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There's a question that was asked recently that has a few issues:

  • It's actually two questions in one (this was addressed in a comment).
  • Both questions have been answered before (as duplicates).
  • There is an answer that addresses the duplication which I feel should be a comment instead of an answer.

Normally here is how I'd proceed:

  • If there's a question in need of splitting into two questions, I'd leave a comment and flag it for moderator review.
  • If a question has been answered, I'd flag it as a duplicate.
  • If there's an answer that should be a comment, I'd flag it appropriately.

For this question, multiple actions are needed. If I flagged it as a duplicate, I have two options (as indicated by the answer I linked earlier). If I flagged it in need of splitting, the result would be the generation of a question that needed to be closed immediately. If I flagged it as both, I feel like I'd just annoy a moderator.

I felt like the answer I linked wrapped up the duplication pretty well, but it was posted as an answer and it gave a little additional information. Personally, I don't feel as if it were enough to warrant answer status (especially since it's subject to discussion/disagreement), so I was tempted to flag it as well. Again, though, this would have spawned another report on the same question that I feel like would just have complicated things for the moderation staff.

In the end, I basically settled on just flagging the question as needing moderator attention and listed the reasons. Was this the proper/accepted way of addressing this issue? Should I have addressed each issue in a separate flag since each one is a fairly typical flag reason for which we have pre-defined flag options?

  • Everything all said... what exactly is the action you'd suggest? It can be closed as a duplicate of both questions and then we can convert the answer. That sound right? – Grace Note May 23 '11 at 17:44
  • @GraceNote: In this case, I would suggest exactly what you said: Convert the answer to a comment and close the question altogether. – Shaun May 23 '11 at 17:47
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Yes. If there are multiple issues, just catch them all in a single flag if you can. Now that you have 600 characters for it, you've got a whole lot of room to do it.

In fact, unless it is bleedingly obvious what we have to do (i.e. a non-answer is definitively a candidate for deletion, the question definitely is a duplicate, etc.), I always recommend flagging the question and listing out your reasons clearly over the standardized reasons. This is my own personal recommendation, keep in mind, but I cannot stress enough how much easier it is on our jobs when you give us more than the barest of hints as to what must be done.

You don't annoy us if you explain to us what you think is the problem. It helps us if you explain. And if there are multiple issues, it is all the more important to be clear on all of them, and not to try and consume multiple flags on it.

If something is more complex than fits on a 600-character flag, or if it is something that's a lot bigger than just needing moderator attention, start a Meta discussion on it. Any new Gaming Meta discussion that is posted will be added to the global inboxes of all Gaming Stack Exchange moderators. This means that this actually can work for emergency notice, too, as it can catch us faster than a flag may.

  • 1
    I was not aware that meta discussions pinged moderator inboxes. That's a pretty useful tidbit! – Shaun May 23 '11 at 17:48
  • Yes, although it must be annoying being a mod on meta.so (if this works there as well) – juan May 23 '11 at 17:56
  • @Juan It is specifically disabled for Stack Overflow and Meta Stack Overflow moderators. – Grace Note May 23 '11 at 17:58

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