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"Are drivers from mainland Europe likely to end up in an accident when driving in the UK?", asks the question, quite unambiguously. However, at the time I write this, there are eight answers of which exactly one answers the question that is actually asked.

There have been no substantive changes to the content of the question, so it's not like we're dealing with shifting ground. It's just that seven answerers have apparently read "Hey folks, tell me some things about driving on the wrong side of the road!", instead of the actual question text, and offered their thoughts on that topic.

Do we care? What's to be done about this? I was tempted to flag all seven non-answers but thought perhaps I'm missing something here?

  • 3
    Great question! I remember a similar question on the main META where Jeff Atwood said your choices are to down vote, or flag, or both. The SO mechanics will handle the rest. Also I saw that some of those respondents look like newer members who want to find a way to contribute. With encouragement they will start giving great answers. – Gayot Fow Feb 17 '16 at 16:21
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    This issue is particularly pronounced when questions hit the "SuperCollider" (Hot Network Questions box). Its larger purpose is to promote interest by advertising recently popular and well-received questions across the whole network, and it works— questions that appear there can get many multiples of an average question's views. I've certainly been alerted to the existence of various stacks (including TSE) as a direct consequence of it. But the downside is that you also get a disproportionate number of low-quality and duplicate answers, as we see here. – choster Feb 18 '16 at 16:14
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    If it doens't answer it, downvote it, or flag as not an answer. It's negative, but the end result is a better website, rather than a regular discussion forum. Ideally you'd also comment indicating why you downvote, so that users can learn as we go. – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Feb 21 '16 at 11:31
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As a matter of fact, you are misreading the question. Disregarding the introduction, it reads

Are there any statistics showing the likelihood of mainland Europeans crashing in the UK? Or is it just a minor nuisance that wouldn't cause any trouble?

If you ask two separate questions in one post on this site, you should not be surprised to get answers that relate to the one that can be answered by experience, rather than by analyzing statistics on the internet.

7

Author of that question here. Formulating the question as 'are there statistics?' was intentionally done to avoid opinion-based answers such as 'I drove there last week and I was fine!'. However answers which include specific tips and tricks for mainland Europeans visiting the UK are IMHO acceptable as well. That's especially true since a 'tips-and-tricks' tag was added later on.

The only answers which deserve to be deleted are those which provide nothing but personal experience and I believe some of those have been removed already.

A second option is to start a new question titled 'What are some good practices to follow for mainland Europeans driving in the UK?' and ask the reply authors to move their answers there instead.

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That's what down votes are for. But even that might be unnecessary. If a truly good answer would appear, I would hope that it would bubble to the top and the rest could then be left alone. At least, that's more-or-less how the platform is supposed to work, as far as I can tell.

On the other hand, flagging/deleting seems like an over-reaction to me. That's for gibberish, spam and other obvious garbage that does not even make sense. The rest can be dealt with in the open, using the site's regular tools (voting, accepting an answer, and comments). It's then up to the answerer to see what they want to do with their answer (delete, improve, repost another answer…)

  • If flagging as not-an-answer is an over-reaction, then why does the flag exist? – WGroleau Feb 28 '16 at 14:41
  • @WGroleau For questions mainly (happens several times a day) but also for things that clearly and unambiguously do not attempt to even address anything remotely related to the question for example. There are plenty of those, too. Sometimes you also see rants or random comments that are apparently not related to travel at all and that's something else you can use this flag for. I feel that the answers in question here are more in a grey area that's best dealt with votes rather than something moderators need to hide ASAP. – Relaxed Feb 28 '16 at 20:35

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