The upvote arrow tooltip reads

This answer is useful

"How to answer" reads

Make sure your answer provides [what is asked] – or a viable alternative. .. Any answer that gets the asker going in the right direction is helpful ...

Then how good is

No [some fluff that is not helping either]

as an answer to questions that invite workarounds? People might not know what others can come up with. I'm sure a lot of people sometimes get surprised by how someone else does the same thing in an unexpected way.

Reasons why I don't like them:

  • Saying no simply implies

    I don't know how to do that.

    which is clearly not a helpful response to a question. If a question is left unanswered, it means that those who saw it didn't know what to do.

  • It might discourage some other answerers from finding workarounds.

  • As one's reputation increases, the weight of their No also increases.

Samples (and a customary I'm not calling out):


Nice ones:

A fun and a bit related question on Math meta:

Is it okay to give an answer with only “Yes” or “No” with no further details supporting the conclusion?

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  • Intentional voting tag there. :) – anki Oct 22 '19 at 13:02
  • Not sure what your question is or what you expect as answers? Even if you think some people vote „wrong“: how do you intend to change that? – nohillside Oct 22 '19 at 13:26
  • Should it be downvoted or removed as NAA or VLQ ? I used bold tho – anki Oct 22 '19 at 13:26
  • I could reduce the vote by one. That's the best I could do anyway. – anki Oct 22 '19 at 13:28
  • The three samples are just plainly bad or incomplete answers (at least lacking a source for the statement made) and should be handled as such. – nohillside Oct 22 '19 at 13:29
  • 2
    Sometimes such answers are also an indication for a question which can/should be improved – nohillside Oct 22 '19 at 13:30
  • I forgot to add the best one so far :p Is there an equivalent to the Windows 7 Problem Steps Recorder on macOS? And this justifies what you just said: " for a question which can/should be improved" – anki Oct 22 '19 at 13:30
  • Downvote and move on – nohillside Oct 22 '19 at 13:35
  • Lol okay.. Nice that I am not on the brink of 3k now. – anki Oct 22 '19 at 13:36

Sometimes, the correct answer is a simple 'no' with an explanation why it is what it is. Not all answer have to be, or need to be, complicated. In fact, providing someone a complicated workaround could actually make the situation worse.

Your assumption that a simple answer means "I don't know how to do that" is a bit faulty.

I'm not saying it's entirely incorrect because sometimes that is the case. It's been my experience (a few years on this site and sites similar) that if a workaround is possible, someone will add it as either a comment ("hey, what about doing....?") or a more detailed answer ("I couldn't do it that way but I could do it this way....").

I believe flagging an answer that only provides a yes or no without anything to back it up is completely acceptable. I would also add, telling the writer why you flagged their answer helps them learn how to craft better answers. After all, our goal is to help people and that includes answer-writers.

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  • thanks for adding bold on "with".. Still had to read it twice ^^' – anki Oct 23 '19 at 13:57

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