and then mark “No comment necessary.” We are not in any way restricted to those, and there aren’t really official “deletion reasons” the way there are close reasons. I’m not even sure we can add to that list.

But bad answers don’t automatically merit deletion. Your example is egregious—I wouldn’t tell anyone they’re wrong to delete it—but honestly, even as bad as it is, it’s still borderline for deletion. I wouldn’t delete it. A downvote is the more appropriate, intended response here—that’s why none of the automatic comments match. And an answer even slightly better than that—even if still fundamentally a bad, unsupported answer—shouldn't be deleted, it should be (and would be) downvoted to oblivion. Note that people can get rep back by deleting their own heavily-downvoted answers—this is a feature. It becomes a teaching moment and it allows someone to stick to their guns if they really want to (without giving anyone else the impression that it is a good answer).

And if they do attract some upvotes, maybe they’re on to something. Some portion of the community is responding to what they wrote, despite the glaring problems. I mean, someone who reads through the answers, is unconvinced by all the well-argued answers, but find one that speaks to them, that matches their gut response to the question, voting for that answer? We can’t really say they’re “voting wrong” there, as much as we don’t want to promote unsupported answers. (In part because we can never say anyone is “voting wrong,” but again, feature not a bug.) That merits consideration. It may be that the appropriate thing to do is to downvote, since the answer really still is bad, but also think about how to actually back up what they’re saying, if it’s a question you have an interest in.

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