15

While using the new review tool for poor quality answers, I keep coming across a pattern that leaves me thinking there must be a better way to handle it. Take the following question, for example.

https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/53848/stuff-you-learned-in-school-that-you-have-never-used-again

This question was closed as not constructive, rightly so. However, then a bunch of its answers also get flagged for the tool, primarily because they express a short, list item opinion as an answer to a question that encourages short, list item opinions. I see this pattern over and over again of closed questions that encouraged poor answers.

There has to be a better way to handle these kinds of answers. Is "bad answer bait" a valid reason to delete a question rather than deal with each answer individually? Is there another preferred way to handle this situation? Should that method be spelled out in the review tool?

12

I've noticed the same thing.

Part of me wonders if it's a problem with the tool. The way I see it, if a question is closed, then its answers are equally suspect. I don't think the review tool should display answers to closed questions for review. If a question is edited sufficiently to warrant reopening and I was going to mod-reopen it in response to a flag, I'd go through the answers and either mod notice/comment on (for users who are recently active) or delete (for users who are inactive) any poor/low-quality answers.

As far as deleting questions, I think it's something we should do. Even though there are a few automated tools, they only catch the worst of the worst closed questions. I think someone built a query in Data Explorer to find questions that have been closed for longer than 6 months. Any question on this list that doesn't add value should be deleted or locked as appropriate. 6 months has been plenty of time for someone to try to make a heroic edit - if it hasn't happened yet, it probably won't.

  • 3
    Until a question is actually deleted, I believe each answer should be evaluated. Sometimes bad questions do indeed get good answers. Additionally, it doesn't seem right to let bad answers continue to get upvotes on closed questions out of popularity either. If a closed question isn't bad enough to warrant deletion, I believe we should clean up the answers that are definitely in need of removal. – jmort253 Sep 6 '12 at 4:32
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    @jmort253 I personally want to cry when I see the top voted and accepted answer of a question be nothing but a paste of an XKCD comic. – maple_shaft Sep 6 '12 at 8:57
  • +1 for the suggestion of time limit on closed questions, although I think that it makes sense only for some types of close reasons. A modest amount of rightfully closed duplicates can greatly help to enhance searchability of a frequently asked question; especially if no one merged the answers yet. – Jirka Hanika Sep 7 '12 at 6:54
  • I still am against deleting questions. There is still good (anecdotal) data and useful answers for random people. Simply because its not useful to you doesn't mean its not useful to others – TheLQ Sep 8 '12 at 21:50
9

The goal of closing a question is to suspend answer activity until such point that the question can either be improved through an edit or eventually deleted.

Even if the question were to be closed, then it is still appropriate in my opinion for others to flag answers that require moderator attention. If it becomes reopened then those bad answers will still exist.

Some questions however are that special kind of question where if you really think about what is being asked, it is a good question, however the nature of the subject, whether it be controversial or not, just seems to bring out the off topic flame and holy wars that the OP was hoping to avoid. It is my hope that we as a community make an effort to save these questions from bad answers.

Other questions seem good, however will breed bad answers like a cockroach infestation. You can keep trying to squash the bad answers but they will multiply faster than you can deal with them and before you know it, the question is on the front page of Reddit and has 50k views. It is best to deal with the question in this case to prevent the bad answers from continuing to spawn.

6

I wish the low quality post review tool offered that ability to have close/delete question options for low quality answers, because many times I find the question is useless garbage and removing the whole thing will kill two birds with one stone.

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