The Workplace seems pretty subjective. There are guidelines for Good Subjective, Bad Subjective Questions, but what are the guidelines for answers? When should I flag an answer as 'Not an Answer'?
The goal of any Stack Exchange site including The Workplace is to provide a high-quality resource for future visitors. Answers provide value in the following three ways:
- Answering the question
- Explaining why and how it is correct
- Providing additional information not covered by other answers
If an answer doesn't match all three criteria, you should downvote, leave a comment explaining how the answer can be improved, and flag it as 'Not an Answer' if it isn't edited. Maintaining the quality of the site means making sure that answers actually address the question.
Answer the Question
An answer needs to answer the question being asked. Answers can fail to do this in one of three ways:
- Asking for clarification in the answer
- Adding information to another answer
- Answering a question that hasn't been asked
Sometimes the question isn't clear and to give a good answer requires a bit of additional information. That is what comments are for. If you need more information to provide an answer, make a comment instead.
Sometimes you agree with another answer, but want to add an additional thought. Don't just answer, "I agree with everything that Alice said. I just want to add..." Make sure that you answer the question fully, or if you agree with what Alice said, you can make a comment, or even make an edit to her post.
Changing the Question
If someone asks, "How should I list awards on my resume?" any answer should include details on how to include awards in a resume. People will come here from search engines because they are looking how to do it. If you think that awards shouldn't be included on resumes most of the time, that's fine to add, but make sure you also tell someone how they should include that Nobel Prize they won.
Explain Why and How
Answers should be backed up either with a reference, or experiences that happened to you personally. So you think awards should be listed chronologically on a resume. Why? And how? Why chronologically? Should I list my high school science fair blue ribbon before my Nobel Prize? Do you list the award first? The year achieved first? What you received the award for?
Answers should not just state an opinion. Avoid using words like, "I think" or "In my opinion". That is implied. Rather than adding qualifiers, focus on adding explanation and/or evidence to back up your answer and it will be better received.
This rule applies to any answer, but is very strongly enforced against answers that tell the asker to quit their job. There are a lot of reasons that someone cannot easily quit their job, so if you do believe that is your answer, focus extra hard on making sure you provide very good justification for your answer.
Provide Additional Info
Me too answers are strongly discouraged. Make sure that your answer provides a different perspective over other answers, or is more comprehensive in explaining why and how over an existing answer. If there is a very solid answer you agree with, then upvote it, don't just post another answer saying the same thing.
If you have additional information you want to add, feel free to comment or edit instead of making a new answer. Duplicate answers don't add any value to the site. Adding more answers to a question means it is harder for people looking for the answer to their question to find what they are looking for since the same information may be stated several times.