I know it's rather rare but sometimes answers are posted that don't answer the question that's being asked. What exactly should be done with these answers? I mean technically they are answers since they are a bit more than a comment but they aren't wrong or low quality.. they just deal with something completely different.

As far as I know, NAA flags should only be used on answers that really are no answers. What exactly can I do if I see a post like this? (I feel like downvoting won't do too much but of course I'll do it anyways)

  • 5
    I disagree about them being rare!
    – Flyto
    Commented Sep 12, 2014 at 8:35

1 Answer 1


If an answer doesn't answer the question being asked currently, then it's not an answer.

For example:

Q: Why is the sky blue?

A: Rainbows are colorful because of refraction.

This is "Not an answer", because it doesn't address the current question. It may be tangentially related to the question, but it still doesn't matter. Just because it could be a correct answer somewhere else doesn't mean it's relevant here. It should still be flagged and deleted.

An answer that attempts to answer the right question but does so incorrectly should not be flagged, but rather should be downvoted.

  • 2
    Yep, I agree. Sometimes that's rather hard to tell, though, so when in doubt, don't flag.
    – Frank
    Commented Sep 10, 2014 at 13:12
  • 8
    I agree with Strix, and I feel there is one addendum: Answering Intent. I'd post that as a separate answer but I can't think of a good example. Essentially, if the question asks how to solve X (which is caused by underlying problem Y), a solution for Y would be totally valid as an answer, even if it doesn't address the listed question specifically. Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 3:00
  • Or, if an answer contains an answer and extra, irrelevant information, edit out the useless parts.
    – Batophobia
    Commented Sep 12, 2014 at 18:28
  • 2
    It's interesting to see the different ways in which various SE communities view the NAA flag. Over on SO an NAA flag would be inappropriate as they interpret the definition differently. If it answers a question, on SO it's an answer. I'm not suggesting Arqade adopts that policy, but over on SO this would probably be a VLQ or a custom flag, so those are likely also applicable here too. @RavenDreamer Sounds like you're referring to an XY Problem that someone's managed to see the real answer to.
    – JonK
    Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 7:24
  • 1
    So for Q: Why is the sky blue?... A: The ocean is blue because it reflects the sky. is NAA, while A: The sky is blue because of the fairy dust in it is downvote for answering the question, but incorrectly. Would you agree?
    – corsiKa
    Commented Sep 19, 2014 at 16:27
  • 1
    You failed to provide an answer for why the sky is blue. I am bummed out.
    – user28015
    Commented Sep 21, 2014 at 2:25

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