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I have read Should easy questions be left for beginners? That is, beginners like answering questions too?.

TL;DR I want to propose a system similar to the linked post, but one that does not prevent experts from answering beginner questions.

We could have a system where it's up to an expert to decide (only decide, not restrict anyone) whether a question is going to be easy to answer.

Example

  1. Alice posts a question. Alice does not know it yet, but her question does not require advanced knowledge to answer.
  2. An experienced user (I'm defining it as someone with 10k rep or greater just to aide discussion), Bob, comes across the question. As usual, Bob can answer, close, mark as duplicate, comment, edit etc but crucially, Bob can also "enable" a beginner parameter and not answer the question.
  3. Now, if Charlie (who is slightly more experienced than Alice, but not as much as Bob) finds this question, Charlie knows that there is a decent chance he can answer it. What's more, he could simply search for beginner questions.

Features of the system

  • Only experienced users (which I exemplified as >=10k rep) can mark questions as beginners. This should reduce chances of Dunning-Kruger Effect/Imposter Syndrome messing with this aspect of the questions.
  • Marking a question as "beginner" does not prevent experts from answering it. It just provides a way for experienced users to express choice, and novice users a way to feel confident about a question.
  • Marking as duplicate, closing off-topic questions etc still works as normal.

Responding to concerns from linked post that this might resolve:

  • Speed of answers would almost certainly decrease.

    If you start trying to limit the people who can answer particular questions because they are "too easy" then you run the risk of having nobody answer that question.

    I don't really have a cure for this. However, since experts are still allowed to answer, chances are brighter that the question will be answered in a reasonable time frame.

  • It would be impossible to manage/implement

    Would it? We're just providing one choice here.

  • Experts like answering questions too, what right do we have to ask them not to?

    This is pretty much the premise behind my proposal.

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    So what incentive would someone have to mark a question as beginner. To be able to do so, you must already know the answer. What is there to gain for them by not answering a question, while that exact fact is what the entire gamification system is build upon?
    – Luuklag
    May 31 at 14:29
  • @Luuklag From the POV of reputation and gamification... I don't have an answer to that, sorry. If someone is both experienced and willing to let others have a chance, they now have a way to promote that; for others who prefer to have the rep from an upvoted/accepted answer instead, this doesn't change anything or impede them. May 31 at 14:32
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    The word "tag" is in the title, and that has a specific meaning when talking about SE. Do you mean for this to be a question tag, as in one of [feature-request], [questions], [answers], [new-users] such as you've used here?
    – bobble
    May 31 at 14:33
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    @bobble I purposely didn't specify a mechanism. Since tags are limited to 5, I don't know whether we should consume one of them for this "beginner" label, or add a separate indicator. I'll edit the title of my post though, to avoid misuse of the term "tag." May 31 at 14:36
  • @Luuklag It's also possible that an experienced user may find beginner questions boring, so it gives them a way to avoid those in one glance. May 31 at 14:46
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    The opposite would be more valuable IMHO: A way to label the question as almost certainly a duplicate, which prevents hordes of beginners from posting near-identical low-quality answers in quick succession. If somebody comes along with the time and talent to find the duplicate in spite of the hurdles posed by the abysmal search functionality in the close box, perhaps they should get some sort of reward.
    – tripleee
    May 31 at 14:49
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    What is the long-term benefit of this proposal towards the larger majority of our users - the people who land on questions after searching the Web? In what way are they helped by this?
    – VLAZ
    May 31 at 15:36
  • It also seems like a sufficient rep user can already edit a question to write "this is a beginner question". Although they probably won't do that because it's annoying. Jun 1 at 6:27
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    I have seen some incredibly horrible answers from users with tens of thousands of reputation, how much reputation, doesn’t guarantee the quality of an answer. I probably see one of those weekly on my primary community, when downvoted, it’s immediately deleted. Don’t understand why “beginners” need to have their hands held to answer a question
    – Ramhound
    Jun 1 at 12:43

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Irrespective of your experience in a subject matter or in a technology domain, if you can provide an answer that is, at a minimum, not wrong, then it doesn't matter if you're a ten-year veteran in the field or if you're literally in high school.

Some of my earliest answers on the network pertained to Ruby on Rails in which, coming out of college, I had next to zero experience on. But that didn't mean I wasn't able to at least point someone in the right direction on it.

So it doesn't matter if you're a beginner or not. If you feel like you can answer a question, then answer it.

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