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I witnessed a common phenomenomn where an objectively poor quality answer gets widely upvoted because people believe it's funny or because they approve people being salty toward OP.

I identify poor quality as generally short answers, opinion and advice-based, and possibly including salt and disregard to OP situation. For example advocating OP to quit their job.

I wonder to an extent if self-moderation in the Workplace function well enough for quality content to raise. It seem to have been discussed before to add in the FAQ a "back it up" policy to ensure answers are at least based on experience rather than pure opinion, but as much as I can see this have not been successfuly implemented. I wonder if other kind of policy could help identifying and moderating poor content.

In Interpersonal Stack Exchange, a stack I'm active in too, this wouldn't happen so often, because the number of post per moderator is low and the policy for both questions and answers are much more strict so the request to meet quality standards are always there. For example, a question that could belong to the Workplace have been closed because it lacked detail and expected outcome and would likely generate opinion based answers, but I'm fairly sure would be still open if posted here initially. This left me wondering if we are incitative enough to quality content.

As I would imagine, there should be general guidelines and example as to what is a good or bad answer, but the help and the FAQ are very relaxed on posting advices as answers.

So there is two components to this question:

  • Do you believe the posting policy are adequate to meet our quality standards?
  • If not, is there any specific policy that could help getting less salty and opinion-based answers?

I originally asked another question and edited for clarity.

How can we further improve the quality, especially getting rid of salty and opinion-based answers?

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    I guess we could disagree regarding what is and what isn't objectively poor. – Joe Strazzere Feb 24 at 23:59
  • My définition would be a short, unbacked opinion worded as "do that in your own interest". – Arthur Hv Feb 25 at 7:43
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    I don't think having a formal back-up policy requirement for answers would reduce the saltiness. All it does is force people to add anecdotes from their experience which are usually tangential and in case of someone who just wants to stir the pot, can be trivially made up. Then we're engaging in a meta-level argument over which experience scenarios are plausible and thus drifting further from generating good content. – mag Feb 25 at 8:49
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    Bottom line is, if you see a bad answer, downvote it. Delete vote it if you have the rep for it and feel strongly about it, but I don't think we should get the mods in the game of judging post quality outside of exceptions like an editorial board. – mag Feb 25 at 8:50
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    @Magisch What about other kind of policies ? Right now the help and FAQ are all very permissive about advices, but there are cases where they state pure opinions and provide nothing informative. I would very gladly edit/comment/downvote/delete answers that don't fit my personal standards, but I would prefer we had a community agreement about what should be edited/downvoted/deleted. Otherwise, it's just my opinion that something is "bad". Mods not necessarily actively judging. – Arthur Hv Feb 25 at 9:44
  • see also: Improving the System for Dealing with Poor Answers (@Magisch you see, a while ago it was considered OK for moderators to be involved) – gnat Feb 25 at 11:31
  • @gnat that was 5+ years ago. I'd say, if you want to do this, we would need a fresh set of community consensus for it. – mag Feb 25 at 11:35
  • @Magisch maybe. I referred this mostly to point that it's not something set in stone (except for Stack Overflow where this is just impossible because of scale) – gnat Feb 25 at 11:46
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    I wasn't making fun of the OP or anything like that, I don't know the chap/chappess (chappette?) from a bar of soap and I'm sure it's a nice enough person. I just answered the question without pretending I'm a therapist of any kind. – Kilisi Feb 26 at 3:45
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    @Kilisi There have been a lot of downvotes (along with upvotes) and comments on that answer for a reason. I am not a therapist yet I can perceive what violence there is when you advice someone that say he can't manage to be on time to "discipline himself". This imply OP don't have discipline / isn't an adult. So I believed it was rude and flagged that. – Arthur Hv Feb 26 at 7:40
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    @ArthurHavlicek no implication, it's exactly what I meant, I don't have any lollies if you want sugar coating. – Kilisi Feb 26 at 7:42
  • @Kilisi Interesting, you admit then you said something that's rude :) – Arthur Hv Feb 26 at 7:45
  • @ArthurHavlicek sure, mildly unpleasant, can't always have the answer you want and the truth at the same time. – Kilisi Feb 26 at 7:47
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    @Kilisi Personal judgement isn't true or midly unpleasant, it's R/A and should be flagged. – Arthur Hv Feb 26 at 7:48
  • Related. TLDR, answers can be objectively wrong and there's nothing you can do other than downvote it. All you can do is move on. (Rewording advice from a 47k rep veteran for of this site). Note, the answers linked in that post have been edited, so they aren't necessarily wrong anymore, but received something like 130 upvotes while being objectively wrong. – Mars Feb 26 at 8:39
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As I would imagine, there should be general guidelines and example as to what is a good or bad answer, but the help and the FAQ are very relaxed on posting advices as answers.

I think that cuts to the heart of the matter, and I think there's a good reason why the help and FAQ are structured that way. Ultimately, you posted a two part question:

So there is two components to this question:

  • Do you believe the posting policy are adequate to meet our quality standards?

  • If not, is there any specific policy that could help getting less salty and opinion-based answers?

I think you left off the zero-th component, which is do we agree on what the quality standards are?

Our site tour gives the follow description of the purpose of our site:

The Workplace Stack Exchange is a question and answer site about the workplace and other career-related topics. It is for members of the workforce to get answers on topics such as the job hunting process, interviewing, salary negotiation, and professionalism within the Workplace.

The challenge here is, many workplace "questions" on these topics are inherently subjective - or, at least, they don't inherently have a single, knowable, provable answer. So, we need to be careful when talking about quality standards, to ensure that we don't choke the site out of existence in the name of enforcing strict standards.

If I go on a technical SE site and ask about database indexes or some coding bug, there isn't really much room for subjectivity. It's easy to have objective quality standards, and it's often easy to trivially prove an answer is correct (by trying it out). A workplace question is rarely that black and white. If someone asks about including something on their resume, you can't go run off to a test environment, put it on your resume, run a unit test, and see if the answer was right or not.

So in the absence of strict "quality" standards, or strict guidelines on objective answers, we are in a position where we have a gray area around interpreting answers. Luckily, as DarkCygnus's answer pointed out, we also have a variety of tools for handling the gray area.

Going back to your opening paragraph, you said:

I witnessed a common phenomenomn where an objectively poor quality answer gets widely upvoted because people believe it's funny or because they approve people being salty toward OP.

Maybe you can ask yourself: why are you upset about this answer getting widely upvoted? What do those votes mean to you? What can you do about it?

If you disagree with the quality of the answer, you can comment to suggest improvement and/or downvote (or use other tools as appropriate). But others are ultimately free to express their own thoughts about the answer (i.e. upvote it).

If you feel that the answer is literally bad advice and you are concerned about the question's asker being left empty-handed, you can always post your own answer containing what you think the right solution is, and providing whatever backup or explanation you think is appropriate.

Ultimately, that's the beauty of this format when applied to workplace questions. Everyone is free to provide input, through a variety of channels. Even on questions with highly upvoted answers, I will often write my own answer if I feel something important is missing, or if I disagree with the existing answers. The person who asked the question (or anyone who later finds it in search or via a dupe tag) gets the benefit of a wide range of possibilities to consider. Rather than focusing on the ultimate answer, the community is able to provide and self-moderate a range of answer responses.

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I witnessed a common phenomenomn where an objectively poor quality answer gets widely upvoted because people believe it's funny or because they approve people being salty toward OP.

Except it's not objectively poor - you're saying you find it poor, so to you it's subjectively poor. Kilisi's writing style may be a tad brusque at times but "salty", really? I see no evidence that Kilisi had any emotion towards the OP, let alone the negativity you're ascribing to him. For full disclosure I was one of the 150 people who upvoted that answer - not because it was "funny" or "salty", but because I thought it was correct. 31 users disagreed - and downvoted the answer, this is how the system works.

If you see a post that crosses the line into rude/abusive territory then flag it - our able mods will then do what they do best.

In Interpersonal Stack Exchange, a stack I'm active in too, this wouldn't happen so often, because the number of post per moderator is low and the policy for both questions and answers are much more strict so the request to meet quality standards are always there. For example, a question that could belong to the Workplace have been closed because it lacked detail and expected outcome and would likely generate opinion based answers, but I'm fairly sure would be still open if posted here initially. This left me wondering if we are incitative enough to quality content.

This isn't IPS - and I'd be strongly resistant to the idea that we should implement their policy. I mean no disrespect to the good folks of IPS but that policy is staggeringly flawed IMO, as Magisch mentions in a comment (emphasis mine):

All it does is force people to add anecdotes from their experience which are usually tangential and in case of someone who just wants to stir the pot, can be trivially made up.

Aside from that I come to TWP to try and help others - often that means that answers will come in large part from my experience, often from accumulated knowledge rather than specific incidents. It's simply impractical for me to explain fully every time what leads me to believe what I'm saying is the appropriate answer. Of course, you don't know me from Adam - I'm just words on a screen. I could just be making up any old rubbish and posting it as answers. But we have the voting mechanic precisely to ensure that poor quality content like that doesn't rise to the top.

When it comes to regulatory matters - then that's different, these sorts of things can be objectively backed up (usually with freely available information) and in those cases they absolutely should be, many questions are going to generate answers that can be viewed subjectively. As evidenced here - you hated Kilisi's answer and I didn't, and that's okay - you're entitled to your opinion that a particular answer is poor or not useful, that's why SE provides the downvote button. You downvote it, I upvote it, and if more people agree with you than me the scores going to go negative and vice-versa.

When we're looking to avoid "opinion-based" what we really mean by that is avoiding things where diametrically opposed answers are equally valid. If someone asks two people what their favorite color is and one answers "black" and the other answers "white" nobody got it "wrong" despite their answers being literal opposites of each other. But if someone asks "what color paper should my resume be printed on" then the two answers aren't equally "correct", even though there's no technical standard or regulation telling you what color paper should be using.

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  • Upvoted for your last paragraph! – dwizum Feb 25 at 15:07
  • I point out an answer as salty, and I believe you deny that by adding assertiveness and salt so I'm a bit sad. In my humble opinion it's an example of casual unnecessary violence in twp. I upvoted for useful input nonetheless. – Arthur Hv Feb 26 at 7:29
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How can we further improve the quality, especially getting rid of salty and opinion-based answers?

We have several tools available for that:

  • Edit the post if you see it can be improved and easily fixed.

  • Comment under the post to ask for clarification or to request improvement from OP.

  • Flag or Vote to Close, if you see a post that deserves it. You can also modflag if something escapes the ordinary flag reasons. Higher rep users can also vote to Delete, again, if the post deserves it.

  • Upvote the answers that you think have high quality. Downvote the ones that you feel have low quality.

  • Protect a post if you see many low-rep users posting low quality answers, or comments as answers.

  • Post an answer if you see the others lack quality or are missing the point.

  • Join us in chat and share the post you think can be improved or needs attention, so a proposed solution can be reached.

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