On the advice of Shog, this has been reposted on Meta, slightly simplified
So it's no shock that we have a lot of poor answers here. We are having issues with understanding the current flagging, and problems with old questions with lots of bad answers.
Kismet brought jmort, Shog9, and myself in to chat at the same time, where we had a discussion on the issue of poor answers (note: pretty long, but enlightening discussion).
When someone asks a bad question we can put it [On Hold] to allow the poster to improve the post. If it doesn't get improved, then it will be deleted in a regular cleanup and our site is a better place for it.
There is no such option for answers.
Since graduation, we have lost a lot of people able to delete answers. That means the mods have to get involved. We are limited to voting (which doesn't have much impact when a question gets popular with lots of sympathy upvotes), or flagging (which many people seem to think we aren't using properly). This is less than ideal.
The community needs to have a way to deal with poor answers in the same way that it deals with poor questions, preferably without moderator intervention, and still giving people a chance to improve their answer prior to deletion.
We already have a great tool similar to putting a question on hold in post notices like this:
This post does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this post by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
Right now, these post notices can only be added by moderators, meaning that while any 3k user can vote to close a question, we are incredibly limited in our ability to do the same to answers.
Let's change that.
- If a question receives answers over a certain threshold, those answers are tossed in a queue for review
- For users over a certain reputation threshold, one of the options for that queue can be to add a post notice
- If a certain amount of users vote to add a post notice, it gets automatically added to the post without moderator action required
- Once a post is given a post notice, if it isn't edited in a certain number of days (like the 5 for a question to go from [On Hold] to [Closed]), it is added to the Low Quality Review Queue and can be deleted regardless of score
Proposed Post Notices
I think the following post notices would be good for our site:
When someone just gives an answer without explaining why or how it is the appropriate answer, we can use this existing post notice:
We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer: please explain why you're recommending it as a solution. Answers that don't explain anything will be deleted. See Good Subjective, Bad Subjective for more information.
Does not Cite Sources
When someone posts something about statutory or regulatory requirements (for instance, they say something is not permitted under the Americans with Disability Act) but doesn't actually cite the relevant portion of the text to allow people to confirm the answer, we can use this existing post notice:
This post does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
Me Too Answers
Often we have answers that don't actually add any value. They contain the same advice, same reasoning, same explanation, and just end up taking up space rather than providing value. We don't have a post notice for this, but I think we should request one be added with a notice like this:
Information in this post has already been provided in other answers. Please help improve this answer by adding additional information not already given in other answers. Answers duplicating content may be removed.