Answers Moderation

We're able to do a better job moderating the site when we all collaborate.

Moderation is accessed by clicking the Actions link on a question, comment, or answer.

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We'll detail moderation in questions and answers in the following sections. Administrators can decide to pass any vote.

Question Moderation ¶ 

Off-topic questions should be removed, while weak but relevant 'questions' should be edited by the community to increase their pertinence. If we vote on questions as soon as they come in, we will increase the likelihood of a positive result for the poster, and prevent backlogs.

If a new question doesn't have enough information to be answerable, do something about it! Try asking the poster for more information. If that doesn't work, the community should vote to take appropriate action.

Here are the moderation options:

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Remove as spam / offensive ¶ 

  • Requires 5 moderator votes.

Deletes the post and docks the author's reputation 100 points.

Should be a case of last resort. Reputation is too hard to come by to dock someone for a one-time or innocent mistake.

  • Requires 5 moderator votes.

Deletes the question, but does not remove reputation from the asker. If a new question is off-topic, just vote to remove it. Let's get these out of the way of relevant questions as fast as we can.

Please do not encourage this behavior with an answer to the question. A simple comment denoting the question's malapropos placement is all that is necessary.

Archive as not answerable ¶ 

  • Requires 3 moderator votes.

Archived questions do not show up on any index page, but do appear on a member's profile. Archived questions may be edited by their owners, but no others. When the question is edited, the question is re-opened. Questions are automatically archived if they do not receive any answers within the first two weeks.

Merge as duplicate ¶ 

  • Requires 3 moderator votes.

Duplicate questions are questions that should have the exact same answer. Often two questions are very similar, but the person asking the second question has not searched for or found the first question. The second person has a valid question, so we don't want to attack them for not understanding the system. Marking the second question as a duplicate automatically gives it all the answers from the first question. The trick here is that it requires judgment to know whether a question is truly an exact duplicate.

Answer Moderation ¶ 

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Accept as solution ¶ 

  • Requires 5 moderator votes.

Moderators can accept answers on behalf of the original poster. This should almost never be done. In the past, we have seen votes to accept answers where it was not 100% clear that the answer solved the posters question. You should be cautious with forcing an answer to be accepted, because it has a very specific meaning. Questions can be easily cleared out of the unresolved queue by just up-ticking answers. You should only force accept answers when it is clear that the poster's issue has been resolved, and that person didn't understand that they needed to click "accept."

Remove as spam / offensive ¶ 

  • Same guidelines as Remove as spam / offensive in questions.

Remove as not an answer ¶ 

  • Requires 5 moderator votes.

Deletes the Answer and makes it invisible to normal members.

Switch to a comment ¶ 

  • Requires 3 moderator votes.

When someone posts an answer that is not really a solution to the problem, you can vote to change it to a comment. This is typically done when someone posts a "me too" answer, which really contains no helpful solutions. These answers should not be separate questions because they have 'the exact same problem.' Switching the answer to a comment also bumps the question to the top of the activity queue, and that's a good thing for everyone.

Switch to a question ¶ 

  • Requires 3 moderator votes.

Every so often, people come along that don't yet understand how things work around here, and post a question as an answer on someone else's question. Switching to a question turns that answer into its own question. That's a good thing because then their problem has a chance as getting seen! Be careful with this, however: if there isn't enough information to answer the question, it's better to remove it so it doesn't clutter the site.

Switch to update to question ¶ 

  • Requires 3 moderator votes.

This is a very useful tool: you can turn either a comment or an answer into an update to the original question. This may also be used to turn a comment on a question into an update on that question.

Post Status ¶ 

There are three states that a post may be in:

  1. Open Open to editing and answering. This applies to 99% of questions.
  2. Archived Closed to voting and modification. Usually these are vague posts that don't have enough useful information, but that the original poster could add detail to. Old questions with no up votes or answers are automatically archived.
  3. Deleted Gone. Toast. Exterminated with extreme prejudice. But in extreme situations, they can live again! Deleted questions can be resurrected by administrators.

Open ¶ 

  • This is the default status.
  • Questions may be answered.
  • Questions and answers may be voted on, commented on, and edited.

Archived ¶ 

  • Only a question may be archived.
  • An archived question and its answers are visible only to administrators and the original poster.
  • The following are disallowed on closed questions:
    • Voting
    • Commenting
    • Editing the question or its answers by those other than the original poster
    • Answering

Deleted ¶ 

  • Deleted questions don't show up in search results or on any index pages.
  • Attempting to view the question by going to its old URL shows an 404 error.
  • Deleting an answer makes that answer and all of its comments disappear from its question.
  • Deleting a question deletes all of its answers.
  • When a question or an answer is deleted, all reputation associated with that question is removed.
  • All reputation gained or lost from the question and its answers is nullified.

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