While sweeping the review queues, more than twice I've found answers that already have mod comments giving the user guidelines on how to improve their answer (superb work of the mod team btw!). Example.

Now, I don't really know what to do with these answers. None of the options clearly apply:

  • Looks OK: lol no, it doesn't look OK! But a mod already pointed that out :P
  • Edit: no way, usually, to edit answers like the one above into something meaningful, without totally rewriting and adding my own thoughts and info (which would be like writing a new answer, no point in that).
  • Delete: this would be a viable option if time passes and the user does not acknowledge the mod's comment and / or doesn't edit their answer. However, I'm not a fan of deleting posts barely 1 day old (downvotes are for something).
  • Skip: this is what I'm using, but then it doesn't count as a review :(

So... what am I supposed to do?

  • 2
    In this particular case the OP is recorded as visiting the site four hours after the OP posted the comment so I think you can assume the OP has had an opportunity to act. But in general you raise an interesting question to which I do not have an answer, perhaps others can help us.
    – mdewey
    Aug 4 '17 at 12:29


Delete: this is the option if time passes and the user does not acknowledge the community's comments and / or doesn't edit their answer.

The long answer:

There is no right or wrong answer.

Reputation & Moderation

At Stack Exchange, we believe moderation starts with the community itself, so in addition to all users gaining privileges through reputation earned, each site has moderators elected through popular vote.

The "popular vote" hasn't happened yet, since we are in beta, and the community just has pro tempore moderators. But moderators are just "regular guys" with access to the moderator tools. Moderators agree to abide the moderator agreement but they don't go through any kind of special training or "moderator bootcamp" to be able to tell "right from wrong", so to speak.

Also, almost every action can be undone and you can flag for moderator help in whatever you need. I have closed questions I thought were off-topic and then people made me understand a different point of view, so I reopened those questions as a result.

So all that goes to say:

  • You should do what you personally feel helps building the Spanish.se that you want to have.
  • Don't be too afraid of being wrong/causing harm.

I have found myself there too, specially after being given "moderator powers responsibilities", and I tend to err on the side of "these people are new, give them time, be nice, etc." Thus said, I think that experience has proven that this is not usually the case and these posts are almost never improved.

I think (especially given those four options) that you should vote to delete. All of the other options seem to be inappropriate and the only thing preventing you to vote to delete is that you want to give additional time (and help) to this user to understand how to answer properly on the stack, come back, and improve their post (which is by the way commendable and laudable).

You also might want to downvote poor answers and, especially, comment to give additional help about what is wrong with the post and what can be improved.

Moderators should address the delete flags (effectively deleting these low quality contributions or comments posted as answers) and, shall this user come back and address the changes to improve their post, they can flag for moderator attention to request moderators to undelete their post (which should be just a learning experience, specially for new members).

Otherwise these low quality contributions would be longing there eternally, with no one wanting to cause harm by deleting them (which paradoxically will cause harm to the site and all users). We should not sacrifice the quality of the content by trying not to be "too rude" to people. As you point out, after all most of these post already have comment-links with support information about how to improve contributions and help understanding the philosophy of the site.

We have a friendly community, we are being friendly and polite to all contributors, and users should not take it personally when something is pointed out about their contributions, especially low-quality ones. All users receive from time to time comments, even in really good answers, noting things that could be improved, "missing cases" or addressing suitability issues due to regional differences, for example. It should not be a big deal.

Don't forget that you can find some templates to give user advice about low quality contributions in out meta-post Lista de comentarios útiles para el sitio.

Thank you, and keep the great work.


To add to Diego's comprehensive and extremely useful answer...

We mods tend to leave comments in such posts as a first step of our action. Trusted users are granted the vote to delete privilege. Once three of those are cast, the post is deleted. Moderators also have this privilege, only that their vote is binding, so whenever we vote to delete, it happens immediately. So leaving a comment is our way to say "hey, we should be deleting this but let's give it more time".
Also, out of late Diego and me have come to the consensus of manually flagging ourselves such posts so that they appear in our flag queue (a page with the list of flags) so that it is easier to reach. We normally combine ourselves in a way that if one flags, the other one reviews it and eventually removes the post.

Following what has been described in Usuario sin registrar (con 1 punto de reputación) hizo comentario en mi pregunta, we also face the cases that DGaleano mentioned some time ago: Should we allow unregistered users to answer questions?. That is, we do check user's profile since statistics tend to be quite accurate on what to expect when a new user adds an answer: if it is not registered and it is a low quality answer, chances are that it won't be improved. Anyway, I think that leaving the comment and the post "live" for a while, is useful to increase the knowledge of the community on what we want, what we don't and eventually generate debate about the limits.

The weakest point of all this workflow is: what happens if the user who posted an answer comes after the post was deleted? Well, he will still see the notification of the comments, but the UI for this is not very useful. Also, since they will still not have the flag privilege (earned at 15 rep), it will be difficult for them to draw attention to us so we can undelete it. For all these reasons, I think it is fair to leave some hours, even days, to the post to be around and give time to the poster to come back and improve it.

Finally, I am very grateful to see different users to pop in the Low Quality Posts review queue. The more we are, the better, since we give different views and contribute to define the limits, as you just did with your last questions in Meta. We mods are also regular users and cannot refrain from going through the actions that regular users can do. However, I think we should stop ourselves a bit, so that decisions are made of actions of different people, not just our binding vote.

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