When someone asks a bad question, the closed question system is designed to have three goals:
- Prevent bad questions from causing harm as-is
- Allow time for editing/improvement of the question
- Auto-cleanup if the question is closed and not edited/improved
With answers, we don't have that same luxury. There is no workflow. We can flag posts, but that requires mod interaction (and mod follow-up). We can vote to delete, but that is restricted to very high rep users, and requires that posts be downvoted first. We can only let users know that their post could use improvement through comments, but those comments need to be followed-up manually.
The current options for dealing with answers is only downvoting. On more subjective sites like the Workplace people upvote answers they agree with even if they aren't backed up by any sources and/or are just 'me-too' answers that don't add any extra value. These sorts of answers end up making a weaker signal because they only provide noise. Downvotes are not enough to deal with poor answers, in the same way that just downvoting poor questions isn't enough which is why we have a system to close questions. Also note that unlike questions, answers are not deleted automatically unless the question is.
(for reference, 5/33 of the posts deleted in the past 30 days on TWP had positive score, we also have many bad answers with very positive score we have worked to clean up)
We should change that.
A two-stage workflow should be put in to place for dealing with bad answers.
- Users can flag poor answers to add post notices, notifying the answerer to give them (and the community) a chance to improve the answer
- Answers with post notices that haven't been edited within 5 days will be sent to the Very Low Quality queue for potential deletion by the community
Make Post Notices Accessible by Non-Moderators
Post notices already exist and closely mimic the role that close reasons play:
- They inform the user what is wrong with their post
- They inform other people reading why the post is inappropriate
- They allow the community to react to bad posts even if upvoted
The issue is that they can only be added by mods, meaning that custom flags have to be used and making individual mod judgment more important to answer-moderation than community input.
Instead, I suggest that anyone with over 3k rep (500 on beta sites) be allowed to have an additional option in the flagging menu for answers as they have with the vote to close option on questions:
If you select that option, then an additional menu will come up with the various post notices that can be added:
The above notices came from the post notice tag wiki, but they should be editable by the community as certain sites may have no use for the existing notices, or want to add other ones. For instance, TWP could really use a 'me too' post notice for answers that provide absolutely nothing not offered in existing answers
If enough users flag a post to have a post notice added, it would be added, additionally these post notices would appear in the 10k tools flags so that higher rep users can view and vet them as valid/invalid.
Alternatively, we could make the same dialog accessible from below each question as its own menu with just the second dialog to make it more like closing a question:
Put Posts with Post Notices in the Review Queue
Even if the post notices are added with custom notices to the mods, those post notices don't get reviewed through any workflow. A custom search with
hasnotice:1 needs to be done to find them and deal with them, and if it has a positive score, then again it requires mod intervention.
We already have a system to deal with posts of questionable quality, it's the Low Quality Posts review queue. Like questions that go from [On Hold] to [Closed], after 5 days with a post notice, posts that aren't edited are sent to the Low Quality Posts review queue. In that queue, community members are given 4 options:
- Looks Good
- Recommend Deletion
The same workflow should work for posts with post notices.
This was originally posted with slightly different details on TWP Meta