(Not a question) More discussion on the topic of quick selection of best answers in G2G

+16 votes
463 views
Background: In another thread (the "I agree" portion of the thread on discussion rules, https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1080262/what-do-you-think-of-this-new-discussion-rules-proposal), a member made a comment to suggest adding something under the "Check your speed" rule to discourage the quick selection of best answers in G2G. Several leaders then chimed in to discount that suggestion and argue that it's not a problem. I think there's more to be said on the subject, but I understand that it would be considered off-topic in that thread, so here I go with a new post.

The considerations said to justify quick selection are a) if an answer is posted by the most experienced member or acknowledged expert on the subject matter; b) if the selection is made by someone who expects to be away from G2G for a while; and c) the capability exists to deselect a best answer and replace it with another answer, if appropriate. But I'd claim that there are other points to be considered:

1) The selection of a best answer to any question has a tendency to discourage the posting of any additional answers or comments, particularly by less experienced members, since it gives the question the appearance of being a done deal. Sometimes those additional answers or comments raise relevant points and add value, even when they are not deemed best.

2) Even when an answer is provided by the acknowledged expert on the subject, it will be there, available for selection, after some time has elapsed and others have been given an opportunity to respond. The same is true for someone who plans to step away -- the answer isn't going anywhere and may still be best when you return.

3) Yes, best answer selections can be changed. Yes, when a member posts an answer that is selected as best by someone, the member receives a notice about the selection, receives G2G points, and may get a warm fuzzy feeling. The part left unsaid is that when a best answer is deselected and replaced, the member who posted that answer is not notified, loses the G2G points unbeknownst to him, and may experience a less pleasant feeling.

4) If I post a G2G question, I claim it is my prerogative to decide what answer provides the best response and the information I'm seeking. I don't care what your stature on this site is, you are not more qualified than me to decide that. And if I decide not to select a best answer, that's my call too. We occasionally see questions in G2G where it's not crystal clear exactly what the poster is asking, and in such a case it's really presumptuous for someone else to decide that his interpretation must be correct, and that his selection of a best answer should trump everyone else's.

5) Finally (and I add this reluctantly), we have all seen best answers that don't even answer the question asked, and selections that might make one wonder if somebody just wants to bestow a gold star and some G2G points on a "cyber friend." I don't really think that's a big problem, but there was at least one period in the history of G2G where that practice became so obvious that members even posted comments about it. So people who are inclined to quickly pass out those stars really should think about the message they're sending to the rest of us.
in The Tree House by Dennis Barton G2G6 Pilot (428k points)
And with all that said, I should add that I'm not really arguing that we need a hard rule about this that we would expect somebody to enforce.  I am saying that I don't think we should be advocating or encouraging these quick selections.

Several leaders then chimed in to discount that suggestion and argue that it's not a problem.

I was answering as a Wikitreer, not as a WT Leader.

I don't see a problem with the current best answer system.  I appreciate your position but I just don't think its a big deal (again, speaking only as a Treer).

by the way, thanks for taking this to a new thread...  I wasn't going to answer (only comment) but I think I'll post an answer now...
Well, when WT Leaders chime in on a controversial thread, as has happened more than a time or two in both rounds of the Discussion Rules debate, I think we p... (er, members, I almost used an offensive word) have to interpret their comments as the official party line, unless there's some disclaimer saying it's not.

I'm learning.......all these answers to questions I've wondered about...... but not got to asking yet.crying

I had written:

 I don't think it is a problem to select a best answer soon after...

wink

10 Answers

+11 votes
Dennis, well said on all points. Glad you took the time to post in this manner.  

I agree that the poster should be allowed to make the decision on best answer.  I really don't understand why anyone else is allowed to choose what is the best answer to the person that asked.  Does a teacher in a classroom allow the other students to decide what the correct or best answer is?  If others agree with the answer, that is what the up arrow is for.

I also agree that other posters could add more info to what someone has stated, but the selection of best answer may indicate to some people that there is nothing more to be said about it, which is probably not correct.

A newer person to wikitree probably has a different insight to a situation than some of the veteran WikiTreers.  They would see the question from different angles and could both offer help to the question.
by Linda Peterson G2G6 Pilot (520k points)

Does a teacher in a classroom allow the other students to decide what the correct or best answer is?

I believe the example is posed wrong in the context of G2G. The correct example would be:

Does a student in the classroom get to decide whether or not the teacher has provided the correct or best answer?

Correct!
I guess I can see it both ways, though.
So if you agree with the rephrasing of the question I provided, are you still of the opinion that the student [poster] is the best person to select the Best Answer?
The poster could be the 'teacher' asking the 'class' a normal question as they do of the students.  The poster could also be the 'student' who doesn't have a 'clue' as to what the answer is. In G2G, it is more frequently that it is the 'student' who doesn't know the answer.  In that regard, I think the 'student' would still be able to state 'who' gave him the 'best way to find the answer', who did that person feel gave him the most help so that he won't have to ask the same question again.

Just like in many situations, there are multiple answers to the same question and there are multiple ways of saying the same thing.  Some people may say 'what should be done', some may 'show the Help page' or something like that, some may fix the profile in question.  Depending on the question and what is being asked, any of those options can be helpful to the person asking.  I have found that giving someone an example to follow, at times, is more helpful than the help pages which can be confusing, but with the example, they can then see what the Help page was stating. When I do that, I usually follow up with a Private Message to make sure they understand it for the future.
I see where this is going, I for one don't kno much at all on the technical side of things like dna technical discussions, and I've seen some very technically written terminalogy used in these discussions, But if i ask a question and someone comes in and answers it it a professional manner that other "experts" in this field understand..they will see this as the best answer...while I will not. why? because I didn't understand half or all of what was said. therefore that does not make it the best answer for me. the person who comes in and speaks to me in an everyday language that I understand and explains what I needed to find out is the one who will still get my best answer vote, why because they chose to answer fluidly in a manner understandable by me, not in some manner way over my level of understanding.
Fact is that in most cases the original poster does not choose a best answer, let alone close the question to indicate he/she has actually read the answers and was helped by them.

The lack of that feedback makes people like me sometimes wonder "Why would I even bother".

If no one besides the original poster is allowed to choose best answer, which in principle I agree with, there should be friendly reminders that they have to choose one after a while. And in the same line: they should close the question if the issue is solved.

Michel - sometimes a question is left open to allow others to give input.  (A closed question can still have comments and replies, but not answers. This lack of ability to answer puts some people off giving any response at all.  I thank those who respond to my questions, but leave them open because you never know when someone will come up with information you didn't have before - such as when my old buzzard* of a great-grandfather went to Australia from America.

* He was .. he really was! cheeky)

+13 votes
I strongly disagree that the awarding of the Best Answer star should be left to the original poster.

After all, if it is a question, then they don't know the answer, so how can they pick which one is best?
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
C'mon now, Ros???  You ask a question and can't tell when someone has answered it adequately and competently?  What if I had lived my whole life needing someone to evaluate all the answers to all my questions for me?  I'd be the definition of helplessness!

But the asker of the question knows what best fits what they are looking for in an answer.  Whether that is technically the BEST answer is not really the point, just what appears to answer what they are asking.  (Some queries are obscure enough only the asker knows what they are asking.)  Some questions never really have a BEST answer, but, rather, many good ones, none better than the others.

Here's a made-up scenario:

Person A asks a question: "How do I do this?"
Person B replies: "Do it this way"
Person C replies: "Do it that way"

Person A really did not know.  So how are they going to know if the answer 'this way' should have the Best Answer star, or if the answer 'that way' should have the star?
I agree with Ros here. And expanding on her scenario, I would be inclined to choose either Person B's or Person C's answer based on what closely resembles the guidance provided in the Help pages (if there is one).

Otherwise, the answers are subjective and based on personal opinions and styles and there truly is no Best Answer.

If both "this way" and "that way" are technically correct, and it is simply a matter of, say, display, then the "best answer" will be whatever works best for the asker.  Think sources, for example - Person A asks "how do I?", and Person B says "do it in a list under sources header", Person C says "inline sources are better, because they link the source directly to the statement/fact", Person D chimes in with a long, involved explanation of how you should do x, y, and zed, and "ref name" is really great.  Person E simply says "list them alphabetically under sources header".  Person A is overwhelmed, but sees the methods as proposed by Person B and Person C work well, and chooses one of those methods, then selects whichever answer best worked for them.  Technically the answer so selected may not be the BEST answer, but it is for Person A.

(And let's not forget Person F who drops by to say Wikitree's "inline" sources are no such thing, Person G who says "you shouldn't list them alphabetically, chronologically is better", and Person J who talks of how sources not attached to the facts in the biography, no matter how neatly they are set out alphabetically, or chronologically, get all upset when someone else edits the profile and puts a new source in the middle of what's already there.)

Sometimes the best answer is really what the asker decides it should be.

Great example Melanie. I think that falls under my "subjective" stance at that point and there truly is no Best answer and one should not be selected by anyone.

So, we would be stating that the questioner is incapable of deciding which answer is the best because the questioner asked the question? And, instead, some nebulous entity or committee or someone appointed from above would select what answer is the best? Isn't this a lot like the unnamed 'expert censors' now destroying what little credibility remains of certain unnamed search engines and social media platforms.

The Best Answer system is not perfect. Yes, it has obviously been abused in the past with members trading stars with each other, etc. But, on the whole, "please don't fix what ain't broke."
Agreed. Person A is in no position to choose the best answer. It will require a person D.

But, but, Steve, YOUR post wasn't there when I started typing!  cheeky

I know Melanie, I saw the time stamp angel I was just posting before I ran off to another thread and forgot to respond. I mean it though, that is a great example!

+7 votes
Very good question.

I agree, that only the person who ask the question should mark an answer as BA, because only he knows, if he is satisfied with it.

May be that other persons think there is nothing more to say if somebody marked the answer as BA, but my opinion is that everybody would answer a question if he/she has additional information or something to say to it.

Your other arguments are comprehensible, that's why I personally mark an answer as BA only after a while, because as poster I'm interessting in what more than one person says.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
That would be a new star - for "Most Satisfying Answer".

What do people think about that?
Dieter, recently we had a Wikitreer post that they were creating profiles without sources.  I and a few other Wikitreers posted replies saying that it was not good and to please not do that.  Suppose some other new member replied, "Sure, I create unsourced profiles all the time!" and the original poster selects this answer because its the answer they want to hear.

A lot of answers are subjective and as such the original poster can take their pick.  But not all answers are subjective.
Sorry, I didn' know that it is so worse
+9 votes

I can understand some of the points mentioned; however, I think there are some underlying issues to this as well..

1) The selection of a best answer to any question has a tendency to discourage the posting of any additional answers or comments, particularly by less experienced members, since it gives the question the appearance of being a done deal. Sometimes those additional answers or comments raise relevant points and add value, even when they are not deemed best.

I believe this is based on user interpretation of the system. Seeing a Best Answer selection has never stopped me (or others) from participating in the discussions. We always invite collaboration, and the Best Answer is not meant to be a means to stop that collaboration and should not be perceived that way.

2) Even when an answer is provided by the acknowledged expert on the subject, it will be there, available for selection, after some time has elapsed and others have been given an opportunity to respond. The same is true for someone who plans to step away -- the answer isn't going anywhere and may still be best when you return.

One of the issues with this is that it already happens (no Best Answer is selected) and the thread eventually dies down and is relegated to history until it surfaces again as a "related question". You can easily browse through the full feed and find hundreds of questions that have great answers, some of which are repeating the exact wording from Help: pages (so we know they are correct), but the question remains "unsolved" with no BA chosen. This poses quite a few issues in itself, such as duplicate posts asking the same questions since there was no clear answer chosen.

3) Yes, best answer selections can be changed. Yes, when a member posts an answer that is selected as best by someone, the member receives a notice about the selection, receives G2G points, and may get a warm fuzzy feeling. The part left unsaid is that when a best answer is deselected and replaced, the member who posted that answer is not notified, loses the G2G points unbeknownst to him, and may experience a less pleasant feeling.

My personal feelings on this are that way too much emphasis is given to G2G points. I personally wish they would not exist - for reasons such as the one you raised. Genealogy and collaboration are not number games. Again, that is just my opinion.

4) If I post a G2G question, I claim it is my prerogative to decide what answer provides the best response and the information I'm seeking. 

I don't care what your stature on this site is, you are not more qualified than me to decide that. 

100% disagree with this. The person asking the question is typically looking for answers and feedback because they do not know the answer themselves. How can they select the best answer in that case?

So let's say there is a question about the Data Doctors project and how the suggestions are generated and processed in WikiTree+. The best person to answer those question is AleŇ°. He made the system, maintains it, adds new features, etc. While there are others with some knowledge about how all of this works, only AleŇ° knows all the finite details.

There have been cases where bad information has been selected as BA only because it aligns with the selector's opinion on it - not because it was the correct information. That seems very dangerous to me.

5) Finally (and I add this reluctantly), we have all seen best answers that don't even answer the question asked, and selections that might make one wonder if somebody just wants to bestow a gold star and some G2G points on a "cyber friend." I don't really think that's a big problem, but there was at least one period in the history of G2G where that practice became so obvious that members even posted comments about it. So people who are inclined to quickly pass out those stars really should think about the message they're sending to the rest of us.

I agree with this. Also see my other comments above that relate to this...


Edited to add: Since I was in the original conversation and provided my feedback, I want to make it clear that I was not "advocating or encouraging these quick selections" but was providing examples on how they can be helpful.

by Steven Harris G2G6 Pilot (503k points)
edited by Steven Harris

the Best Answer is not meant to be a means to stop that collaboration and should not be perceived that way

-

Stating such should not be perceived a certain way, will not prevent such perception from occurring.

way too much emphasis is given to G2G points. I personally wish they would not exist 

-

Oh my giddy aunt, I agree with you!  cheeky  But, again, they Do exist, we have to live with them, and they DO generate hurt feelings when certain things happen.

Points noted Steve, and it's probably not useful to keep debating the nuances of the points.  I'll just say that I'm skeptical of the claim that designating a best answer (i.e., marking the problem "solved" as you say) somehow prevents the question from being asked again.  And the only real reason I see for designating one hastily is that the question will drop off the bottom of the page and we'll forget about it (pretty lame reason IMHO).

But, again, they Do exist, we have to live with them, and they DO generate hurt feelings when certain things happen.

Yep, I see it as one of the major downfalls of G2G.

On another note, I had a thought one day and almost proposed it, then thought better of it just because I knew there would be backlash...

Basically, I thought that a helpful feature would be an area where questions could only be answered by topic experts. Anyone could comment on the post or comment on the answers, but actual answers would be restricted to those "experts". This would be similar to User Roles / Permissions employed by many forum suites.

devil Don't shoot me, it was a just a thought...

Well we'll definitely need a cadre of experts to designate the experts allowed to provide answers, and those experts can't include anyone who has any questions because there aren't any designated experts available to answer them, and they wouldn't be able to interpret answers on their own, and ...

Maybe it is that we need a real help desk here, not this kind of poor man's help desk you get on a free web site, and we'll have to make it a subscription service!

And I'm outta here before the sarcasm police come knocking!
+4 votes
Both sides have argued so well that I have truly gone back and forth on this issue. I have a clarification question to help me better understand. Is there a minimum time that must pass between the asking of a question and the awarding of the "best answer"? Should there be? Would the passage of a minimum amount of time encourage more answers and also help in the choice of the "best answer"?
by A. Creighton G2G6 Pilot (646k points)
Anne, there's currently no minimum time, and occasionally you see a star awarded within minutes of a post.  If there were some arbitrary time set that could be enforced in software, there would certainly be cases where a valid argument could be made that it's too long or too short for some reason.  My personal opinion is that if we waited until a thread "matures" before selecting a best answer, yes it would encourage more answers and help to clarify what is "best."  Obviously we do not all agree, and I'm sure we would not all have the same view of what "matures" means.

SJ Posts at 12:13 "Dennis is a Wonderful Wikitreer."

Dennis replies at 12:14 "Thanks, I appreciate the recognition."

SJ awards Dennis star at 12:15

Does this post need any more 'maturity?' wink

Usually, when I make a "So and so has just hit 500,000 G2G points," I don't select the best answer until the next day, after 5 or 6 or more people have replied.  That is true of most of my posts, I usually wait some time before awarding a star.  But having some time limit will prevent me from awarding a star immediately when I want.

Alternatively, if you want your post to age, you can always deselect the star and award it a day or two later.

cheers

Why SJ, I never would imagined, even in my wildest dreams, that a site leader would designate me a "Wonderful WikiTreer!"  smiley  I do get your point, but actually I don't like the examples, because IMHO neither of those posts deserves a best answer award at all. 

+4 votes
I see why this was posted but I don't really understand the reality of this needing to be posted, if that makes any sense at all.  If I ask a question on G2g, I should have the right to determine who answered what I was looking for the "best" to meet my needs.  I can't believe that these needs to be discussed.  Did anyone remember playing games in gym class as a kid. the kind where 2 ppl got picked to pick teams, and there was always those last 2 kids that in the end were embarrassed to be the last one(s) picked.  This is what this reminds me of...who gets to pic who?  is this really necessary.  If you want to pic best answers I think you should just ask more questions your "individual selves" then pic the answers that suit your needs... but noone no matter how smart educated world traveled, expert in fields of...etc should be determining a "right answer for anyone but themselves." that would be like my kid asks me a question and I give an answer..my neighbor comes over and gives a different one answer.... tell me..who should my kid be listening too?... and if you don't know the answer to that...well then.. I'm just smh..

btw...picking best answers is also a way to add to your own points on g2g isn't it?  well then is the drive to answer someone elses question with the best answer something each is doing. or is the drive to pic best answer driving some to hit the best answer button when it wasn't even their question to begin with.  ....again just a thought & shm
by Arora Anonymous G2G6 Pilot (111k points)
edited by Arora Anonymous
The 'other thread' where this question was starting to be discussed, but it was considered 'off topic' for that one, was because 'some one' posted that a Best Answer should never be selected quickly for any answer, that it should be hours after a question was asked.  That is the reason 'why' Dennis started this post.

Dear Linda,  I edited my 'opinion,' which can be found by finding 'Edit, add:' on this page:  (https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1080262/what-do-you-think-of-this-new-discussion-rules-proposal?show=1081083#c1081083).

Dear Dennis, Thank you.  I actually got a little weepy at the realization of how totally you 'got' what I didn't express very well. Oops, need a tissue, again. The truth, for me, is that I never could have written what you did (at the top of this page).  In your writing you gave skill and eloquence.  Please accept my appreciation, admiration, and respect.

Sincerely to Each, B.

Thanks very much for the kind words B.  (Linda called this post to my attention since I otherwise wouldn't get a notification.)  I'm confident you'll get over that weepiness in no time!  smiley

+4 votes
Just want to say I agree with all the points you've made, except maybe number 4, Dennis. If we must have "best answers" (must we?) I agree there should be a delay switch on the "best answer" selection, perhaps a combination of time elapsed and/or number of answers posted. I've seen "best answers" selected within seconds and when there is only one answer. To me, "best answer" implies there must be at least three answers from which to choose.

Your third point--oh, my...cannot tell you how many times my answer has been "selected" then "deselected" as "best answer." Hurt my feelings a bit the first couple of times. Now, it's happened so often, I just laugh.

Maybe, to prevent the situation in number 5, someone who has made one "best answer" selection needs to be "locked out" of making another for a little while, or each of us could be limited to only a certain number of those selections counting toward our G2G cumulative points for the month, or something. Say, we could each have a limit of 10 for the month so we would use them more judiciously.

(Goodness only knows if the software could be set up for any of this limiting. I know they set it up so the "up votes" in Weekend Chat don't count toward points, so perhaps it could. I do mark "up votes" in Weekend Chat, but only so I can keep my place in which posts I've read and which I haven't since that thread gets so long sometimes.)

Regarding number 4--yes, you, as an experienced WikiTreer, may be the best judge of which answer was the best to your question, but a new or inexperienced WikiTreer would not necessarily be the best judge of which answer correctly answered their question.

"Best answer" selection is just so subjective and arbitrary...I guess I understand the need for it but I wish there were a more objective way for it to take place.
by Nelda Spires G2G6 Pilot (340k points)
Nelda, I share your feelings about being deselected -- I have a few of those under my belt as well, and now I just shrug it off.  The members obviously have some differences of opinion on this topic, but you know, you have apparently given it some thought, and you're always free to put a proposal on the table and see what the reaction is.
Dennis, oh my, yes. Lots of differences of opinion. Always. But from brain-storming and discussing--which your post has initiated--sometimes some really good ideas arise which can be implemented to improve WikiTree. If nothing else, often discussions like this can cause each of us to examine our own behaviors and see what we each individually can do to make WikiTree better. You pointed out things which maybe others of us haven't considered before and now we will. It doesn't always take a "proposal" or a big overhaul of guidelines to make a difference for the good.
Thanks Nelda.
+5 votes

By the numbers, but out of order:

2) Even when an answer is provided by the acknowledged expert on the subject, it will be there, available for selection, after some time has elapsed and others have been given an opportunity to respond. The same is true for someone who plans to step away -- the answer isn't going anywhere and may still be best when you return.

When I see an answer I think is best, I select it.  I don't know when, if ever, I will come back to the question.  In hours, the question can be burried and short of making a list, who has the time to review questions read yesterday? (exception for my own posts, I usually wait some time for the post to 'mature')

3) Yes, best answer selections can be changed. Yes, when a member posts an answer that is selected as best by someone, the member receives a notice about the selection, receives G2G points, and may get a warm fuzzy feeling. The part left unsaid is that when a best answer is deselected and replaced, the member who posted that answer is not notified, loses the G2G points unbeknownst to him, and may experience a less pleasant feeling.

Good point.

4) If I post a G2G question, I claim it is my prerogative to decide what answer provides the best response and the information I'm seeking. I don't care what your stature on this site is, you are not more qualified than me to decide that. And if I decide not to select a best answer, that's my call too. We occasionally see questions in G2G where it's not crystal clear exactly what the poster is asking, and in such a case it's really presumptuous for someone else to decide that his interpretation must be correct, and that his selection of a best answer should trump everyone else's.

I agree with this only for subjective questions.

1) The selection of a best answer to any question has a tendency to discourage the posting of any additional answers or comments, particularly by less experienced members, since it gives the question the appearance of being a done deal. Sometimes those additional answers or comments raise relevant points and add value, even when they are not deemed best.

OK, you've sold me on this point.

If you were to argue for an addition to the text of the help pages to say this, I'd vote for it (I tried my best to write it in Chris Whitten style wink):

Consider waiting for some time before awarding a best answer star to a question.  Some newer members may see the star and assume that the question has been fully answered and this may inhibit the posting of additional answers and comments.  The additional waiting time also gives the original question asker the chance to read and evaluate all of the answers to determine which answer was the best response to their question.

I'd vote for it because it wouldn't be a rule, it would be a suggestion.  It would be a suggestion for folks to stop and think about the dynamics of the best answer process and to put some thought into it before selecting and I can't see anything wrong with that.

by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
I personally like your help page addition and think that would be a good idea.  I suspect it's unintentional, but I also see Steve's alluding to selecting a best answer as a way of marking a problem "solved" as reinforcing the point.  (Why would someone waste his time answering a problem that has been solved?)
+7 votes
When I was the monthly host of the Weekend Chat we decided to do away with Best Answer because it really did not fit that open format of fun and friendly banter and sharing of experiences both the ups and downs of life.  

No one seemed to have a problem with that.

There seems to be a trend on the Appreciation of Wonderful Wikitreer Awards to give Best Answer to the recipient if they acknowledge the award.  Once again, how is there really a Best Answer for an Award?  The speed at which it might be given is mute if one should not even be awarded

I think it is fair to say not all postings in G2G deserve or should expect a Best Answer to be awarded.

Now as to who should award it, well to me that is highly situational.   There are so many different types of questions that who should award it is probably highly situational as well.  

How fast a Best Answer is Award in my opinion is related to the kind of question.   A simple how do I do this that requires a simple answer may have it awarded to the first person who answers.   Example:  What are the headlines in the 1870 US Census?   Someone posts the answer and it is correct as it contains a link to the Census page that explains those headings and you are not going to get much better than that.   A fast award for the first response would make sense to me.  In this case, I would think anyone could award it.  

On the other hand a question that deals with what is the correct name for a confusing family line from pre-1500s may take a week of back and forth discussion.  Some languish far longer than that.  In this case the poster is the likely person who should award the best answer after everyone comes to an agreement or I should say a consensus... agreement is too strong a word...

A post letting Ales and his team know of a tech glitch like the tracker not working, Ales or his team member deserves a Best Answer when they say it is up and running .... if you think giving a best answer to someone doing their "job" volunteer or paid is warranted.  I can effectively argue both sides of that too...  Once again speed is not an issue for this kind of post, when it is fixed, it is fixed.  

So, in my humble opinion while I guess, because I don't know for sure, the whole points thing and best answer was turned on to encourage more participation.  But if it is actually creating problems then sometimes those decisions need to be revisited.  Which is what I think this thread is kind of doing.   No, I don't want to hijack the thread to answer that... even if it is a relevant sidebar.  But I have to wonder if it really does drive participation or in fact squelches it?

Announcements about events like Thons and Challenges also are likely not candidates for a best answer.  

Some questions, like this one elicit opinions and the best answer is going to be highly subjective.  Who should award it?  Once again a highly subjective view.   Some have said the poster others have said someone who points to help pages or policy that support their answer.  Once again, are opinions really fodder for a best answer? If no, then there is no issue of who should award something that does not fit a best answer criteria.  

Questions that ask policy questions should have answers based not on opinion but on policy or help pages.   When they disagree (it does happen from time to time) then it kind of leaves awarding a best answer in limbo.   When there is one answer to a policy question then the person who answers with links to the policy should be a contender.   Some people add more than the stated policy because not all policy and help pages are that easy to understand.  Those who live with the daily use of them may find them easy to comprehend and use while others new to them may read them and think they have just read some ancient language with no Rosetta Stone to help translate it.  I have run into a few of those on coding...  

I think trying to force any one size fits all response is counter productive and just drives people away in the long run.  So perhaps admins might want to run some stats as to:

1.  How often is Best answer award compared to number of G2G posts   If less than 50% perhaps it is time to turn it off?

2. How many posters of the thread award the best answer compared to others awarding it?   Subset to this, how often is a poster's best answer over ruled by someone else?  

3.  If a high % of Best Answers are being awarded by the same people then it might be time to ask why?  We need some of the other stats to determine what is a high percentage.   Right now I would start with anything over 10% might be worth looking at.  

4.  How often is Best Answer Awarded in less than 24 hours?   Then within that stat, within the first 4 hours to allow for some time differences globally.  

Those are my thoughts.   Speed is tied to type of post and so is who should award it.   But first I think some posts don't really even warrant a best answer to begin with....
by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (670k points)
edited by Laura Bozzay
Virtual Best Answer, Laura!
You make me laugh!   Of course, I don't think this kind of question really warrants a best answer!  But that is my opinion...
Seriously, Laura, you captured the nuances of this surprisingly complex question.  It's really three questions:  What does 'Best' mean?  Who should give the star? and When should the star be given?  The answer to all three is 'It depends,' which is why I like the wide latitude in the current rules for Best Answer.  Sure, it can be misused and abused, but the system provides a self-correcting mechanism by allowing anyone to remove or reassign the star at any time.
+1 vote

When to select a best answer? When the question has been answered to the satisfaction of the OP. It may not have to be selected by the OP, but has to provide the answer to the question asked; not just information peripheral to the topic. A best answer selection is not a requirement for all questions asked.

In my personal experience of answers, best and otherwise my choice for best answer is:

1. Provides the specific information I was looking for

2. Provides information that allows me to find the information I was looking for

3. Teaches me how to do something and in as a simple a way as possible

'I think the 'student' would still be able to state 'who' gave him the 'best way to find the answer', who did that person feel gave him the most help so that he won't have to ask the same question again.'

4. What I don't agree with: Not answering the question asked, and splitting hairs to the extent that the question is not answered and the OP is even more confused.

This becomes even more complicated when an answer includes statements disputing when something impeccably well documented happened because the answerer seems to not want to accept what happened and when. The facts are deemed not to be important just the opinion expressed in the answer.  Yes I'm being deliberately vague.  

by M Ross G2G6 Pilot (179k points)

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