One of the reasons for which you are able to flag an answer is the following:
not an answer
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.
When (or if) you flag an answer like that, then you're asking a moderator to delete the answer.
What should moderators do with answers which are "not an answer"? As a moderator my personal inclination is:
Don't delete an answer just because I think that it's not an answer
Delete it, if I don't think it's an answer, and if:
- Several people have downvoted it (so it has a negative number of votes)
- Or, someone, or maybe several people, have flagged it
- Or, only I'm very certain by myself that it's not an answer (or is at best a "there is no spoon" answer)
For example, some current examples which I think are not an answer include:
Basically these answers say that the view which the question is asking about is wrong, for example,
- Q: what is 'enlightenment' if you don't believe in literal rebirth? A: you should believe in literal rebirth and nirvana is meaningless if you don't.
- Q: if your view is 'materialist' how does that effect your practice? A: you can't be materialist and Buddhist and you're going to hell if you're materialist.
An advantage or benefit of these answers is that they present an orthodox view.
Two disadvantages, one is that they don't answer the question, and another is that they might be seen as hostile to another sect, if there is another sect (or individual) which self-identifies as Buddhist but which does not conform to that orthodoxy.
So, my questions are,
- Do you agree with what I suggested above: that moderators may delete such an answer, but only if other people have flagged and/or downvoted it?
- Does it worry you that "not an answer" answers, whose purpose is to define an orthodox view that's contrary to the view that's being asked about, might seem hostile to other sects (if there is any sect with a view like the one being asked about)? Should they be deleted for that reason?