All is good.

There is a user who recently has joined Stack Overflow. He seems to be very keen on answering and very active on site. For about 50 days, he has gained over 4,5K of rep points from just answering as he has not asked any questions. He seems knowledgeable and provides answers [1]. Obviously there is nothing wrong with his activity and sure thing, we are happy we have gained another good guy in our community. I don't want to reveal his identity as it's not a case of judging him and I wouldn't want him to become a potential target.

Is it really all that good?

While all the activity is great and askers leave happily and satisfied with the answers provided, those answers mostly like this


Try this // some code

Try that // some code

This should work // some code

This works // some code

People get what they want (accept and/or upvote and leave) but in terms of how useful answers like those are to any future visitors and quality of them is concerning me.


Community edits are allowed but it's rather designed to help fixing of expired links or update answers on regular basis (if technology updates), etc. It's not for sure designed to edit someone's post to be up to the standards - because what's the point? Might as well post my own answer.

It wouldn't feel right to mark an accepted(sometimes not) and possibly with an upvote or 2 answer as a poor quality(or is that the right, hard-way?). Even though it is a poor quality answer in reality it does solve the problem and help the original poster. Also, the user is answering at a high rate(~20 answers per day) and I wouldn't have enough votes to mark all his answers as poor quality; just forget this approach.

I don't want to add a comment under each answer saying, hey while the code solves the problem the answer itself does not explain well what is happening and what have you done to fix it. Again, I would need all the time in the words to that (please do not mention auto-comment script ;)); forget this as well.

Do something but do not scare him away.

What can I/we do to encourage new users keen on answering to provide a higher quality answers? Don't punish him for what he has done - he might be new to site and not aware of rules and standards yet but do something to make him aware of it without filling a complaint. What are my options to help this group of people who are helpful and we want to see them around to become familiar with Stack Overflow standards?

PS. A potential solution could be an introduction to META, as it does help people and rise their awareness of how the community wants Stack Overflow to be. While I see this as a potential solution, how do I gently introduce a user to come and join meta discussion?

  • 12
    What you have ruled out is what I do. Not user-by-user, but in the review queues, "This would be a better answer if you explained how it works" or "where that line of code goes" or "how it is different from the code in the question". About 3/4 of the time the person improves their answer and @-replies me to say they did. Jan 28, 2014 at 15:54
  • 2
    On the whole, new answerers discover for themselves how to provide more value, over time. If you think the answers are not helpful then you can always vote on the posts. Jan 28, 2014 at 15:56
  • 4
    I agree with Kate: "This would be a better answer if you explained how the code works."
    – user102937
    Jan 28, 2014 at 17:01
  • 1
  • 4
    Also, I learned from @-replying bad editors that people with good intentions don't need a flag, comment, or downvote on each of the 20 times a day they're doing it wrong. They need it just once, they say "Thankyou" and they're better from then on. Jan 28, 2014 at 19:02


You must log in to answer this question.