I've been thinking about doing this for a while now, and this question and answer got me thinking I should start doing it.

As @L.Dutch stated:

Not all users, sadly, stitch to the "answer only well asked questions" principle. As soon as one of these writes an answer, editing the question becomes more difficult.

So I am thinking about flagging the following on such answers: enter image description here

For those that cannot see the above image: It illustrates the flagging of an answer as "in need of moderator intervention" with a description stating "Question was underdeveloped and should not have been answered yet."

Is this okay for me to do? Will these flags be declined? Should I even bother?

Maybe we could start a movement in Worldbuilding.SE to help increase both question and answer quality this way!

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ No. You and four other people are supposed to close the question. It's not in need of moderator attention, it's (I assume you feel) should be deleted altogether, which is not an answer, however, that's likely to be declined. So no, don't bother. Increase question and answer quality (aka: signal to noise) with up, down, and close votes. Increase readability with edits. You and just one mod don't get the sole votes on content. $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    Oct 25, 2019 at 2:01
  • $\begingroup$ Why does this comment feel passive aggressive $\endgroup$
    – overlord
    Oct 25, 2019 at 2:17
  • $\begingroup$ Because it is. Sorry, don't take it personal. It's directed at the user base at large and their failure to keep irritating posts off the HNQ. - I assume you cast close votes on such questions? $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    Oct 25, 2019 at 2:22
  • $\begingroup$ I'm afraid that, if taken too far, this could result in hyper-specialization of the forum, which somewhat defeats the purpose of world building for casual purposes. $\endgroup$
    – Snowshard
    Nov 4, 2019 at 19:29

2 Answers 2


First of all, please be aware that moderators are volunteering their free time for handling exceptions that the community cannot handle.

Based on the above, raising tons of flag is not likely to please any moderator.

Clarified this, what do you expect a moderator to do with such a flag? Is that an exception? Is it something that the community cannot handle?

From time to time I drop a reminder to answer only well asked question, but as a moderator I am not willing to do much more, unless really needed. A mod's broom can wipe out any answer, but that would be based on the moderator's personal evaluation, while the community as a whole can be more persuasive, through downvotes, non upvotes, reviews and comments.

So, if a moderator intervenes in handling matters that the community could handle on its own, is actually depriving it from a learning and reflection moment.

Long story short: don't flag answers to poorly asked questions for mod attention, but pick one or more among

  • downvotes,
  • non upvotes,
  • reviews
  • comments.
  • $\begingroup$ I knew there was a chance it might be more complicated than I thought. I'm glad I asked this as a question first rather than going off on my own agenda. $\endgroup$
    – overlord
    Oct 22, 2019 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ From this, I think the best approach might be downvoting, and then putting an explanation as a comment. For example "Downvoting answer because question was underdeveloped and should not have been answered yet." $\endgroup$
    – overlord
    Oct 22, 2019 at 15:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @overlord I've in the past downvoted answers on questions I felt were not on-topic or otherwise in need of closure. Its hard to keep up, I support more people doing this. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Oct 22, 2019 at 16:29
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Just please, when you downvote: explain why you're downvoting. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Oct 23, 2019 at 14:55

This is a kind of tossing the baby out with the bathwater kind of solution.

I appreciate wanting good questions, but Flagging and calling in the Mods is not the best way to get them.

First of all, this is a community and the community really gets to decide what is a good or fully baked question. The mechanism is provided in the form of Downvotes and comments. The questions and answers aren't going to magically improve if you do not give a good reason why you think they are bad.

Second, sometimes you may think a question is bad or underdeveloped, but someone else may disagree. I have answered questions that may have 1 or 2 vote to close on them because I happen to think the question is just fine. To me, the question was understandable and did not meet criteria for being closed. Even if I can see the point other VTC's are making, I may not agree that it is so bad as to be closed. In those cases, if I think I can produce an answer that meets what the OP wants, I will answer the question. Let the Upvotes and downvotes fall where they may. Comment please if you downvote. Then I can acknowledge the point you are making and maybe make a rebuttal.

The method of flagging the Mods does a couple of things we don't want. First of all, it puts an extra burden on people who are graciously volunteering to handle the difficult, sometimes the impossible, and all too often the just plain weird on behalf of the rest of us. To throw the problem of a half baked question at them is not a great use of the resource. Second, even if they were inclined to nuke the half baked questions, moderator intervention sends the wrong impression to new users. It tells the newbie that unless you write a perfect question, don't bother. That is the absolute worst thing to happen. If the new user gets a couple of downvotes and good comments, that user will learn how to write a question, and can modify or re-ask the question to better effect.

If you have the ability to vote to close, be absolutely certain that you comment. Give the OP a chance to improve. That is how we get better questions.

TLDR: the nuke option is not the best. Flag the offensive and such, but not a porr question and answer. Use the other methods out there. And please, please, please, if you downvote or VTC, leave a comment. I'm not always great about this, but I'm striving to be better.


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