9

Every now and then, someone posts a short answer along the lines of

Use module [X][1].

[1]: [appropriate link]

I've done so myself at times. These answers are sometimes flagged as low quality, probably due to how short they are. In a recent case, someone has commented that "link only answers" can become invalid if the linked page changes. This comment also has an up vote. While that can be true, in the case of modules, the answer is sometimes literally just "Use this module".

For the fictional question "How do I add weights to flags?" and the equally fictional module "Flag weights", the "best" answer is probably just to inform the OP that there is a module that performs the exact and narrow task that is being asked for.

It's obviously different for some of the more complex modules, say Views, which isn't just "install it and it works" because they require significant configuration.

While I understand that the flags are not going to change, I'm wondering if we really should consider these simple answers "low quality" when reviewing them?

10

If the answer really is just

Use module [X][1].

[1]: [appropriate link]

Then yes, that should be flagged as Very Low Quality because, well, it is very low quality.

Linking to a module as an answer is itself not a problem, though. The most important part, IMO, is that the answer explains how the module will solve the OP's problem.

In many cases the description of the module from the page on d.o does that nice and concisely, so just copy-pasting that into a blockquote will usually suffice. But if it doesn't, I don't think it's too much to ask that the answerer explain how they know foo module is going to solve bar problem.

Taking Flag Weights as the example, this is the snippet I'd expect to see in the answer:

This is a very simple module that adds a 'weight' field to the tables already used by the excellent Flag module.

This weight can then be used to provide ordering of flagged items. This module also provides a Views field which can be used to sort flagged items.

Nice and clear, straight to the point, and leaves no doubt as to how this module will solve the OP's specific problem.

  • +1. So is the appropriate action then to down vote answers without the relevant information in the answer? The low quality flags suggests the answer may be unsalvageable, which is hardly the case when the quote is all that's missing. – Letharion Jan 22 '14 at 10:50
  • Yes that's a much better way of putting it actually. Downvoting is appropriate, as is editing the answer to include the module description yourself ;) We're not going to be able to stop the flags showing up completely, as the system raises them for auto-discovered low quality content. If someone raised a low-quality flag on such an answer I don't think I'd decline it, because strictly speaking they're right (even if the best outcome would be for them to edit the answer) – Clive Jan 22 '14 at 10:54
  • @Clive sometimes best outcome is to flag - editing when editor only guesses how link solves the issue, but does not know, is not good. Not in a simple cases like Flag Weights, of course, but there are many more complicated ones, too. – Mołot Jan 23 '14 at 9:51
  • it would be nice when flagging to add a link to this answer to the user will know how he can improve his post. – magdmartin Jan 29 '14 at 17:18
6

The text on the VLQ flag pretty much says is all:

This question/answer has severe formatting or content problems. This question/answer is unlikely to be salvageable through editing, and might need to be removed.

In other words, if you are flagging this you think the moderator should delete it.

The link-only answers that recommended module can be salvaged. In general, adding an excerpt from the project page will turn this from a bad answer into a decent one.

I typically decline these for this reason, and then edit in an excerpt.

See also Is the Very Low Quality flag too ambiguous?

  • Notice that an edit to the post flagged with as VLQ will automatically dismiss the flag as disputed. – kiamlaluno Jan 22 '14 at 15:47
  • @kiamlaluno Yeah, it says that, but I have seen instances where it doesn't always happen. It could be with just the AVLQ flags. There is a post on MSO about this somewhere. – mpdonadio Jan 22 '14 at 15:50
  • It doesn't happen with the automatic flags, but it happens with the VLQ cast from users. – kiamlaluno Jan 22 '14 at 20:49
  • It seems they are now automatically dismissed as helpful: drupal.stackexchange.com/admin/posts/100804/show-flags. – kiamlaluno Jan 23 '14 at 7:04
  • @kiamlaluno Hmmm. It could be the presence of other flags, too, that cause them not to be dismissed. – mpdonadio Jan 23 '14 at 12:31
  • I take it was dismissed because my edit even reading here. – kiamlaluno Jan 23 '14 at 12:42

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