It seems like we have users who tend to answer out of what they believe to be "common sense" and in some of our more general, everyday sort of questions some of these even sound like reasonable answers. The common sense applied seems to fit, the OP is content with the answer, future readers seem to find the answer helpful and things work out fine.

On the other hand...

Sometimes we have users who tend to answer out of what they believe to be "common sense" on some of our more niche questions. Basically they're applying what they believe to be common sense, to a question about an uncommon or less common situation.

It seems like this may be causing some problems.

  • The OP may be getting advice from someone who's effectively guessing at what the solution ought to be.

  • These answers often aren't exactly well supported. The reasoning may be explained, but there's often holes in the reasoning that the answerer doesn't see.

  • These answers can often be somewhat tone deaf, or offensive to people who have had experience with the situation in the question.

  • There's often no indication in the answer that it isn't based on experience, or research.

  • And perhaps worst of all... These answers being written by people who don't know that they don't know, are often voted to the top by other people who don't know that they don't know. This sometimes leaves other answers written by users who have direct knowledge of the subject unread by future readers, as they're sometimes 3 or more answers down the list.

This seems like it may be a problem that's somewhat unique to more subjective Stacks. To use a Stack Overflow comparison, if someone who'd never written a line of C# wrote an answer to a question specifically about C# it would probably end up voted into a hole, or deleted entirely. That doesn't happen here, because most of our answers aren't so easily tested, and many of our questions and answers are largely voted upon by people who may never be in the exact situation the question is about.

It seems that our "back it up" rule helps with this situation, but from what I'm seeing, I'm not sure that it helps enough.

Is this a problem? And if it is, what can we do about it?

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    With the specific category of questions you describe, especially questions pertaining to minority group issues, some people not in that group will feel offended by the premise of the question. This has happened several times and is (sadly) to be expected when asking these on here. If you ruffle the feathers of a sizeable chunk of the userbase, you'll note that they'll use the tools available to ruffle back: by upvoting frame challenges. Not sure how to solve this though. – user308386 May 18 '18 at 6:15
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    @user5389107 If they don't actually know the answer, if they're providing a frame challenge without sufficient support, then I believe that falls under what the question and my answer discuss: we have to at some point bite the bullet and start enforcing our policies. Beyond that, perhaps we should also ask users to pass by on questions where they disagree with the premise and the premise is (mostly) cultural, or significantly controversial among experts on the topic. Parenting has done this successfully: parenting.meta.stackexchange.com/a/124/4424 – Cascabel May 18 '18 at 17:56
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    (Of course there's a third case: the premise involves a well-established idea/fact. In that case, frame challenging it is not appropriate, and people who disagree should definitely just move on.) – Cascabel May 18 '18 at 18:01
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    I see your concern but I am not sure there is a good way to fix this. Challenging a highly voted answer to back themselves up or face deletion could lead to people coming up with "personal experience" that can't be validated anymore than the original "non-validated" answer was. Even if they obviously came up with false experience we can't exactly assume they are lying either as that's not nice. I think with this site in particular there is always going to be a certain amount of subjectivity that can't be dealt with. I will be interested to see if anyone comes up with a good solution to this. – user15922 May 18 '18 at 19:44
  • @IceC Ideally we would want to do something before significant amounts of votes begin to roll in. But often enough when asked if a user has experience with a subject, or what their answer is based on they'll tell you "logic" or "common sense" – apaul May 18 '18 at 19:51
  • @apaul True but you also have to allow time for people to edit and backup their answers which could allow time for the upvotes. Especially on HNQs. I also could foresee that once people start noticing "common sense" answers getting deleted they will catch on soon enough and then there will be some other "reason/justification". – user15922 May 18 '18 at 19:55
  • @apaul Obviously in theory the non-backed answers should be downvoted until they are edited to include their reasons but as you have said before "Theory and practice are often far removed." – user15922 May 18 '18 at 19:57
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    @apaul I'm not sure we can do that. Due to the nature of HNQ, as soon as it hits meaningful vote signaling becomes pretty pointless. Answers can go from -5 to +100 in a day then. Do you suggest more mod involvement? Because community tools for deletion cease to work under these circumstances – user308386 May 18 '18 at 20:04
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    If the folks with concerns could voice them in answers it would be easier to evaluate and respond. – apaul May 18 '18 at 20:21
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    How do you define "people that don't know"? How do you verify that an answer is "backed up" according to your own personal standard of what is acceptable or not? What would you do if a person started an answer to a question related to homosexuality with "I'm gay too, [...]" despite the fact that you don't have any way to ascertain if this is true or not? Are you suggesting that questions about e.g. racial discrimination could only be answered by african-americans? – Andrea Lazzarotto May 20 '18 at 13:21
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    @apaul OK how do you discern they are guessing? Is that an assumption based on the content of the answer? – Andrea Lazzarotto May 20 '18 at 20:40
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    @AndreaLazzarotto It's an assumption based on the lack of content in the answer, when folks don't bother to mention what their answer is based on. Or sometimes people pretty much tell us that their answer is based on "common sense" in the answer. – apaul May 20 '18 at 20:49
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    Just stumbled upon an older related meta: interpersonal.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2104/… – Em C May 24 '18 at 18:03
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    Considering how vague this question was kept, and the posting history of OP, I can't see this as anything other than yet another push for a minority of users to take absolute control of the Q&A and override everything that makes SE works in order to enforce their own echo chamber. Maybe you think someone isn't backing an answer enough. Maybe I do? The best way to decide seems to be letting people vote on it. Oh hey that's already how the website works. – Ethan The Brave May 30 '18 at 14:26
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    @EthanTheBrave if you're feeling brave enough, feel free to write an answer. – apaul May 30 '18 at 16:28

Yes, this is a problem. It may be difficult to decide in exactly which cases it's "bad", but there are definitely answers without the necessary experience or knowledge to support them. (I don't think it's helpful to hunt for examples here; it feels a bit too close to name-calling.)

This is completely unsurprising. Sure, it's rare for people to knowingly post bad answers, but we often don't know what we don't know. As long as people are allowed to post confidently clueless answers, they will do so. And as long as those answers are present, the sufficiently convincing ones will gather upvotes - there will be other people who have similar gaps in experience or knowledge.

Realistically, I think the only solution is to actually enforce the back it up policy, e.g. with deletion of answers. There is ample precedent across the network for going beyond "not an answer" deletion. From the network-wide FAQ on deletion (in the "What are the criteria for deletion?" section, after covering "not an answer" and such):

These are general guidelines; some communities in the network may uphold more specific reasons to delete posts or not. For example, on Puzzling.SE, answers to a puzzle without explanation are subject to deletion, and some technical sites will delete answers which are not only wrong but also harmful when tried.

This is, of course, not an easy thing to do. A lot of the judgments to be made are difficult. And we can always offer guidance before enforcing via deletion. However, I see no way around it, so I think it's a tough path we are forced to follow if we wish the site to flourish.

So how would this look?

For process: what Monica describes from Workplace seems good. Essentially, suggest improvements to add support/explanation, if they aren't made, flag to get a post notice added, if that doesn't get anything done, flag again to delete.

For what to address, I've tried to think of some deliberately vague examples. As with everything in life, things may vary depending on details.

  • Probably good: an answer based on direct personal experience, with an explanation that makes it clear this is the case. ("I've dealt with A before, and I've found that doing X helps achieve your goal.")
  • Probably good: an answer based on indirect personal experience, which is clearly applicable/extensible to the case at hand. ("I haven't seen precisely A, but I have seen B, and I've found that doing X helps achieve your goal.")
  • Probably bad: an answer that provides arguments but not experience, especially if it reaches a conclusion that differs strongly from those based on experience. ("Obviously if someone wants A, they also want B, and so you should do X.")
  • Probably bad: an answer based on opinion/belief. ("It's just common sense that you should do X.")

We should also keep in mind the context and potential for harm when flagging. If people's feelings are getting hurt, that's a sign we should be increasingly cautious about unsupported answers. On the other hand, if it's a low-stakes situation that no one has direct experience with and people are tossing out potentially useful ideas, we can probably be a bit more flexible.

And this is about mitigating an issue, so getting even catching even 50% of the bigger problems is already a good start, and could even be effective about shifting the general site attitude and expectations about answers. We don't have to try to hunt down every last instance (especially on older questions), and we don't have to try to apply this strictly in cases that are extremely unclear.

To take a step back, I think that it's really valuable for us to provide guidance and support for the moderators here. They're the ones who are ultimately going to have to handle our flags, and in some cases delete upvoted answers. In order to do that, they need to have meta posts/policies to stand on, and they need to be able to look forward to support when they're inevitably challenged.

If we agree about this path, it may be that we eventually need to discuss some specific examples to help get this started, and we will likely need to discuss some after the fact when challenged. If and when we do so, let's approach it carefully. We do not want to put people on trial for their answers.

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    I agree with almost everything in this post. The one worry I have is that sometimes the posters are right, but an individual decides they are wrong (as it doesn't match their experience) and ends up causing deletion. So I think we should do this, but carefully... – Rory Alsop May 18 '18 at 7:54
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    Indeed, it should be done carefully, and with an appropriate bar for the amount of necessary support. If someone says "you should say you need some me time" we don't need to figure out if they've been in that exact situation before and pick it all apart, while if someone says "don't tell them what pronouns to use for you, that's rude" they better have some damn good evidence for that claim. – Cascabel May 18 '18 at 13:53
  • Yep - that's a good way to split it out. – Rory Alsop May 18 '18 at 17:17
  • This sounds pretty good to me, but I suspect that a expedited process may be required for HNQ. Perhaps allowing/encouraging mods to delete answers immediately, with a comment suggesting editing and flagging for undeletion. – apaul May 18 '18 at 20:39
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    I am in general okay with granting mods discretion about how rapidly to progress through the process, depending on the specific circumstances. That might indeed mean more immediate deletion on HNQ, but for now I'm content to leave it up to them to decide rather than trying to spell out specifics. – Cascabel May 18 '18 at 20:42

We sometimes have this problem over on The Workplace, where we also expect people to back up their answers but accept experience. (And, realistically, a lot of answers aren't explicit about the backup and they stand, like you're seeing here.)

One factor that comes up for us -- I'm not sure how common it is on IPS -- is questions (not) stating things that ought to restrict answers, or answerers missing or ignoring such things if they are present. For example, somebody answers a question about notice periods saying "2 weeks is the norm; just go" and either the OP didn't say or the answerer missed that this is in India, where notice periods are longer and you need a relieving letter from your previous employer (so walking out on them is counter-indicated). Or somebody answers a question about escalating a problem to management and misses that the OP is in Japan (where deferential phrasing might be expected) or Germany (where straightforwardness might be expected).

The informal practice that has evolved for us is approximately the following:

  • If an answer makes unsupported claims and anybody objects, comments ensue. Well-written comments requesting clarification are a good thing here. All those other comments get deleted or moved to chat.

  • If those unsupported claims are irritating enough, somebody usually flags to request (or a moderator notices and adds) the "citation needed" post notice. If the post remains unchanged for long enough, somebody will flag again and the moderators will probably delete it.

  • If the unsupported claims don't bother anybody, nothing special happens.

  • If the question hits HNQ, things can get messier.

Many of our users read questions (and answers) carefully and ask for missing information. For us it's often location or type of company or roles of the people involved; for IPS it's cultural context or location or other things. You don't need to be knowledgable about a particular context to ask for it if it's missing. I leave comments all the time asking for clarifications where those clarifications won't help me answer the question (I don't know enough about, say, writing an Arbeitszeugnis to help) but I know something important wasn't specified. I leave those comments to (a) help other people be able to answer and (b) alert the community that there is missing information. Similarly, if our users see that an answer doesn't fit with some details in the question (he said he's in the Ukraine, so your advice to involve OSHA won't help him), they take action.

Figuring out what counts as backing up an answer when personal experience is relevant can be tricky. Before trying to formalize rules, it's worth seeing if we can all be attentive to missing or missed details and be diligent in writing good constructive requests for improvement. Or, if necessary, flagging for those post notices -- but I've found it's usually better to first try to get the author to fix the problem without that badge of shame hanging on the answer.

  • I very much agree about suggesting improvements in comments. I think IPS is actually pretty strong on this, though, and the issues being noted here are about the inability to do anything more when the author sticks to their guns, so the later portions of your process (post notices/deletion) need to be considered as well. – Cascabel May 18 '18 at 19:38
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    @Cascabel right, if comments don't work, then consider post notices (and eventual deletion). This is for things that affect the applicability of an answer; wrong answers should be downvoted, but unsupported and inapplicable answers should be candidates for deletion. – Monica Cellio May 18 '18 at 19:41
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    @MonicaCellio i think you have your hand on the pulse of the issue here. For instance in apaul's recent question we had a lot of people questioning semantics of the premise (whether or not the stated examples were homophobic - missing the point that it wasn't about that but about the perception), but I'm not sure how to solve that. The question and author were clear about the constraints of the scenario, they were just ignored. – user308386 May 18 '18 at 20:07
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    @user5389107 if somebody asks (I don't have that question in front of me, so I'm making this up instead) "how do I come out to my homophobic father, who has done X and Y in the past", and somebody answers "X and Y aren't homophobic because...", then that is not an answer. – Monica Cellio May 18 '18 at 20:12
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    I think often what we see is things that deny the premise and then use that to reach a similarly unhelpful conclusion; something in the vein of "that's not homophobic, he has a right to those opinions, just come out and deal with it". – Cascabel May 18 '18 at 20:23
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    Or more aptly in the recent one "Instead of pointing out their homophobic behavior, examine if it's not you who is unreasonable, and deal with that". In and of itself not strictly NAA but entirely unappreciative of the premise of the question and entirely unhelpful to visitors finding themselves in a similar situation. – user308386 May 18 '18 at 20:26
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    This is rapidly approaching a related issue, discussed a bit on the question too: when is it appropriate to frame challenge, or more generally, when is it appropriate to answer a question when one personally disagrees with the premise? In these cases, users who answer when they perhaps shouldn't often end up providing "support" for their answer, but this doesn't keep it from being subjectively extremely unhelpful or even objectively wrong. Perhaps it would be worth discussing that in a separate meta question. – Cascabel May 18 '18 at 20:39

The correct way is to write a better answer.

The SE model is quite easy,you are responsible that you reflect your experience or research to a degree that people can understand your answer, are convinced that you are right and upvote the answer.

So if you think that an answer is wrong, explain in detail what is wrong about it and how your experience and research invalidates it. Especially interesting is the part how do you know that an answerer does not know and that people do not know. Yes, you are responsible to validate your claims. Yes, it is your task to demonstrate that an answer is tone-deaf and offensive apart from your own opinion.

So the described problem is inevitably linked to the quality of the people providing answers. If they cannot convince people, it is not a "problem" which can be solved. If the community provides good convincing answers, the "problem" disappears. There is no independent judgement possible, who apart from the community which includes the answerers could judge?

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    The SE model does use voting on multiple answers as the primary means an end (high-quality answers at the top), but it is not the only way. Sites are absolutely permitted to adopt additional standards for what constitutes a sufficient answer, and many have. Generally this happens when voting alone struggles to achieve the desired goal, as happens sometimes on IPS. – Cascabel May 18 '18 at 19:35
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    @Cascabel You suggested the path of being more strict with back-ups. The problem here is always judgement: Is this a valid proof or objection? How can I be sure that my judgement of the back-up is correct? Heck, you even said that it is a problem. So, instead of shouldering more responsibility on the moderators, I would like to ask if the step is necessary and I must say from my perspective I simply don't see the necessity. Where are the knowledgable answers which are inexcusably neglected? – Thorsten S. May 18 '18 at 20:43
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    It's more about the non knowledgeable ones that are vastly overranked, and range from unhelpful to hurtful to the OP and others like them. – Cascabel May 18 '18 at 20:56
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    @Cascabel This is exactly the very same problem. The unhelpful, hurtful non-knowledgable ones are overranked because helpful, understanding knowledgable answers are missing! As you see here, people are quite capable to find the downvote button and I really think they can find also the upvote button. If someone complains: "My answer is much better than others, but ignored", perhaps (s)he should ask her-/himself if their answer is really that good instead of demanding that constraints should be set on other answers. – Thorsten S. May 19 '18 at 18:26
  • No, at least not entirely. People just don't always know how to vote, because they vote based on whether it sounds right. This is especially bad on HNQs, of course, and we do better outside of that. But it is completely possible to have uninformed answers voted right to the top, past better informed answers. – Cascabel May 19 '18 at 18:28
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    @Cascabel True. I also had one incidence where I knew the exact answer in Stackoverflow and it got only few votes. I asked even in meta if correct answers shouldn't be preferred which got quite a few revenge downvotes and a failed deletion attempt after it got under -4. The curious thing is that the answer fully recovered over time, some of the downvoters were thrown out and some voted it up because it explained things which the other answers were ignoring. So, yes, it is not 100% effective, but more often than not it does work, it is not easy to get a better system. – Thorsten S. May 19 '18 at 18:36
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    It happens, and it doesn't always recover. Like I said, voting works pretty well a lot of the time. This discussion is about trying to address the other times. It may not be easy, but that doesn't mean it's not worth trying, and as noted in a couple answers here, other sites have done so and found it useful. – Cascabel May 19 '18 at 18:45
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    @apaul I suppose you won't buy a long-winded argument about the differences between cultural ignorance answers and tone-deaf, aggressive guessing answers? – Thorsten S. May 20 '18 at 11:39
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    @Thorsten Honestly, we probably don't have to pick apart the differences between those two, to try to deduce author intent; neither is likely a path to useful answers. If people write an answer from a place of ignorance, it doesn't matter whether they're ignorant because they're from a sufficiently different part of the world, or a sufficiently different background within the same country, it's still not helpful. – Cascabel May 20 '18 at 14:03
  • I think @apaul said something similar a while ago. Admittedly different context but I think the point about flagging answers that are obviously wrong and writing a better answer to let the community decide through votes still stands. Arguing about these types of answers in comments or on Meta doesn't seem to help either way. – user15922 Jun 5 '18 at 19:01
  • @IceC context matters. – apaul Jun 5 '18 at 19:07
  • @apaul True but point still stands that this arguing isn't doing anybody any good. When there are these types of answers that we disagree with (even if the answer is inherently wrong it is still basically just us disagreeing with them, because obviously other people agree with them whether it is right or wrong) I think all we can do is flag them and hope enough of the community agrees, try to write a better answer, and move on with our day. Anything else just leads to bitter meta discussions and more work for the mods. – user15922 Jun 5 '18 at 19:12
  • @IceC Deleting speculative answers seems to be working well so far. See Shog9's answer above. – apaul Jun 5 '18 at 19:17
  • @apaul Maybe I am missing it but I don't see an answer from Shog9 on this post. Unless you are referring to this answer here on the post that I linked above? If that's the case though he is pretty much saying the same thing. – user15922 Jun 5 '18 at 19:23

Essentially just a mirror of Cascabel's answer, with a few alterations in terms of how to go about solving it:

Yes it is a problem. Yes, scenario's like this are one of they key reasons we encourage users to back up their answer. However, I do not think we should change our rules and start forcing users to back up their answers.

All of the reasons here (bar one I will talk about later) are exactly in line with why we encourage users to back up their answers. Why doesn't this site have a back it up rule clearly outlines essentially the same problem here and similarly, I think the top voted answer clearly outlines how we should go about handling this problem:


Yes, we should have a "back it up rule". It should be added to our help center.

However, we need to be very careful about how we "enforce" this rule, because good advice on interpersonal skills can be based upon an amalgam of personal experiences built up over time, and doesn't require specific parallels to what the OP is experiencing in order to be valid, high quality advice.

This rule should be used as guidance to help improve low-quality answers, and not a strict yardstick that should be applied universally.

There is only one single exception to this, and that is in answers that are inherently offensive. (I am talking about the one problem I did not address before where you said: "These answers can often be somewhat tone deaf, or offensive to people who have had experience with the situation in the question.") This is far trickier to deal with.

In these cases we can have an answer that is both not backing itself up and offending the OP. When the answer includes things that are obviously, and inherently offensive then we all know to delete it. The problem is that most of the time, the offence is made through ignorance and there are no actual rude words used and it is only offensive from the OP's subjective viewpoint. These cases are almost impossible to police as often those moderating the question may even disagree whether or not the answer was offensive or not and really, we should only be deleting answers like this if we can agree that it violates the be nice policy. So, answers that are not backed up, nicely worded but promoting what I view as an ignorant viewpoint I think down-voting is the way to go.

In the end, I see this as just yet another example of why we should be actively encouraging and up-voting answers that have backed their reasons up, even if we disagree because these answers are not leaving it ambiguous and are far more useful for our site.

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    The problem is that using it as guidance doesn't have enough effect. We can guide people all we want, but if we ultimately let answers stand and often gather upvotes, there's not much incentive to actually act on that guidance. It's great to say we should manage it with voting, but in practice that's not enough. This doesn't have to be a terribly high bar resulting in universal enforcement including answers based on amalgamation of experience, we just need authors to genuinely have some idea what they're talking about. – Cascabel May 18 '18 at 13:38

Backing it up is a great concept but how will we enforce it ?

Saying "I have experience in this subject" is easy to say and hard to disprove online. Asking for experience is so easy to fake that people are probably already lying about it.

Linking to studies can be cool and give an option for people to go more in depth with the source material, but it also has a couple of problems. You don't necessarily know where to find studies, you may have a read a study but have trouble finding it again, you may also link to a fake study.

A "back it up" policy is hard to enforce. Requiring experience or studies from people who just want to voice their opinion or use "common sense" will just make you see how easily they will be able to justify themselves by "experience" or other "studies".

So at this point we have few options :

  • We start to doubt every answer, asking for sources or experience.
  • We trust answers backed up by source and experience to be naturally better and trust people to recognize their value, hence upvoting them.
  • We get rid of the policy
  • We trust the OP to be able to pick the best answer, based on it's efficiency rather than by how it looks on paper (won't always work as OP can't just test all the answers and do his own little study.)
  • Something else

We have to decide who or what we trust. Studies are nice, but we can't do much else than to trust people with their advice or not.


Use a soft approach to improve the Answer. If that fails, deal with it!

  • Comment, best by asking the author for help to understand his answer. A subjectively bad advice with a highly up voted comment balancing it may show controversy on a topic better to future readers than any number of unrelated answers can.
  • Vote.
  • Post your own answer.
  • Edit, if you have information to improve the answer.
  • (Maybe:) Feature to mark answers as option/experience-based as a flag for readers?

Never delete those answers. (Popular answers, that don´t go against the be nice policy or are objectively wrong)

Stack overflow has a specific model that tries to reach maximum helpfulness by self-moderation. Picking and deleting specific answers because they seem subjectively low quality undermines this model. It´s basically saying the stack... platform is not working for IPS, we need a different format.

This is like democracy - sometimes you get things like Brexit or Trump which you may personally dislike, but overruling those decisions would invalidate the whole system.

  • This is like democracy, sometimes you need checks and balances to prevent bad things from happening, or to set things right after they happen. – apaul May 23 '18 at 0:12

It's a pity there is not a tool that when applied, keeps an answer slightly lower in the list, despite having a higher score, and adds a note at the bottom to explain that's the case.


The issue seems to be that once an answer is at the top of the list, it's also that bit more likely to get more attention and more upvotes. Usually that works fine, and it's what is wanted, but in a few pathological cases, an answer that is ignorant, guesswork, or harmful, gets established and at that point feeds off its own success, in a feedback loop, whether right or wrong.

Most times and in most stacks that self corrects - but not all, and this Q is asking about how to break that outcome for the few answers where there is real doubt they should be at the top, without harming the general flow of things or imposing some version of "mod decision" as to validity.

My thought is to break the linkage between votes, and position in answer list, for a few days.


Suppose a flag existed, call it the dubious flag. A question with the dubious flag will at most be allowed to rank as the 3rd highest answer on the question, and will display a message at its foot, something like "This question is being held back for a few days because of doubts whether it is valid or appropriate. You can still upvote and downvote it."

This will encourage users to consider its validity without forcing or overriding them. Users above a certain level might be able to flag that this flag is correct or incorrect in their view, as feedback on the flag itself.

The outcome would be that for a while, the dubious answer doesn't have pole position and is marked as one where a doubt may exist, so with luck over the next couple of days we will see specific efforts to addressing that, and more attention to answers not flagged as dubious, at which point the flag is removed as the harm has been countered.

In the case that this flag is applied where it shouldn't be, the response would (hopefully) be that users will still upvote it and mods will see support for the answer (and lack of agreement that the answer is dubious) by those users having an appropriate level, which will quickly suggest the flag should be removed. At which point the question is ranked according to votes as usual and no longer held back.

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    Eh... Seems like there's a big potential for abuse of such a flag, and it would probably creat a large workload for the moderators. It would also require mods to be subject area experts, and that's probably expecting a little too much. – apaul May 28 '18 at 19:32
  • There's very little risk or knowledge needed - it's not doing anything but holding the answer down a couple of places from top, and asking people to be critical for a day or so, then vanishes. Low risk - if its misapplied, users will upvote regardless and the answer will resume top place automatically when the flag goes in a day or so. – Stilez May 28 '18 at 22:39
  • This seems kind of insulting to users honestly, by assuming that they aren't already evaluating answers based on their merits. We can already order answers by non-vote criteria (oldest/active). If you do want people to ignore votes, I think a solution like how Reddit obscures vote counts on all posts for a certain time would be more fair. That way it affects all answers equally and not just ones that somebody decided were "dubious". – Em C May 28 '18 at 22:50
  • That's the premise as asked - the question poses as a problem that some Qs get answers that are ignorant ("don't know what they don't know") and which then get fueled by uovoters unaware of its shortcomings. If that's the case, then the question is specifically saying that there are questions not evaluated on their true merits, and asks what can be done. If this is objectionable or incorrect ("kind of insulting"), the issue would lie with the OP ... but others don't seem to agree. If the OP is right then this is a low-risk, low-harm approach, which doesn't override the users to fix it. – Stilez May 29 '18 at 7:00
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    I actually do think (some of) the premise of this question is problematic. But other answers have been able to address the root issue (how to deal with people pitching in with uninformed opinions) without resorting to selectively manipulating voting. – Em C May 29 '18 at 12:18
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    I have a problem with this because it suggests that our users who vote are nothing more but "upvote highest answer" machines. Trying to get moderators (!) (who are not supposed to have to be subject matter experts) to decide essentially which answer gets upvoted and which doesn't is completly contrary to stack's way of doing things. – user308386 May 29 '18 at 12:28

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