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Current consensus is that one should downvote answers to off-topic questions.

Some users have learned about this the hardway and give answers to trivial questions in the comments. What should we do about such comments?

E.g.: Should such comments be deleted? (Via flagging specifying the reason in the "other" category, and mod intervention.) Or should I merely strike up conversation (for the fifth time with the same user) in the comments, asking him not to answer off-topic questions?

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    $\begingroup$ May I proposed a change in focus for the question? I think our aim on meta should be to make policy for the site, and then to use the mods to help implement that policy. So, instead of asking whether the comments should be flagged, maybe we should ask "what should be done with these kinds of comment"? One answer is that the comments should be deleted, in which case flagging is appropriate because mods can handle the deletion. But if we would rather post an educational comment saying "please don't answer off-topic questions" then that might be better implemented by the community than the mods. $\endgroup$ – Ubiquitous May 3 '17 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ BTW, besides deleting comments, a mod can lock a question. This prevents any new comments, but also prevents the poster from editing the question so that it is on topic. I'm not sure this is a great solution because our (potentially quixotic) objective should be to get people to edit poor questions into better ones. $\endgroup$ – Ubiquitous May 3 '17 at 17:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Ubiquitous You obvously know more about what flagging achieves. I will do a basic edit., please edit further as you see fit. $\endgroup$ – Giskard May 3 '17 at 17:43
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    $\begingroup$ I posted about this on the main meta, just to check whether there is a newtwork-wide consensus on how to handle it. So far, it seems there is not: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/295561/… $\endgroup$ – Ubiquitous May 4 '17 at 12:38
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I would flag/delete them. I think this site is "particularly" prone to receive terrible questions, so I would be strict about it. However, I think that, at the same time, the asker should be informed that such question is of bad quality. I confess I am lazy and many times do not bother to say so, and simply vote to close as off-topic. Maybe we could add a feature that whenever a question is flagged as off-topic, an automatic message should appear (like when flagging for duplicates).

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  • $\begingroup$ A question closed of homework gets the following message attached: 'This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason: "This question does not meet the standards for homework questions as spelled out in the relevant meta posts. For more information, see our policy on homework question and the general FAQ." ' Do you think this is insufficient? $\endgroup$ – Ubiquitous May 5 '17 at 11:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Ubiquitous You are correct! I forgot about it. That text seems fine to me. $\endgroup$ – luchonacho May 5 '17 at 12:37

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