I've been somewhat hesitant about handling posts that drop into the Very Low Quality queue. ELL is a much smaller site than S(F/O/U), so broken windows aren't quite so much a problem. I've generally erred on the side of leaving a comment and skipping the question.

However, as the site continues to grow, this will no longer be acceptable. Broken windows will matter more. We're already seeing more traffic this year and lots of new questions. (New questions are good, don't get me wrong. I want to see this community continue to grow.) It's likely that we will see more VLQ reviews in the future.

This post is what prompted me to ask this question. Someone had already added a comment saying exactly what I felt, so I upvoted it. But then I was stuck about what to do:

  • Edit There's no reference material or anything to add that wouldn't be guessing. I can't really do that because it would be my writing and my point of view rather than the author's. Snailplane already edited it to make it mostly non-painful to read, but that's about all any editor can do.

  • Looks Good No, it doesn't.

  • Recommend Deletion It's factually correct, so I'm not 100% comfortable just deleting it. Plus, it's a new user, and I try to be conscious of how harsh moderation actions can seem to new users.

  • Skip Because none of the options seemed appropriate, I chose to skip the review.

Thinking it over, I'm leaning toward deletion in the future, just because the answer as it stands doesn't really add any new value to the question. At the same time, I do want to be mindful of the community's attitude toward deletion.

So my question to everyone at ELL is:

How do we want to use the Low Quality queue?

  • I'd be interested to hear if people think my edit was counterproductive.
    – user230
    Mar 8, 2014 at 13:14
  • You did exactly what I did on this question, so it must be exactly the right thing to do! Mar 8, 2014 at 15:16
  • @snailplane Your edit seems admirably judicious to me - you tidied up the orthography and formatting without affecting the sense. Mar 8, 2014 at 15:17
  • 1
    @Snailplane: Absolutely not. I wasn't trying to imply anything of the sort. What I meant was that your edit was all that could be done without affecting the meaning of the post. Even after that, it was still not up to what I would consider site standards, based on its content. Mar 8, 2014 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


Yes... That's definitely VLQ! It has only the bare minimum of information, and even in its edited form I don't feel there's much "quality" to speak of.

This is my personal opinion, not moderator guidance, and I look forward to hearing others' thoughts on the matter. But in cases like this (where an answer contains the absolute bare minimum of information, and it is also pretty clear that no effort went into it) this is how I handle the situation myself:

  1. If there is another existing answer or comment that contains the bare minimum of information present in the VLQ answer, delete. It adds nothing of value to the question.

  2. If no other comment or answer containing that information is present (and that bare minimum answer is correct), convert to comment. It's at least a starting point for future viewers, though it clearly does not belong as an answer.

So in my opinion, the community could follow this same line of thinking, with minor tweaks; if it ought to be deleted, cast a delete vote. If it ought to be converted to a comment, flag for moderator attention and ask it to be converted to a comment.

This is how I tend to handle things, anyway. What does everyone else think?

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