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Moderating Answers


Site moderation goes a lot better when there is collaboration involved.

Moderation is accessed by selecting Moderate from the Options menu on a question, comment, or answer.

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We'll detail moderation in questions and answers in the following sections.

Question Moderation

Off-topic questions should be removed, while weak but relevant questions should be edited by the community to increase their pertinence. If questions start receiving votes as soon as they come in, it increases the likelihood of a positive result for the poster and prevents backlogs.

If a new question doesn't have enough information to be answerable, do something about it! Try asking the poster for more information. If that doesn't work, the community should vote to take appropriate action.

Here are the moderation options:

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Remove as Spam/Offensive

  • Requires 5 moderator votes.

Deletes the post and docks the author's reputation 100 points.

This should be used as a last resort. Reputation is too hard to come by to punish someone for a one-time or innocent mistake.

  • Requires 5 moderator votes.

Deletes the question, but does not remove reputation from the asker. If a new question is off-topic, just vote to remove it. Let's get these out of the way of relevant questions as fast as we can.

Please do not encourage this behavior with an answer to the question. A simple comment denoting the question's malapropos placement is all that is necessary.

Archive as Not Answerable

  • Requires 3 moderator votes.

Archived questions do not show up on any index page, but do appear on a member's profile. Archived questions may be edited by their owners, but no others. When the question is edited, the question is re-opened. Questions are automatically archived if they do not receive any answers within the first two weeks.

Lock Post

  • Requires 1 admin vote

An admin can lock a controversial question to stop all edits to the original post. Answers to locked questions can still be edited. Only site admins have the ability to lock posts.

Merge as Duplicate

  • Requires 3 moderator votes.

Duplicate questions are questions that ask the same thing and have the exact same answer. Often two questions are very similar, but the person asking the second question has not searched for or found the first question. The second person has a valid question, so we don't want to attack them for not understanding the system. Marking the second question as a duplicate automatically gives it all the answers from the first question. In this case, you must be able to accurately judge whether a question is truly an exact duplicate.

Answer Moderation

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Accept as Solution

  • Requires 5 moderator votes.

Moderators and administrators can accept answers on behalf of the original poster, but this should almost never be done. In the past we have seen votes to accept answers where it was not clear that the answer solved the poster's question. You should be cautious when forcing an answer to be accepted, because it has a very specific meaning. Questions can be easily cleared out of the unresolved queue by just up-ticking answers. You should only force accept answers when it is clear that the poster's issue has been resolved, and that person didn't understand that they needed to click "accept."

Remove as Spam/Offensive

  • The same guidelines as "Remove as Spam/Offensive" in questions apply.

Remove as Not an Answer

  • Requires 5 moderator votes.

Deletes the Answer and makes it invisible to normal members.

Switch to a Comment

  • Requires 3 moderator votes.

When someone posts an answer that is not really a solution to the problem, you can vote to change it to a comment. This is typically done when someone posts saying they have the same issue, which really contains no helpful solutions. Switching the answer to a comment also bumps the question to the top of the activity queue, and that benefits everyone.

Switch to a Question

  • Requires 3 moderator votes.

Every so often, people come along that don't understand how things work around here yet, and post a question as an answer on someone else's question. Using the "Switch to a Question" button turns that answer into its own question. This is great because then their problem has a chance at getting a response, and it gives users more opportunity to share their knowledge. Be careful with this; if the answer doesn't have information to answer the question, it's better to remove it so that it doesn't clutter the site.

Switch to Update to Question

  • Requires 3 moderator votes.

Use the "Switch to Update to Question" button to turn either a comment or an answer into an update to the original question.

Post Status

There are four states that a post may be in:

  • Open: Open to editing and answering. This status applies to most questions.
  • Locked: Controversial questions can be locked to stop all additional edits.
  • Archived: Closed to voting and modification. Usually these are vague posts that don't have enough useful information, but that the original poster could add detail to. Old questions with no up votes or answers are automatically archived.
  • Deleted: Gone. Toast. Exterminated. But in extreme situations, they can live again! Deleted questions can be resurrected by administrators.


  • This is the default status.
  • Questions may be answered.
  • Questions and answers may be voted on, commented on, and edited.


  • Locked posts may not be edited.
  • Only site admins can lock a post.
  • Even if a question is locked, its answers may be edited.


  • Only a question may be archived.
  • An archived question and its answers are visible only to administrators and the original poster.
  • The following are disallowed on archived questions:
    • Voting
    • Commenting
    • Editing the question or its answers by those other than the original poster
    • Answering
  • 5000 reputation is required to archive a question.


  • Deleted questions don't show up in search results or on any index pages.
  • Attempting to view the question by going to its old URL shows a 404 error.
  • Deleting an answer makes that answer and all of its comments disappear from the question.
  • Deleting a question deletes all of its answers.
  • When a question or an answer is deleted, all reputation associated with that question is removed.
  • 10,000 reputation is required to delete a question.
  • All reputation gained or lost from the question and its answers is nullified.
  • A question may also be deleted if it receives enough flags.
    • Reputation gained or lost due to flagging will remain.
    • It costs two reputation points to flag a post.
    • If enough people flag a post:
      • Its owner is docked 100 reputation points
      • Everyone who flagged the post receives 7 points (for a net gain of 5 points).

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