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I flagged an answer as 'Very Low Quality,' which has a description of "This answer has severe formatting or content problems. This answer is unlikely to be salvageable through editing, and might need to be removed."

The answer was terribly formatted and was full of spelling and grammar errors.

It also happened to be incorrect, however I didn't flag it because it was inaccurate. I flagged it because it seemed to me that it couldn't be saved through edits. It was a 'Very Low Quality' answer by a first time user.

My flag was declined:

declined - flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer

But I didn't flag it for this! I flagged it because it

[had] severe formatting or content problems. This answer [was] unlikely to be salvageable through editing

I guess what I would like to know is, what satisfies the criteria for a "very low quality" answer if what I flagged doesn't? I'll note it's probably the lowest quality answer I've seen in my time on the site in terms of grammar, spelling, formatting, etc.

I'll also note that I haven't linked the answer here so as not to alienate or "call out," so to speak, the user; if needed I can edit the link in.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for posting--I'll be very interested in the answers that come in, as VLQ is one of those flags I feel very unsure about using. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Dec 7 '16 at 16:00
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Sorry, that was my fault. This is an unfortunate side effect of the way flag handling works on the mod side. What happened there is that it was flagged VLQ… and also flagged Not An Answer, which wasn't a valid flag. Declining the one NAA flag declined both flags.

So apologies for the confusing feedback. Your flag was correct, and you just got caught up with another flag on the post that wasn't.

(I think there's supposed to be new functionality to enable handling flags on the same post separately, but if so it's new enough and — if I recall correctly — visually obscure enough in the flag-handling UI that I have to admit I haven't had the chance to properly figure it out, let alone remember to go hunting for it when there are multiple flags. I'll be looking at this more carefully next time, whenever that is.)

This won't have any negative effects on your account though, no worries. Yes, there's that confusing decline reason there now, but only you and mods can see it, and it doesn't do anything to your account's standing or abilities.

mxyzplk covered well how mods generally handle VLQ flags — TL;DR, poke them if it looks like poking will help, signal-boost any poking the community has already done, and/or delete them if it looks like poking probably won't help.

I sometimes let a VLQ flag linger to give the Review Queues a shot at handling it, but when I leave it and when I just take care of it right away is far from codifable, and probably has more to do with if something more important is demanding attention.

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Yeah, so in general there's no fixed answer to this. SSD has identified the issue that happened with this exact answer - it showed up with a NAA flag that got declined - but in general, VLQ gets processed by either:

  1. Random reviewers in the review queue, in which case the answer is "whatever they think"
  2. A mod, in which case it's "whatever they think."

I personally act on VLQs like I do most other flags. If it seems justified (and we certainly do get incoherent, poorly reasoned, etc. answers here and I don't like those on the site) I'll just comment or +1 on other comments to "fix your answer" if there seem to be any indications that's happening, or I'll delete it and say "you can always fix this answer and flag it for undeletion" if I figure the chance it'll get fixed is under 50%. Making that determination is basically a bunch of factors filtered through wisdom however, I'm not sure it can be codified any more than that.

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Very Low Quality flags don't get reviewed directly by moderators (usually). They put the post into the Low Quality Posts review queue. The decline message you saw was almost certainly automatic and not intended to be totally accurate — it just indicates people chose not to delete it. You'll see that response for any outcome other than "people agreed to delete that post".

You have >10k reputation, so you'll be able to view the Low Quality Posts review queue history and see what review actions people took in response to your flag.

I guess what I would like to know is, what satisfies the criteria for a "very low quality" answer if what I flagged doesn't? I'll note it's probably the lowest quality answer I've seen in my time on the site in terms of grammar, spelling, formatting, etc.

We can't really answer this because we don't know what you flagged. Some may disagree it's all that bad; you can check that yourself in the queue history. I see a lot of posts in the review queue history that genuinely wound up deleted; there are almost no "looks OK" responses present, so I can't even guess at what post that was.

If it's really as bad as you described, I would've taken a massive edit-stick to it. If it was contributing nothing valuable, chances are I would've kept it around. But I'll be sparing with deleting stuff unless it's a one-liner not-useful answer. Downvotes are about enough to cover most stuff that isn't egregiously awful.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting, the question I flagged doesn't show in the review history. \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Dec 7 '16 at 16:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LegendaryDude That is interesting. Maybe the moderators handled it directly and that doesn't go into the queue, in which case I'll let them weigh in as the flag-handler. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 7 '16 at 16:04

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