Recently I flagged an answer to this question citing not an answer as it was providing only a link.

But I was surprised when the flag was not helpful; it was disputed.

Now, what is the reason for disputing my flag to that 'link-only' answer? Has the community changed their view on the 'link-only' answers??

• As always: take it easy on disputed flags. They're there to make you think harder on whether it was the right call or not, and they're only a real warning sign if a significant portion of your flags (or of flags of a certain kind, or a specific run of flags) is either disputed or declined. Otherwise, just note them and move on. There's much better ways to contribute to the site (e.g. asking and answering) than honing your flagging habits to perfection. – Emilio Pisanty Nov 6 '15 at 14:33
• More on disputed flags: meta.physics.stackexchange.com/q/7147/2451 – Qmechanic Nov 14 '15 at 19:22

1. Technically, the not-an-answer (NAA) flag caused the Community♦ to submit the answer to the low-quality-post-review-list.

2. Five 2k+ users (which were not 20k+ users) completed the review cycle with the following votes listed chronologically:

Recommend Deletion; Recommend Deletion; Looks OK; Recommend Deletion; Looks OK.

3. Next the Community♦ provided the feed-back 'Disputed' to the flagger. I'm a bit uncertain whether this was caused by the mixed verdict (cf. this meta post and below comment by ACuriousMind), or an up-vote on the answer. (The latter is one of 3 reasons mentioned in this meta post as a reason for a disputed flag.)

4. Moreover, the answer is not delete, since none of the reviewer were 20k+ users. (20k+ users can vote to directly Delete as opposed to just Recommend Deletion, cf. this meta post.)

5. Next, the disputed status caused the answer to enter the moderator's review tool.

6. Finally, a moderator converted the answer to a comment.

• For 3., I believe the "Disputed" results merely from two Looks OK votes being sufficient for completing the review with the result of not deleting the post, not from an upvote. – ACuriousMind Nov 2 '15 at 18:13
• I updated the answer. – Qmechanic Nov 2 '15 at 20:39

The disputed flag means one or more of the other site members disagreed with your review. In this case I would guess someone disagreed with you because the post is an answer - just not a very good one. The appropriate action would be to downvote the answer rather than flagging it.

• Hi, sir; as you advised of downvoting it rather than flagging, I would say that earlier I've flagged many linked-only answers & they were helpful & accepted. So, obviously I was encouraged to flag them rather than downvoting them. I did the same this time but the result was otherwise. That's why I asked this – user36790 Nov 1 '15 at 8:46
• @user36790: I've got a little wary of flagging because I seem to be getting lots of flags declined these days and I even ended up being banned from flagging for too many declined flags. I tend to just downvote or vote to delete these days. – John Rennie Nov 1 '15 at 8:49
• According to this, link-only answers don't really count as answers, and I'm inclined to agree. So I think they should be eligible for not-an-answer flags. If that's what we think, we should probably codify it in this question and answer. – David Z Nov 1 '15 at 9:57
• P.S. John, if you like I can check through your flagging history and offer some personalized feedback on why you're getting flags declined. I have an idea of what it might be. – David Z Nov 1 '15 at 9:59
• @DavidZ: it's mainly because of flagging answers as low quality. The mods (I'm pointing no fingers here) consider low quality to mean poorly written when the rest of the multiverse interprets it to mean this is a s!!t answer. But that's a rant for another day :-) – John Rennie Nov 1 '15 at 10:56
• @JohnRennie ah, well then in that case downvoting is the way to go for such answers. But I'd consider link-only answers to be a separate issue entirely. – David Z Nov 1 '15 at 11:24