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Sometimes, I know the answer to a question, but I don't know the accepted, scholarly, book-definition vernacular to use in my description of the answer. While it is never my intent to publish misinformation or spew ignorance, sometimes it happens simply because, well, there is knowledge out there of which I am still ignorant.

To combat this type of situation, I propose a review queue for answers. In the event someone posts an answer to a question, and they are aware that it likely is using improper terminology, the author of the answer could push it to a review queue for experts in that field to optionally provide assistance with terminology.

Defining an expert

An expert would be defined as someone with at least a language specific badge for one of the questions tags (bronze should be sufficient):

Earned at least 100 total score for at least 20 answers in the <insert language here> tag.

While earning a badge on StackOverflow doesn't necessarily qualify one as an expert in a field, it does mean that they might have been exposed to the knowledge required to fix the terminology in a specific answer.

By requiring the above badge, the user will have had to earn at least 2000 reputation, though, their actual total could be less if they have a lot of down-voted questions or/and answers.

I feel like this threshold would represent users who wish to maintain the integrity of StackOverflow.

How it might work

I imagine, while writing my answer, I could enclose a portion of my answer in double question marks. For example:

You should pass your class dependencies through your class's ??creation function??

This would automatically enter the answer into the answer queue, highlighting the portion of the answer that is in question.

StackOverflow user looks at the queue, sees the highlighted word, with its context, and realizes that it should say constructor instead of creation function. From here, two things could happen:

  • It is immediately accepted and an edit is applied to the original question.
  • It enters a new queue where it is voted upon by other "experts". Perhaps this option is reserved for those with less than <10k reputation.

Combatting abuse

Here are some suggestions for the system that might help keep users from spamming the queue:

  • Require at least 500 reputation to enter an answer into the queue.
  • Regardless of how many ??<term>?? occurrences are in the answer, the answer is only entered into the queue once.
  • Restrict the number of entrances into the queue to 5 concurrent requests per StackOverflow user.
  • Restrict the number of entrances into the queue per day to 5.

The above numbers are semi arbitrary. Perhaps a different threshold would be more effective?

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Let our powers combine, but not for a lousy TV show, just to make SO better. –  Won't Jan 24 '14 at 15:56

1 Answer 1

I'm not really convinced that this is such a big issue that queues need to be added to deal with it.

People correct incorrect terminology with edits already and assuming the user group with the smallest technical vocabulary is new users, there are already two queues which highlight their posts for review.

Also, it shouldn't really matter what word they use as long as they convey the meaning correctly keeping the question/answer clear to understand.

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I often see answers where terminology that describes something else is used incorrectly to describe the current situation. Maybe my example above didn't clearly portray this relationship. Imagine an answer that states: You should define some local variables on your class to use within your class function. local variables is used incorrectly here, but could still convey meaning when supported by a code example. That doesn't make it okay to use the improper terminology in my opinion. Again, this is a naive example, but I hope it gets my point across. –  crush Jan 24 '14 at 15:13
Also, the idea was to draw attention to the answer, rather than depending upon an expert to randomly come across the answer, and exert the effort to fix it. –  crush Jan 24 '14 at 15:13
Please note this is a voluntary action by the author. The author wants clarification. This is the primary distinction here that would require some type of system whereby "experts" could be drawn to "fix" the answer. It is a tool to help educate the author of the answer. I suppose the author could always just submit a new question asking for clarification of the right terminology to use. –  crush Jan 24 '14 at 15:18

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