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I've just been reviewing answers automatically flagged as "low quality" because of their "length and content".

Quite a few of these seemed to be sensible answers to Python programming questions. Because Python (and similar languages) tend to be quite concise, isn't it unfair to apply the same length threshold to them as for more verbose languages?

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I guess that boils down to the discussion "Is a single line of code ever an answer, or should it always be accompanied by something else". That's why I hardly make use of the low quality tab. –  Bart Jul 26 '12 at 22:29
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You should see how many of these flags we have to clear on CodeGolf.SE... –  dmckee Jul 27 '12 at 0:15

5 Answers 5

That's why users review them. You can't make it 100% accurate, and yes a lot of low quality posts don't require any action on part of the reviewer. But to find the needles, sometimes you have to search through a lot of hay. It's better to have to review some false positive than to let the bad posts you do want to get rid of slip through the cracks.

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Depends on whether the community can keep up with the volume, and is prepared to wade through the false positives. As I write, there are 62000 "low quality" posts awaiting review... –  DNA Jul 26 '12 at 22:41
    
I've waded through plenty of them. –  animuson Jul 26 '12 at 22:42
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The question is, should you have to? –  DNA Jul 26 '12 at 22:45

Firstly - do you have any examples?

Secondly - there should be some explanation of what the code does or why this piece of code answers the question. I don't know the algorithm, but I suspect that one of the triggers for low quality is if the answer is all code and no explanatory text.

If the answer doesn't need any explanation, then perhaps that's a sign that the question isn't a real question.

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"there should be some explanation of what the code does or why this piece of code answers the question" Should there? I don't disagree, but in some tags this hardly seems to be the norm. Quite the contrary actually. –  Bart Jul 26 '12 at 22:35
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@Bart - I'd say yes, in general there should be. There might be some exceptions but if the answer is that trivial is the question a real question? –  ChrisF Jul 26 '12 at 22:36
    
Some examples, taken from the first dozen or so "low quality" posts offered to me: stackoverflow.com/a/8854934/699224, stackoverflow.com/a/9121419/699224, stackoverflow.com/a/9110869/699224, stackoverflow.com/a/10559540/699224 –  DNA Jul 26 '12 at 22:38
    
Exactly. To me they all should have some explanation. But it's somewhat difficult for me to judge since those tags are also often outside my areas of expertise. And answers like these seem to be accepted by the community and do regularly involve high-rep users. –  Bart Jul 26 '12 at 22:40
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@DNA - I'd say that all of those answers would benefit from some explanation of what they're attempting to do, so it looks like the low quality filter is working. –  ChrisF Jul 26 '12 at 22:40
    
OK, but "could be improved" isn't the same as "low quality", to me... –  DNA Jul 26 '12 at 22:42
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"they're all outside my expertise". Actually that's more of a cue that some explanation is needed. Even someone without much experience should loosely understand the concept based on a few lines of explanation. We're not asking for a novel, just a little context. –  jmort253 Jul 26 '12 at 22:44
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Okay, but then how do you enforce that? "Looks good" no. "Recommend deletion" no. "Edit" I would have no clue. "Not sure"...guess so. –  Bart Jul 26 '12 at 22:47

It's not really "unfair" because it doesn't actually do anything other than bring some potentially low quality posts to light. For languages that are more concise it just means you'll have a higher hit rates of false positives.

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Some examples, taken from the first dozen or so "low quality" posts offered to me: stackoverflow.com/a/8854934/699224, stackoverflow.com/a/9121419/699224, stackoverflow.com/a/9110869/699224, stackoverflow.com/a/10559540/699224 – DNA 5 hours ago

Each and every one of these answers is low-quality. It doesn't matter how much or how little code there is; a blob of code alone, in any language, is almost never a good answer.

If you can't find the time and effort to write two sentences in explaining how it works or something, then it deserves to be in the "low quality" queue. And probably have action taken on it.

Personally, I'd say that the problem is with the people who write these answers, the people who upvote them, and the people who don't take appropriate action with reviewing them. We should discourage these kinds of answers, not ignore them.

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But what action should a reviewer take? The answers don't "Look Good", but they definitely aren't in need of deletion. Sure, I could add clarification myself, but that could go against the policy of not editing answers to change their meaning. I would love to see these answers improved (and would hate to see them deleted, especially if the code works), but for the most part it doesn't seem like having them in the queue does anything to improve them. –  Wilduck Jul 27 '12 at 20:54

If a question has an accepted answer, several more positively-voted answers, and then one that is considered "low quality", with zero or lower vote, why not remove it? Even if it presents a whizbang one-line solution, if there's no commentary, low score, and plenty of upvoted alternatives (including one accepted), get rid of it and nobody will ever care. Improve the signal to noise ratio.

This site isn't about retaining every possible solution, it's about the best solution. ...and of course there are usually several positively-voted alternatives. But it's certainly not about retaining a poor quality zero-vote or negative-vote post just because it presents an alternative that nobody likes enough to upvote.

Any answer (including those that display "one liner" code) is a better answer if it includes some explanation.

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What if it's the only answer given, but has no upvotes and is not accepted? Do you leave it then because it's better than nothing? –  Wilduck Jul 27 '12 at 20:59
    
If it's not inaccurate, I would leave it in that case. If I'm not sufficiently knowledgeable on the topic, I would also refrain from casting a vote on the suitability of the response. But where there are multiple upvoted answers, one accepted, and then one short, terse answer mostly showing code with no explanation, and a zero or negative reputation, the decision ought to be pretty easy. –  DavidO Jul 27 '12 at 21:16

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