Whenever we see an answer we feel it does not answer a post we can take to following actions:
- Comment on the post to suggest an improvement. On gaining the privilege to comment we also take some responsibility to help new user to get around with our model.
- Edit the post to improve it. Those edits do not necessarily have to be minor. In case they keep the overall intention of a post we can freely add missing details in order to salvage it. This is not a bad thing, it helps to make the site's content better.
- Downvote it if you really feel it was unhelpful. It would then be desirable you came back to the post later to remove you downvote or even upvote it in case an edit had improved it.
- Do not vote on it if it is a post that just doesn't merit further thinking about it.
Flags to indicate a post which is not an answer should be reserved for clear-cut cases where a deletion of the post should follow (also see What posts should be flagged for deletion?). Keep in mind that a moderator who receives such a flag only has two options: Decline it or accept it. In the latter case the post will immediately be deleted (or converted to a comment if applicable). No more improvements or edits will be possible.
Whenever we see such a flag we expect a post to be something like this (adapted from Meta Stackexchange):
- I have a question...
- @someUser: I think that...
- I can't comment therefore I answer...
- I like turtles.
- aj098243u5in (cat on keyboard)
For a quite nice list of answers that should or should not be flagged see also:
Spam (as defined here: What are the “spam” and “rude or abusive” (offensive) flags, and how do they work?) should be flagged as such.
When looking at the examples given here are my reasons why the flag were declined:
Example 1: This post is not wrong per se but it adds nothing to the answer posted a year before. But it had an upvote, and no downvote - so at least somebody deemed it helpful. In this case a comment telling that we don't like exact contents to be posted twice may have been an appropriate first action. The post is not a good candidate for a comment. I will always be reluctant to delete posts of newly registered users unless they are clearly bad.
Example 2:: The answer is correct but it looks like a copy of the questions's first paragraph with a comment. It was a valid answer but is does not further answer the question. Only poor answers are not what the NAA-flag is meant for. Nevertheless it appears the post was from an unregistered user who never came back - so deleting was not a problem.
Example 3:: This would have been a nice answer if the question was read. It could have easily been saved by adding something on why and since when German mathematicians say "Ursprung" but this sadly had not happened. Since the answer was abandoned with the user not coming back deletion was o.k. (but leaving it would have caused not much harm either).
Example 4:: This is a valid answer. We can not proof it is correct but at least the popular commercial mentioned here may have contributed to the revival of "wuppen" in colloquial German. The OP of the question did mention he is also interested in the revival of this word, etymology was only mentioned in the tags, so the answer is fine here.
Example 5: This is a valid first answer too. It is not brilliantly elaborated but there is no indication why this post should better be a comment.