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Sometimes an answer will simply suggest a fix but not explain why the fix is desirable or correct. I suggest when marking an answer as "answered" the user be able to choose what percentage of "how" and what percentage of "why" the answer provided. Or, allow two answered paths, one for "how" and one for "why". That way readers will understand if the answer is simply a suggested fix that just works, or a fix with some reasoning behind it.

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How about just not accepting or upvoting answers that fail to sufficiently answer the question. I mean, choosing a percentage? Really? – Cody Gray Jul 17 '13 at 13:37
I think the difference between "if the answer is simply a suggested fix that just works, or a fix with some reasoning behind it." is pretty easy to see even without a percentage to show. – Old Checkmark Jul 17 '13 at 13:52
That's a good point. If someone copies and pastes code from an answer which doesn't include a source or explanation, it's a risk they are willing to take. That could be based off number of upvotes or just perceived quality of the answer. Whether it explains "how" or "why" is obvious by the answer. This was a stupid suggestion. Now the question is how long does it stay around until it is marked as not constructive. Please place bets below. – dseibert Jul 17 '13 at 15:39
@dseibert: I don't think it's not constructive or that it should be closed. I think people just agree with you that it shouldn't be implemented. – David Robinson Jul 17 '13 at 15:44
Just the fact that there is a place to suggest changes where suggestions are actually read and considered makes me happy. – dseibert Jul 17 '13 at 15:52

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I think this would overcomplicate something that already has to be explained to a lot of new users. I wouldn't want to see another barrier go up to getting people to accept answers. People can already comment on an answer to their question if they think accepting it needs further clarification.

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Don't accept an answer you're not happy with. If an answer solves your problem but is incomplete, just leave a comment to say "thanks, but I'm not a copy-paste sort of person; I'd like to understand what I'm doing. Why does this solution work?" Once you have a good answer, then accept it.

Accepting an answer you are not satisfied with defeats the purpose of the system (rewarding quality posts).

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It's supposed to be self-correcting system. I believe I understand. – dseibert Jul 17 '13 at 15:40

Consider also the fact that, on questions with multiple answers, the upvote distribution is already an indicator of "percentage of correctness." Answers that are nearly 100% "correct" will gain the most upvotes. Partial answers will get a varying number of upvotes according to their value. Incorrect answers will have no upvotes, and perhaps some downvotes.

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Consider further that users with 1000+ reputation can see the total number of up and down votes on each question.

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This is a very granular indicator of how well the community received an answer. Near-perfect answers will have only upvotes, while answers with problems are likely to have a mix of up and down votes.

In summary, I think the existing features provide the information you seek.

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