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My recent question has prompted a rather controversial answer with (current) votes of +4/-3, and comments (each with multiple up-votes) to the effect that it is harsh, and doesn't address the question. I have to agree with both of these sentiments.

  1. The answer accuses me of intentional smuggling. That's patently untrue, but even if it were true, it's irrelevant to the question. (It might be grounds for closing the question as relating to illegal activities, but it wouldn't be grounds for providing an insulting and/or irrelevant answer.)

  2. The answer doesn't answer the question. The question is "What are my options?" The answer doesn't even attempt to provide options.

As I am the one who asked the question, I recognize that I'm not going to have the most objective opinion on this matter, but it seems that several others agree with either or both of these complaints against the answer.

It seems to me the answer ought to be deleted unless/until it can be edited to actually answer the question, and, ideally, do so in a way that isn't insulting (although I wouldn't insist on the latter).

  • I kind of feel bad about that whole thing. The same day you posted your question, an Indian user had posted three questions all on the same(ish) topic of taking expensive items into India. I used the word smuggling in one of my answers or comments and made a meta question here about it. Perhaps reading them is what put Paul on to your post...maybe coincidental, but sheesh – CGCampbell Oct 2 '14 at 21:43
  • @pnuts: So you intended to import an expensive, dutiable bauble into the UK ... You did not declare the bauble to HM Customs upon arrival -- That sure looks to me like an accusation of intentional smuggling. – Flimzy Oct 3 '14 at 0:12
  • If my intention was to be stealthy, I could easily have not declared the item when I went through customs. There was nobody watching me to make sure I did. The immigration agent simply informed me that I should discuss the matter with customs--previously I thought I had no reason to, since I wouldn't be leaving the item in the UK. So no, my actions/intentions don't even fail the "stealth" test. – Flimzy Oct 3 '14 at 0:13
  • @pnuts: I could add details of that story. But is it really relevant to the question? Can't people just not assume illegal intent when answering? – Flimzy Oct 3 '14 at 0:21
  • @pnuts: I have updated the question. The discovery wasn't due to my stealth in trying to avoid duties, rather my ignorance of the need to declare it. Had I known then what I know now, I would have probably made other arrangements to store the ring in the US until the proposal :/ So I certainly have a desire to avoid duties, but I'm not willing to break the law to do it. – Flimzy Oct 3 '14 at 0:31
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    @pnuts: Alright, the additional details are now on the question. I still think they're irrelevant in my case, but might not always be, so I guess it doesn't hurt to add them. – Flimzy Oct 3 '14 at 0:53
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As my comment suggests, I do also think the answer is bad. And evaluating it is certainly your prerogative, you're best placed to know if it solves the problem you're facing or not.

That said, the votes seem to take care of this, for the most part. When a better answer comes, upvotes and the “accept” flag will push it up. The whole point of voting answers up and down is that this process plays out in the open and sometimes less-than-stellar answers do provide relevant information, if only in the comments. So if the answer is minimally relevant (no spam, gibberish or unrelated ramblings), I don't think (relatively) poor quality justifies a deletion.

Being offensive might but while this particular answer seems a bit harsh and not entirely fair, I think it's still bearable (which is admittedly easy for me to say, as I am not the one being judged).

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