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This (now deleted) "answer" came up in the first posts review. It attempts to answer the question why the Jedi would serve a corrupt republic by trying to draw parallels to the current situation in the USA, then dwells on that current situation and forgets to mention how this is relevant to the actual question. It's more a rant about US politics than anything else.

I flagged it as "Not an Answer" (NaA) either from review or from the question itself and left a comment for the answerer to please edit their post into an answer.

That flag was declined with the following comment (which I understand is likely to be a templated response).

declined - flags should not be used to indicate technical inaccuracies, or an altogether wrong answer

Esteemed user Dr. Dizzle flagged the same post as NaA and their flag was declined too.

I'd like to know how this was not "not an answer".


I've asked a similar question before. In that case the answer I had flagged wasn't a particularly good answer, but I had to admit it was indeed an answer.

However, this is in no way an answer. This is a rant, triggered by a question about Star Wars.

Here's the post in its entirety.

I have your answer. It is an easy answer for me. But it is complex. let me start by saying that the first three movies were made in a different time. back then we still had the pledge of allegiance to a republic every morning in school, in high school they banned it because of the word "God" in it. That's what they told us anyway. but the real reason was our oath to our once republic. Our forefather's did not want a democracy, they knew that democracies always ended violently and always killed themselves from the inside out. like cancer. A republic is the only form of government where you are truly free. when you get paid in "credits" these things can be printed off at any whim like fiat currency. when we had gold as money which the constitution says is the only thing that is "money". because Money holds is store of value inside itself. you hold that labor in your hands. but when you have a fiat system they steal your labor for credits for their buddies stores.. except the us has taken it to a new level and gone globally. think of this on a larger scale. there are 7 stages to an empire. look at the fall of rome. George Lucas took ideas and history and made a fictional universe to teach people the important things in a fun way, but years later.. you have a huge difference in what is acceptable content for television. And how do they indoctrinate our youth into accepting the world for what it is? television, music, internet, movies, it's everywhere.. So back to question, why would a Jedi serve a corrupt democracy? well why are our leaders doing the same thing in real life? because generations of subtle changes and eventually you will see the integrity of our system rot from the inside out like it is. if you need proof of any of this or have any questions please check it out for yourselves. Word play is also a powerful tool to keep people ignorant to the truth. Like when they use words that you don't quite know the meaning of.. citizen for one, it's not what you want to be. It means the opposite of of the ideals of the US Constitution. Like U.S. and U.S.A. there's a huge difference. we no longer have a USA America was done with a long time ago. the US corporation act of 1871 was the end of our republic. And that was the only thing the Civil War was fought over. But if you ask any American why the civil war was fought.. they'll tell you because of slavery. Yet Lincoln was as racist as they come... that's probably why he was assassinated.

  • I think it's been deleted? I can't see it anymore at any rate. – Bellerophon Dec 14 '16 at 16:50
  • @Bellerophon I just cast the third delete vote – Jason Baker Dec 14 '16 at 16:50
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    I'm at a loss why the flags were declined. I see no redeeming features in this wall of text and nothing even approximating a decent answer. – Valorum Dec 14 '16 at 16:55
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    Thank you for preserving that work of art where sub 10ks can read it. – Kosmos Dec 14 '16 at 18:37
  • I'd be more upset about the flag being rejected if other flags and votes hadn't resulted in it being deleted anyway. – Valorum Dec 15 '16 at 11:52
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    "if you need proof of any of this or have any questions please check it out for yourselves." Should be used at the bottom of every answer imho. – The Dark Lord Dec 16 '16 at 19:19
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There is an answer buried in that wall of text:

So back to question, why would a Jedi serve a corrupt democracy? well why are our leaders doing the same thing in real life? because generations of subtle changes and eventually you will see the integrity of our system rot from the inside out like it is.

The post suggests the answer is that the Republic underwent a gradual and subtle change and the Jedi didn't realize it was corrupt. In that sense, "not an answer" is not correct. I'm not the moderator who handled your flag, but that's probably why he declined your "not an answer" flag. The flag history shows that he did mark a "very low quality" flag as helpful since it's definitely a low quality post: it could possibly be salvaged with some serious editing, but almost nothing would be left by the time an editor cut it down to the actual answer.

The community has voted to delete this answer, and I see no issue with deleting it.

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    For the record, VLQ flags on that post were marked helpful and only NAA ones were declined. – Rand al'Thor Dec 14 '16 at 17:12
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    @Randal'Thor that's weird, because (to me) VLQ is a lower bar than NAA. VLQ means (and I quote) "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." Not salvageable. It first needs to be a coherent post before its merits of being an answer can be judged. If it is VLQ, it should be NAA as well, since it's not even a post yet. – SQB Dec 14 '16 at 17:32
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    @SQB: NAA, on the other hand, means “This was posted as an answer, but it does not attempt to answer the question. It should possibly be an edit, a comment, another question, or deleted altogether.” The attempt was clearly there, even if it may not actually have had the potential to become a good answer. Your mental model of the relationship between NAA and VLQ seems faulty. – chirlu Dec 14 '16 at 18:58
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    @chirlu if "the attempt was clearly there", then it can't have been VLQ, because VLQ means that nothing is "clearly there". – SQB Dec 14 '16 at 19:06
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    Does an otherwise helpful flag become unhelpful just because the wrong reason was checked? I would have thought that flags are helpful if they call problematic posts to the moderators' attention, and that in most the mods will be able to figure out for themselves what the problem is and what should be done about it. – user14111 Dec 15 '16 at 7:30
  • @SQB The VLQ flag description says that the post is "unlikely to be salvageable through editing", not that it is "not salvageable". You may not be able to salvage it, but another user reviewing it in the low quality posts queue might be able to. If none of the reviewers can salvage it, then it needs to be removed. – Null Dec 15 '16 at 15:40
  • @SQB Also, while an answer post is often both VLQ and NAA, the two flags aren't the same. For example, a well-written question posted as an answer is NAA but not VLQ (it just needs to be posted as a question). A poorly written post may actually answer the question but is VLQ and not worth keeping (as is the case for the post you flagged). – Null Dec 15 '16 at 15:41
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    @user14111 The advice I've been given from SE employees and other moderators on the network is to generally mark flags as helpful if they seem to have been raised in good faith, even if it's the wrong type of flag (we can mark it helpful and include a comment saying to use a different kind of flag in the future). Similar advice is given on meta. That said, I do decline incorrectly raised spam/rude/abusive flags because they carry a penalty. – Null Dec 15 '16 at 15:48
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Although I can't comment on the particular moderator's reasons for declining the NAA flags, I agree with the decision; despite all the noise, there is an answer in there:

why would a Jedi serve a corrupt democracy? well why are our leaders doing the same thing in real life? because generations of subtle changes and eventually you will see the integrity of our system rot from the inside out like it is.

This is the seed of a reasonable answer. I'd still have voted to delete it, of course, but it is an answer, even if it's a bad one.

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    I would have agreed with you, if the answerer had tied it back to the question. As it stands, it makes as much sense as "why would a Jedi serve a corrupt democracy? Well, why did the chicken cross the road?" Also, given that that is the only line actually remotely attempting to answer the question, the signal to noise ratio is such that I still deem the entire post to be NaA. – SQB Dec 14 '16 at 17:04
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    @SQB "Why did the chicken cross the road?" doesn't attempt to answer the question. "generations of subtle changes" does. It's not a good answer, and I agree with you insofar as the signal-to-noise ratio (and the undercurrent of Alex Jones quackery) is why I VTD'd, but calling it "Not an Answer" seems incorrect to me – Jason Baker Dec 14 '16 at 17:10
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There is something that I think is missing from the existing answers based on one of your comments (emphasis yours):

@Randal'Thor that's weird, because (to me) VLQ is a lower bar than NAA. VLQ means (and I quote) "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." Not salvageable. It first needs to be a coherent post before its merits of being an answer can be judged. If it is VLQ, it should be NAA as well, since it's not even a post yet.

It appears like you believe that the VLQ flag encompasses the NAA flag, so I'd say your real question is how do we distinguish between NAA and VLQ. To answer that question I think the response by chirlu in a comment (emphasis theirs) is great:

@SQB: NAA, on the other hand, means “This was posted as an answer, but it does not attempt to answer the question. It should possibly be an edit, a comment, another question, or deleted altogether.” The attempt was clearly there, even if it may not actually have had the potential to become a good answer.

In my mind a fuzzy definition of VLQ is an answer where you have the feeling like the person is fumbling toward an answer to the question but there are big problems in their approach or logic. In my mind NAA is when the person isn't attempting to answer the question at all.

Like you mentioned in the intro to your question (emphasis mine):

It attempts to answer the question why the Jedi would serve a corrupt republic by trying to draw parallels to the current situation in the USA, then dwells on that current situation and forgets to mention how this is relevant to the actual question. It's more a rant about US politics than anything else.

I agree with your appraisal of the question. It was a muddled rant. That being said even you could tell that they were trying to tie US politics to the situation with the Jedi but it was so muddled you couldn't follow their logic through the ranting. This means that it is VLQ, because you could see they were attempting some sort of link-up. Now if they would have just ranted about the US and made no attempt then I would agree with a NAA flag. However they did attempt some kind of link. I'm not saying this answer deserved to live due to an attempted link-up. I definitely think this answer should have been deleted because you're right.

It's more a rant about US politics than anything else.

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