This one confuses me. I flagged this answer - https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/392854/119271 - as not an answer, which was subsequently declined.

In the comments, the author literally says, in response to a comment about it not being an answer, “Yes, It does not. I just wanted to add more information in case someone can dive deeper....”

There was no answer in the answer, just observations, a “fun part“ which was more observations and a section called “wild hunches” guessing what the problem could be.

This has happened to me many times but I’ve never been fortunate enough to have the answer author provide agreement. I’m just confused as to where the delineation is regarding what constitutes a bona fide answer or not.

  • While I have to agree with the moderators that this answer doesn't meet the bar for a flag, it's still a bad answer for this site and seems deserving of down-votes. But as of this writing, I appear to have cast the sole downvote, and there were two upvotes. Little surprised by that... Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 15:25

2 Answers 2


Thank you for raising this question. I see many people not understanding the not an answer flag. You are not alone to be confused here. Have you read through this post and the answers?

What parts of the answer on why we decline not an answer flags in general might apply to the post you identified?

When I read the answer I see the following characteristics:

  1. Excellent thinking and troubleshooting
  2. Additional information on which macOS versions are affected
  3. Process of working out issues that can be edited / improved
  4. No harm whatsoever to it remaining visible

I'm tempted to +1 it since it's much more useful and moving the discussion forward as I see it - especially compared to the rest of the questions.

The problem here is the question, not the answer IMO. I’ve protected that so it gets less me too, but I don’t see any need to single out any of the poor questions. Votes can handle bad answers / non answers there and no unilateral moderator action seems needed other than a protect. If you see bad questions like this a flag of other on the question - asking for it to be protected would be the best flag to cast.

  • I’ve read that before and the only thing I can see that could apply is the sentence about “moving the discussion forward.” There’s literally no answer in there. However, that then conflicts with what I perceive the goal of this site to be - a question and answer site. Is this the direction you’re pointing?
    – Allan
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 13:56
  • 1
    Thanks @Allan for clarifying. I'll edit my answer - I see the post you reference totally adding new information - I don't think adding any of the answer to the question would help. In fact, editing down the question would be my next recommendation - moving more of the troubleshooting to answers like this. Only when a fix or several fixes are isolated would we edit / remove the troubleshooting if it became a problem. I don't see any problem here where a moderator would unilaterally remove that post.
    – bmike Mod
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 14:38

The answer you flagged doesn't give a definitive answer to the question – in part because there are many possible causes for the problem. It does propose several possible answers and a path to try to get there.

With feedback from the Original Poster, this could be edited to be a definitive answer, but I would still encourage leaving the advice to check all the other factors proposed. Do you think the site would be better/more helpful if these steps were deleted, as you proposed by flagging the post? I certainly do not. Yes, we would love to have every question have a clearly correct, well-documented answer the definitively answers the question. If that existed and then someone was posting speculation like this, we might to well to clean it up (unless the speculation was actually a description of the process of diagnosing the problem). But in the absence of a single correct answer, the post you flagged is constructive.

  • 1
    Are we talking about the same flagged answer? I didn’t see any “steps to try” or “proposed solutions.” That “answer” contained, as the author put it, “wild guesses” as to the cause. I’m not flagging because it’s not correct but because it didn’t move an accepted and highly voted answer forward. This was commentary, and this explanation feels like the definition of an “answer” is much more fluid than I thought.
    – Allan
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 20:43

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