Because of the support the thought received here, I'm creating a new proposal about deleting poor-quality answers.
In order to increase the quality of answers on Puzzling.SE, I'd like to propose that we start deleting answers that contain absolutely no explanation whatsoever. While normally I'd suggest we simply downvote them, there are a couple issues preventing this:
- The issue is very rampant. One-line, unexplained guesses as answers are everywhere. Pick any of the riddle-style questions and scroll down; chances are, you'll find them. It's too much content to watch and come back to, and it isn't feasible for us to walk each individual through this process.
- People are upvoting these answers because they could possibly correct, or they feel it was a good guess. This makes it harder to communicate that an answer isn't what we're looking for.
They may technically be answers, but they're entirely unhelpful when they don't come with an explanation. Here's a short list of answers: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, (deleted) twelve, (deleted) thirteen, (deleted) fourteen. If you've already seen this list, it's the same list. No need to click through. If you haven't, note that these answers had much higher scores before I made the above-linked post.
In addition, we should leave comments on these answers asking for explanations. The community can do this, too, but when answers are deleted, we should leave comments on them something along the lines of:
Would it be possible for you to expand upon why you believe this answer is correct? Feel free to edit your answer, and if you do, flag it so it can be undeleted. Thank you!
It's important to note that this course of action shouldn't be used for answers that have bad explanations, just answers that have no explanation. Bad explanations should be downvoted, not deleted.
Promoting good answer quality does two important things: first, it lets us better see and differentiate questions that are of poor quality from those that are of good quality, which in turn lets us better determine what content we should be a home to. Second, it raises the standard of quality for our site.
Here's the workflow I suggest, and it's pretty simple:
If your answer has been deleted, all you need to do is add an explanation that addresses how your answer fulfills every part of the question. You are free to edit your answer using the 'edit' link below your it. If you do, click the 'flag' link below your answer, and fill in an 'other' request to have your answer undeleted.
If you see such an answer, flag it, and/or leave a comment asking for expansion.
If you have comments, thoughts, opposition, hate mail, or love letters, feel free to respond below!