3rd Party Awarding of Best Answer

+23 votes
I posted a question yesterday and someone awarded the Best Answer to an answer that did not answer the posted question.  I had stated in my reply to the poster of the answer that I had already seen that I had already seen what they offered and I felt my answer was implicit that it really didn't help.  If it had, I would not have posted my question.  LOL  But the person who awarded the Best Answer apparently didn't read that or understand what I meant.

But a 3rd party awarded the Best Answer to it. This basically estops any further answers as new readers of the post will think it has been answered.

As I added to my original post: I really wish that only the person who posts the question can award the Best Answer.  At least for the first 48 hours.  This 3rd party awarding of Best Answer seems to be getting a bit out of hand lately and I have seen many awarded where a later answer was actually the best answer or the so called Best Answer really wasn't a good answer as in this case.  Maybe G2G points shouldn't be awarded for marking the Best Answer, bet that stops it's practice real quick.  LOL

I will now add in BOLD that only I will award the Best Answer to my posted questions and ask others to refrain from doing so.
in Policy and Style by LJ Russell G2G6 Pilot (222k points)

Sorry LJ,

I couldn't resist awarding Doug the Star,   maybe you can experiment with removing it.devil

I never let a "best answer" appearance stop me from answering a post, and as noted below, it can be unselected at any time. I've had my answers unselected several times and it doesn't bother me unless the new answer is incorrect (rare.)
LOL Peggy.  You're gone. ;)

I agree with you and Doug,that I can deselect it, but herein lies my problem.  I added my post late last night.  During the night, someone posted the Best Answer.  What if the person who could have actually saw my question and could have answered it, but saw it had a Best Answer and moved on?  I doubt they would come back later to reread and answer my question.  Why am I encumbered to correct their improper decision?  Also, what about folks, like you, who did not know they could deselect it and then their real question was not totally answered.  Best Answer should really only be given by the Poster of the question, it's their question.

If they couldn't mark the Best Answer, then this question would be moot.

And I will add my 2 cents after a Best Answer has been awarded to other member's post if I fell I have something to add as you do Lynda.
Actually LJ,

I do agree with you.... I think only the person posting the question should be able to award a Star for 48 hours.  But it did make me feel a lot better knowing I could remove it.
I have seen someone give an incorrect answer.  Then the person that asked the question gave them a star because they didn't know it was an incorrect answer.  I can even remember the question, "How does one adopt an orphan?"  The answer was "There is a link for Adopt this Profile".  The problem was the profile was yellow locked and needed help from info@Wikitree.com instead of clicking the "Adoption" link.  There are many variations of these types of incorrect answers which certainly don't deserve the best answer star.
I'm certain this happens more than we'd like.  That's why it's good to hear the many seasoned WikiTree Members say they still look at questions when a  "Best Answer" has been awarded.
You bring up a good point, Peggy.  You have to open the question even to know that a Best Answer exists (unless you are looking at 'Recent Activity' and the most recent event on the question was the selection).  So the hypothetical non-answering expert (HNAE) has to see the question, take enough interest to open it, observe that someone has chosen a BA, and then either decide not to read and respond, or read question and answers and decide that he or she has nothing to contribute.

Even if the HNAE catches the 'answer selected' note in Recent Activity, most people knowledgeable about a topic would open and read it anyway, just out of interest and curiosity, I think.  And then they would have to decide not to respond, etc, as above.

In reality, how often does the mere existence of a Best Answer dissuade anyone from participating, much less anyone with expertise on the topic?  I would enjoy seeing some actual data about it, but I would guess the answer is 'rarely if ever.'


I truly appreciate you spelling out  HNAE.   I was reading an earlier G2G answer where the author used  the acronym  OCD......  I decided it really did mean  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder  (he was referring to Wiki Tree members) and wasn't just another WikiTree acronym I'm unfamiliar with.

Or perhaps you or Doug McCallum will dig something else up for OCD.laugh

(Yes,  I realize HNAE was tongue-in-cheek.)

This Old Curmudgeonly Dude only coined the acronym HNAE because he's too lazy to spell it out twice.   cool

5 Answers

+17 votes
You are also free to remove the best answer designation and select your own. Just select the star since it is a toggle and will be turned off when you do it.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (557k points)
Thanks Doug!    I have had similar experiences as LJ and agreed with parts of his recommendation..... but I had no idea the award could be changed.
Yes, I have done this accidentally before!
Yes it can be deselected. When I do that I usually leave a comment explaining why.

I like your attitude, Peggy!  Nobody tells Peggy what to do!  yes

+13 votes
I agree with Natalie.  A Best Answer selection doesn't estop anything.  I have read many posts saying it does, but have not seen any evidence of it.  I am posting this answer despite the presence of a prior Best Answer.
by Living Tardy G2G6 Pilot (776k points)
I'll add an answer to a post if I have additional info. I don't think the star stops discussion, it may slow it for some but not all answers are complete.
Likewise, Doug.  If I have something to add, I'll add it.  This idea of the BA interfering with discussion is entirely made up.  I think it reflects a lack of regard for fellow WTers to believe they would hesitate to respond because someone else checked a box on another answer.  And suppose it's true that some people avoid questions with a BA selected.  How good of an answer would you expect from one so easily discouraged, given that you believe fellow members might be so easily discouraged?  It's either true but you aren't missing anything, or it's not true and not a problem.
+9 votes
Anyone can select a Best Answer, and anyone can deselect a Best Answer. Sometimes there are even Best Answer wars -- selecting and deselecting every few days, even hours or minutes. I've even seen people go to the trouble of creating an automated bot to deselect answers, because they really, really didn't like the answer (or person).

Additionally, anyone can select a different Best Answer (without first deselecting the first one).

Selecting a Best Answer does not stop anyone from giving a new answer. WikiTreers are very opinionated and love to give answers, especially when they don't think its been answered fully or clearly enough yet. In the spirit of WikiTree, they are trying to be helpful.

The only thing that stops new answers from being posted, is to Close the question. But that still does not stop comments on existing answers. (and I'm not sure if is affects changing the Best Answer)
by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (585k points)
+9 votes
It seems to me that only the person who asked a question really knows which answer best fits, considering that questions imply that we don't know something.  So, someone else decides that our ignorance has disappeared?  

It's just not collaborative or courteous or respectful to decide that someone else's question has been answered.  And it kind of pissed me off when someone did it to my question.

If this is really about "points," then it's really about WT politics, which I hope we're trying to avoid.  And which also kind of pisses me off.
by Robin Anderson G2G6 Mach 4 (44.2k points)
I'm sure you make a valid point for your own questions, Robin, but it's not universally valid IMO, and what irritates you might not affect others similarly.  Less experienced members sometimes don't know what they don't know.  They ask questions to learn, and may not be qualified to discern good answers from less good ones.  A 3PBA (not gonna spell it out) serves as a vote of confidence on an answer where another member nailed it.

And, as has been mentioned several times, if you don't like it, you can deselect.  Easier than chasing the neighborhood kids off your lawn.
It's the comment that it's about points that gets me going.  Points, like internet voting, seems to me to be counter-productive.
Well, in my humble opinion, I can't tell if someone skipped answering a question because of a 3rd Party Best Answer Selection.  How can you tell?  I personally believe it does stop many from answering the question.  I believe many folks see it as a Stop Sign and not a Yield Sign as some are likening it to. As others have said, I too have added to questions that had a Best Answer selected.  But only because the question was one that really piqued my interest and the Best Answer really wasn't.  However, most of the time when I see a Best Answer on a question I will drift by it as why waste my time if it has been answered.  I believe the majority of G2G users are of the same mind.  Having a Best Answer selected does not physically keep folks from adding, but I do feel it keeps many folks from making additions.

I am not presumptuous enough to decide if the person who posted the question is not qualified to make a Best Answer selection.  A question  without such a selection does not bring the G2G Forum crashing down nor does a question that is not closed.  I posted the question and it should be my prerogative to select a Best Answer according to my needs and wants, not what someone else thinks they are.

If I went to a Profile that I was not the manager of and added unsourced and possibly erroneous data to it, the Profile manger would then have to take their time to clean it up and could or should contact me about doing that.. Under the guidelines of open site collaboration, I am permitted to make those changes if I feel they are right in my mind, even if they are not.  Just because you have the ability to do something does not give you explicit rights to do something. On WT we do not own our Profiles, they are open for interpretation. But a question on G2G is owned by the poster of the question and while it's interpretation is open for discussion on the Forum, it can't be made for the question. I feel 3rd Party Best Answer selection is akin to thread hijacking.

And Robin, I am in total agreement with you about points. Except for a little pat on the back, what purpose does a Best Answer serve. If you want to reward someone for taking the time to reply to a post I feel there should be a Good Answer selection and it can be applied to multiple replies to a post not just one Golden Ticket.  I have posted questions where I have gotten a few good replies and was wont to make a Best Answer selection so as not to make the one not selected feel left out.

I apologize if I ruffled any feathers, but this is my humble opinion and like ears, everyone has two.
I'm sorry… What was your question?
+5 votes
Um, that's not how working in a community of users happens. If an answer is marked as Best, and it's offensive in the opinion of the person who posed the question (or others), we have the option of flagging the response. Then the presence of that "Best Answer" will get reviewed.

As others have pointed out (it has been brought to my attention), Best Answer can be toggled off if it is found to be unsatisfactory.

Readers continue to read until a post is closed, and that function is in the control of the poster. (Notice that I did not say "sole" control.)

Other "answers" can still get Up votes, even after a Best Answer classification is assigned. That can affect the promotion of the question as a Hot Topic.

If this were a single-user's website, then it would be perfectly fine to have only the poster deciding who is giving the best answer. Here at WikiTree, many eyes can (or not) be on G2G questions; it's heavily random, depending upon variables such as level of activity, quality of tags that help draw in those who are interested in topics, as well as the fit between tags that the questioner adds and the actual content of the question.

This is all very meta.

by Porter Fann G2G6 Pilot (102k points)
edited by Porter Fann
Flagging isn't to get best answer reviewed. It is to indicate the belief that the answer is inappropriate content for WIkiTree.

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