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Trying to be encouraging of new users, how should we handle it when a new contributor has a short but sincere answer flagged as low quality, in reviewing the post? I left a comment to encourage more detail, but feel like pressing 'delete' would be a contradiction/wasting my own time commenting. I don't know about pressing Looks Ok either, so this time pressed skip.

How should we handle this kind of answer from a new user, in the low quality review queue?

from the review queue

  • If that's the one I think it is, I flagged it as NaA since it was really a comment on the previous answer, and not an answer in and of itself. (Which is probably why it was in the VLQ queue.) This doesn't mean this is a bad question, though. :) – DavidW Jul 25 at 21:48
  • @DavidW cool beans. I didn't have sight of the other answer so couldn't see it was likely a comment, though agree it does look like one with context. Maybe per JimChristie's comment flagging for moderator to convert to comment is a good way to go at that earlier point. – Swifty Jul 26 at 17:16
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Yes this is a challenge. There are plenty of technically minded people who aren't great with written words, and their valuable knowledge and experience gets sidelined because its hard to write stuff out when you know it well.

If there's some kernel of use, I'd write an encouraging message asking them to use [ e d i t ] to expand a specific point, maybe giving some kind of lead or prompt.

A link to the [ t o u r ] sometimes helps too, but they may simply see a wall of text and not read it.

In this specific case, it was a reply about the process with a suggestion of a better idea, so I converted it to a comment on the most-likely answer.

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My standard process for evaluating items in the VLQ queue is basically:

1) If it's spam, rude, etc. then delete it.
2) If it's not an answer and there's very little content, comment and delete.
3) If it is at least an attempt at an possible answer, then try and salvage it.
3a) If it's not an answer, but someone has put a lot of work into it, try to get them to convert it to its own question, or adapt it appropriately.

(Being used to higher-volume sites, where a lot more junk comes in, I don't normally flag for moderator attention to convert a comment-as-answer to a comment. If the mods here wish, I can do that here.)

Mostly trying to salvage a potential answer - at least initially - consists of leaving a comment trying to suggest how the answer could/should be improved. Include a summary of the link, add the reason for a suggestion, provide a source for a fact, those kinds of things.

If the primary problem is spelling, images added as a link, formatting or ALL CAPS, I'll usually just edit and fix that.

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    We've had 57 flags in the last month. That's less than two per day. I think you're safe to flag them to convert to comment. :) – jimchristie Jul 26 at 14:18

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