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It probably could be stated as a fact that "interesting" questions get more interest, answers and votes, while the "common" ones receive less attention on CV. I recently noticed that it happens (not so rarely) that this kind of "boring" questions are more susceptible to receive a low quality or even plainly wrong answers. This can happen in any thread, however what I noticed is that in such cases from time to time such answers get accepted, upvoted and not downvoted even if they are not correct. What can we do as a community about it? The up/down-voting mechanisms are not working if some threads are ignored, but on another hand there is too many questions to review all of them.

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I'll frame this more widely in these terms: people here may readily disagree with (a) someone else's upvote or (b) the OP's acceptance of an answer.

Clearing (b) out of the way: An OP's acceptance of an answer is their exercise of their privilege. In principle, they are free to accept an answer they find helpful and need pay absolutely no attention to the votes and comments of other members or even the merits of other answers. I quite often find the answers accepted to be bizarre choices. Sometimes it can just be an early answer, or an answer that the OP wanted to hear for reasons that are not always good. But I don't usually find it helpful, or regard it as polite, to challenge an acceptance as wrong-headed, nor does that seem typical behaviour on this forum. (In some other forums, Meta seems awash with complaints on Why was this answer accepted?, and so forth.)

In all cases, you can and should record your dissent by

  • voting in the other direction

and/or

  • commenting on weaknesses or errors in answers

and/or

  • posting your own answers that are, in your view, more correct, constructive or cogent.

I can't judge on your impressions that there is a particular problem with certain kinds of threads. Which questions are classified as "interesting", "common" or "boring" is too difficult to discuss. The definitions are tautological (interesting questions ... attract more interest) or too personal to be important, or for useful discussion the criteria need to be made explicit. More crucially, you don't give any examples of threads where you think our mechanisms are not working.

Many threads here on Meta highlight that we have a long tail of fairly poor questions. The biggest single reason appears to be that statistics attracts a large number of users who are unable or unwilling to put a lot of effort into learning statistics! What else is new? So, many questions are very confused or insoluble and it's often the case that despite discussions they don't become clearer or more soluble. But I am not clear that you are identifying a new or different problem.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 As always, your thoughtful and insightful comments are appreciated. There is something new being revealed in the site data, however. Briefly, a year ago we were closing 55 questions per week out of 475 posed and posting 350 answers (to the remaining 420). Now we are closing 150 per week out of 650 posed and posting 425 answers (to the remaining 500). IMHO, we are not closing enough--many questions appear to be duplicates. Those tend not to be answered or even commented on by experienced community members, but instead attract newcomers, some of whose contributions are spotty. $\endgroup$ – whuber Apr 28 '15 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ @whuber Thanks; that's data, and we respect data around here.... I'd guess at these shifts as indirect reflections of the success of the site. As it becomes more visible, we might expect a slow drift downward in the quality of questions. There is less effort to search the site for past answers and more of a perception that all you need to do is ask a question! I have a few times noticed a little more aggression from new members who take the line that their question is on-topic if they think it is and it's your job to answer it. (FWIW, I am fairly active in closing questions.) $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox Apr 28 '15 at 14:33
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    $\begingroup$ A current example of what I wrote about in my comment is unfolding at stats.stackexchange.com/questions/148663/…. One thing that appears to be missing from responses provided by newcomers is patience: instead of stopping to ask for clarification, many jump right in to give answers which might or might not make sense and might or might not be correct. Such answers nevertheless seem to get one or two upvotes routinely. The conundrum is: how to encourage participation among newcomers while helping them do so constructively? $\endgroup$ – whuber Apr 28 '15 at 14:40
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    $\begingroup$ In various professions the answer would be training, mentoring, etc. but I don't want to propose new procedures for that here. The best training and mentoring, in my view, is to react directly to postings, encouraging good stuff and discouraging the rest, with reasons. $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox Apr 28 '15 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ @whuber I don't know if the site already does this, but maybe something could pop up when you click to post your first answer, like "Hey, here's typically how you're supposed to answer" and you have to scroll to the bottom and press "got it!" before continuing. Like those EULAs nobody reads. then at least it was put in front of them. I didn't even think to click the "help" button up top until I already had 1k+ rep $\endgroup$ – shadowtalker Apr 30 '15 at 3:59
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    $\begingroup$ What about wrong answers (part of the original question)? Just recently I've encountered an answer that was accepted and upvoted 5 times on a somewhat popular question, yet the answer was it seems partly wrong (since 2012, see history). After exchanging several comments, the user admitted to the errors and corrected most of them. But I was surprised how the peer-review system had failed for such a long time in this case, affecting many readers... $\endgroup$ – landroni May 4 '15 at 13:30
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    $\begingroup$ What to do about wrong answers is the main focus of my post. SE is a quixotic variation on "peer review" as (a) survival as a post doesn't depend on anyone's approval or upvoting (b) politeness or indifference or being too busy to fight all battles can lead to lousy stuff just being ignored (c) if a post isn't spotted by someone active within a few days of being posted it can often lie there unnoticed for a long time. $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox May 4 '15 at 13:34
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    $\begingroup$ @NickCox When a user suspects a certain answer of being (technically) wrong, and has exhausted the comments mechanism (e.g. no further comments from poster), is there a way to flag such posts for further review by high-rep users? $\endgroup$ – landroni May 4 '15 at 14:07
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    $\begingroup$ Flagging strict sense only attracts the attention of moderators: you shouldn't flag what you think is wrong. It's not the moderators' job to rule on right or wrong! You should only flag spam, rudeness, stuff that isn't an answer at all, etc. Otherwise there are no special mechanisms. The bottom line is that this is a forum: the other person has a right to be wrong-headed in public, just as you have the right to be correct in public. Sometimes the most valuable part of a thread is a single polite but sharp debunking remark from someone very competent. @whuber is the master here. $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox May 4 '15 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ @landroni See above + The main way to bump a thread to wide attention is to add your own answer. If it's good as you think, that's the best and the most publicity you can get for you view. $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox May 4 '15 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ @NickCox All good points, thanks. $\endgroup$ – landroni May 4 '15 at 14:26
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with @whuber , this is exactly my point in here! $\endgroup$ – Tim May 8 '15 at 8:55
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As well as, or instead of, taking any of the actions @NickCox has discussed, we can flag or vote to close the common questions as duplicates (preferably soon after they're asked), thus ensuring they're linked to a good answer.

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    $\begingroup$ (+1) Identifying duplicates--which adds valuable information to the site by linking related material--takes insight and research. It is a valuable service, even though it is underappreciated within the SE system. $\endgroup$ – whuber Apr 28 '15 at 14:19

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