-11

This question already has an answer here:

Intro- Yes, this has been discussed before, but I have a different solution and some updated reasoning. Please, for the love, read the post before down voting it... (but then you can down vote it all you want, I know it's not a popular idea :)

tl;dr:

I personally think users should be able to flag answers that have technical inaccuracies (controversial as that might be). Then we should have expert reviews of flagged answers, and if the answer is incorrect it should be noted at the top of the answer by the expert reviewer so regular users can easily see the contradicting argument and vote the answer down if they feel so inclined.


Why? Well it has to do with how SE is changing. Back in the good old days of SO, most of the people who were active on the site were technically competent individuals who worked as programmers and sys admins. They had direct experience with the questions at hand, and could upvote because they had used the answer before and it worked for them.

Fastforward to today.

The site I'm mostly active in is Aviation.SE (though there are dozens of very similar sites at this point), where you have a core of knowledgable individuals who have worked in the Aviation Industry and then you have hundreds of people who are "enthusiasts", who range from private pilots all the way down to people with only simulator experience (yeah, that'd me in that last group there.) So a lot of the people voting on that site may not have direct experience with many of the questions being asked.

But, I'll be darned if it stops any of them from voting.

This is how "urban legends" are started, right? A group of semi-knowledgeable people get together and come up with a reasonable explanation for a phenomena, they all nod their heads a lot and, rather democratically, decide they must know how it works.

Of course the problem with this is that physical laws don't really care what you think. If one person knows the right answer, and everyone else believes a different answer, you're going to get that wrong answer voted up and the right answer will be snubbed.

This is a huge problem facing SE sites these days. Let's face it, back in the SO days you could just pop open a terminal (generally) and figure out "real quick" if an answer was true or not. But the ability to explain the answer to "How does a wing generate lift" can take years of schooling to get a grip on.


Solution 1: I think that in communities where "group thinking" may end up giving us the wrong answer, there should be an ability for people to ask for an "expert review". Over on Aviation.SE, most of the regulars trust Peter Kampf or fooot (as examples) to know the physics behind how a plane actually works. It would be awesome if we could flag an answer for their review, so that their sizable knowledge can be used to see through the mists of "common knowledge".

If one of the experts (who probably ought to be elected) decides the answer is wrong then they would flag it as such, along with a brief explanation as to why. Preferably near the top of the answer, or at least in a place where it's easy for people who are reading the answer to notice.

Now, I like democracy, so I personally think that at this point we could just leave it be and let people vote the answer down themselves.

Solution 2: I just go make my own site if this isn't what the community wants ;). I mean, honestly, isn't that what one should do at that point?


As a final note: Some of you may say "well, that's what the second and third answers are for, aren't they?" Well, no. Two reasons. Firstly, answers are not supposed to be replys to other questions. Secondly, well, it goes back to group think. If the first answer is highly popular (even if it's wrong) and it sounds reasonable, people will often vote it up without even reading the second response...

Anyway. This whole thing is open for discussion, I'm just tossing the idea out there is all.

marked as duplicate by random discussion Jun 23 '15 at 17:52

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • If one person knows the right answer, and everyone else believes a different answer, you're going to get that wrong answer voted up and the right answer will be snubbed. No. We're humans ya know (with some exceptions). All of us know reasoning. If the guy with the right answer is confident about the answer, then he will be able to persuade others. || Regarding your request, am I right that you're suggesting some kind of expert-review on the answers? If so, then I see why this post might gather a lot of downvotes. Experts are here for fun ya know. – Marshmallow Jun 23 '15 at 17:39
  • If people are posting "wrong" answers without citing sources, then no one should be up-voting. Sounds more like a voting problem than a "wrong answers" problem. – Catija Jun 23 '15 at 17:39
  • @M.A.Ramezani The review doesn't have to be comprehensive, some experts may be willing to donate the time. I doubt this would be a super common occurance. – Jay Carr Jun 23 '15 at 17:41
  • @Catija - So, you would suggest making an effort at changing human nature (or at least human nature as I've seen on this stack) rather than making a simple system by which a couple of experts can easily review questionable answers? I'm not saying you're wrong (because you're not), but that seems less likely to work... – Jay Carr Jun 23 '15 at 17:42
  • The problem is that we're a community of volunteers who hang out here because we like it. Yes, some of those people are experts, but most (as you point out) are not. One of the inherent difficulties is that we don't have a way of verifying someone's level of expertise, or depth of knowledge... you don't have to take a test before you can join a site. Wrong answers can always be upvoted, or even (gasp) accepted... and that's up to each individual user/question asker. There are questions with incorrect accepted and upvoted answers on every site and it's just one of the downsides of this format. – Catija Jun 23 '15 at 17:49
  • I understand it's a downside, that's why I'm trying to offer a relatively simple solution. People could volunteer as experts, btw, and we could vote on the volunteers. Just like any mod. It's kind of odd to me that this proposed responsibility is seen as overly demanding, but moderiating is somehow not... – Jay Carr Jun 23 '15 at 17:53
  • If an answer is blatantly wrong but accepted, a user should leave a comment, suggest an edit, or take it to Meta for discussion. Preferably, they should let the asker know the answer is wrong with an @ tag. – Zibbobz Jun 23 '15 at 17:54
  • @Zibbobz I'm really just trying to shorten and formalize this process if you think about it. Flag it == leave a comment. Expert Review == discuss in Meta. Then I added on the ability to have the rebuttle posted at or near the top of the problematic answer, thus allowing people who are voting to understand that there are significant counter points to the argument without having to scroll down into the (usually messy) comments, or having to stray over to Meta chat. – Jay Carr Jun 23 '15 at 17:57
  • @random I don't think this is a duplicate because it offers a different solution than previous discussion threads... – Jay Carr Jun 23 '15 at 18:06
  • Different solution in name, same premise of pushing answers in front of "experts" to spend time reviewing – random Jun 23 '15 at 18:20
  • @random I think the hope was that by using this particular approach the cost to time for experts could be lowered and the benefit to users raised over prior proposals. I was hoping i might reach an acceptable threshold, but I guess not. – Jay Carr Jun 23 '15 at 18:23
  • As an expert in a couple fields, this kind of pushiness would drive me not to participate as much. – user289879 Jun 23 '15 at 23:52
  • @santiago Nobody would force you to sign up to be an expert. I'm confused as to why nobody is reading my proposal closely enough to realize what I am actually saying. People would volunteer to be experts, and the community would vote on who got the role based on select criteria! Just like a moderator does now! Nobody would be forced to do anything, you only would be involved if you volunteered and were vetted, just like a mod. – Jay Carr Jun 24 '15 at 0:11
4

I think "Solution 2" is probably best here but that's just my opinion.

One bad thing here is that you are taking a community-driven site and putting the correctness of answers into the hands of just one or a few people. This is obviously bad for many reasons.

What if an answer is flagged for an "expert review" and Mr. Peter Kampf (don't know the guy so I intend no disrespect) says, "No, this answer is horse crap" but the community by large has indicated it is correct with support through upvotes and positive comments? Who is right? Who should people trust?

Now, Mr. Kampf certainly has the right to comment on it or even answer with why the other answer is incorrect and stating the correct answer (this is how it's currently done and seems to work on SO at least).

Also on, SO, many of us use chat rooms to discuss answers that we feel are incorrect and how to handle them. I assume you could do the same on most other sites with active chats.

There are quite a few folks in my most popular tag (Android) of whom I would trust their knowledge. However, I would still like the community's input on how things should/can be done instead of just one of those individuals.

All of this aside, you would need to find (after figuring out how) the expert users for each site/tag and hope they are willing to give loads of advice free on-demand because I'm sure this "request" would get abused quite often.

  • I'm not sure you read my suggestion super closely... I'm saying people would still vote on the answer, they would just be more informed when they do so... So Mr. Peter Kampf (who would never talk like that, fyi), would just post a rebuttal and people would still vote on the answer based on both the answer itself and the counter points presented by the expert review. – Jay Carr Jun 23 '15 at 17:44
  • The key difference between this and "just posting another answer" is that the rebuttal would be in a place that's easy to see. Thus hopefully circumventing the tendency of most people to just read the first answer, voting it up if it sounds reasonable, and then leaving. – Jay Carr Jun 23 '15 at 17:45
  • I think I read it close enough. I understand they would still vote. But there are still many other issues with it as I've pointed out. And thanks for clarifying how he would talk (thought I would inject a little fun) – codeMagic Jun 23 '15 at 17:46
  • "Thus hopefully circumventing the tendency of most people to just read the first answer, voting it up if it sounds reasonable, and then leaving" sure this is done but I would hope not by the majority. I don't vote based on previous votes and I almost never look at only the first answer unless I know it is correct. I'm just not sure there are enough facts to support it considering the problems that would arise. – codeMagic Jun 23 '15 at 17:47
  • We're human. If we don't really know the answer to something, we very quickly cling onto the first reasonable explanation that pops up. It's just an unfortunate side effect of being human. Only years of learning and expertise can really counteract that. – Jay Carr Jun 23 '15 at 17:54
  • So you're saying others will upvote an answer that may be wrong just because they have no idea what the correct answer is? That seems quite unreasonable. – codeMagic Jun 23 '15 at 17:55
  • It's reasonable if you think you know the answer. People can't be aware of what they don't know they don't know, it's a metaphysical impossibility. So it's not unreasonable, it's just human nature when you are misinformed on a topic you are enthusiastic about, but have little practical experience in. – Jay Carr Jun 23 '15 at 18:02
2

Ehhh, no.

I think that in communities where "group thinking" may end up giving us the wrong answer, there should be an ability for people to ask for an "expert review". Over on Aviation.SE, most of the regulars trust Peter Kampf or fooot (as examples) to know the physics behind how a plane actually works. It would be awesome if we could flag an answer for their review, so that their sizable knowledge can be used to see through the mists of "common knowledge".

People don't have to be the top users to know the stuff of the site in question. Sure, they have a lot of rep so they can be trusted to give you a thorough and accurate answer. But other people who don't have as much rep as them may have as much knowledge as they do. So when they answer, you can depend on them to give the right answers. That's why all of your questions' accepted answers are not from the same people. Sure, the "high-rep" people might disagree with Answer A and agree with Answer B, but there are times where Answer A is right.

If this indeed must be applied, we might as well make answering a privilege. We don't need to bother hard-working users just for their opinions here. Just let the community help out by voting and let the asker decide what is best to solving their question. I mean surely the top users will try to look at all the posts to see what they can do. If they find a good, reasonable answer, they will upvote the post and even help the answerer through comments. I mean, I'm a low-rep user when compared to Shog9 or Oded, but I can still answer correctly and in a good manner.

If the answer is wrong, just downvote it and leave a comment. The asker will know whether the answer is wrong or not, so don't bother asking the high rep users if their judgement is correct. Everyone is different so we as people have different opinions on what is right or wrong. I mean, that's what we do.

I just go make my own site if this isn't what the community wants ;). I mean, honestly, isn't that what one should do at that point?

Flagging, Duplicate of Aviation.SE, Flag Helpful, Site Closed as Duplicate. You will have a lot of competition to battle with so I would stick with good old SE. But is technically the best solution out of two here.

Firstly, answers are not supposed to be replys to other questions.

Well they kinda are. They are special replies that tell you how you can fix your problem in the best way possible. This is why we answer. To expertly "reply" with a time-saving, efficient solution to your problem mentioned in your question.

If the first answer is highly popular (even if it's wrong) and it sounds reasonable, people will often vote it up without even reading the second response...

We know what the Fastest Gun in the West is. We "improved" users have improved so that we try and will read all the answers to the question. We will read each and every answer whether it is from the #1 user or the worst (1 rep). Those who upvote the first answer and leave the rest aren't really here anymore. Even if the answer gets one upvote, the others might get a whole lot more upvotes, helpful comments, and even bounties and the occasional accept.

If you don't know what the answer means, don't vote! Go vote on the posts about the topics you actually do know and understand. I don't know how to use C or any of C series (sorry, Jon Skeet!), so I don't vote on those votes. I just stick with what I know.

We are a community and most and hopefully all of us know what we do know here. There might be the small amount of users who think they know everything, but their answers might not reflect that and might be heavily destroyed. Maybe one or two votes are from these people, but they cannot challenge the sheer power of the entire community. The community can go ahead and vote on what is right.

I said we would elect people who are experts. Perhaps they can shows us a vita if they are so inclined to apply for the position...

That is entirely wrong to do. Experts were born to be experts, not elected just by their rep count. Their rep states that we can trust them to be proud users who will provide good posts and be examples to others. I might know something that a guy with 5k rep might not know. We shouldn't elect experts as war will be open to us. Digital World War I?

To be an expert, you just need to know your stuff. To call people not experts when they really are, is just plain rude and slightly ironic to me.

  • Again, "improved" users is a bit of a misnomer. Most SE users do not function that way. I'm trying to create a solution that deals with casual users, not users who are super invested. Unless you can find a way to cut all of them out...they have to be dealt with. – Jay Carr Jun 23 '15 at 17:47
  • High rep users can post horrible answers too. – Diminutive Colossus Jun 23 '15 at 17:52
  • Then they should also be subject to review? I'm not sure how the rep of a user has anything to do with their abilities and I never said it did. I said we would elect people who are experts. Perhaps they can shows us a vita if they are so inclined to apply for the position... – Jay Carr Jun 23 '15 at 17:55
  • Regarding "just voting on what you know", it's a lot harder on some of the sites for users to understand that their understanding is overly simplistic. And there are enough people in the same situation that group think makes the "overly simplistic" answer appear correct by virtue of a high vote count. Trust me, they all think they know, and that's part of the problem. – Jay Carr Jun 23 '15 at 17:59
  • @JayCarr I was responding to this answer, not you – Diminutive Colossus Jun 23 '15 at 18:28
  • @TinyGiant, my answer is horrible??!! – Anthony Pham Jun 23 '15 at 18:29
  • @TinyGiant lol, sorry, I'm an idiot. – Jay Carr Jun 23 '15 at 18:32
  • @PythonMaster I was simply stating that high rep users are just as capable of posting bad answers as low rep users. I'm not saying that this answer is bad in anyway. – Diminutive Colossus Jun 23 '15 at 18:36
  • I am not but I just misunderstood your comment. I thought that you meant that I was the high-rep user and that my answer was horrible. Sorry! ;) – Anthony Pham Jun 23 '15 at 18:37

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .