For example, this question is a pretty straightforward question with a few straightforward answers. However, a number of the answers are versions of "don't bother making biscuits/slots by hand, use dowels/T&G, etc." I think these are best left as comments (and there IS a comment saying just that!). A real answer will provide information specifically requested in the question (how to cut the damned joint by hand). Should these types of answers be regulated more heavy-handedly, or is the general consensus that things are ok as is?

I feel like I'm seeing increasingly more of these lately. I understand that we all want to solve the problem, but SE is structured in this way to minimize cross-talk between opinions and answers to the actual question as stated. To some extent, a question, once posted, belongs to the SE archive - not the OP, which is why it can be edited, etc.

1 Answer 1


This is an excellent question and needs to be thought about seriously. I have not been spending nearly the amount of time I should have been here recently.

I see a balance needed. While the intention should always be to answer the question (as close to as is as possible) I do believe it should be balanced with what they really want to know, and how to solve their real problem.

I do agree that at least one of the 'answers' is really more of a comment, most are trying to give a useful answer. Often you get this when the person asking the question doesn't really know the 'right' question to be asking.

Of course, this brings up the question, if it is a 'bad' or 'wrong' question should it be flagged as such or have it rewritten to better ask correctly. Often yes, but it is also possible others come up with the same wrong question and will get pointed to the actual right answers.

I am open to discussion on this, and if there are getting to be more and more egregious issues then we can certainly try and clean things up.

  • Excellent point about the same poorly put questions being a useful path to a good answer. This is certainly a good topic for further discussion. In any case, it will likely need periodic reexamination in order to maintain a site that aims for a well curated space in combination with a necessarily flexible experience that ergonomically interfaces usefully with variable humans.
    – Otto
    Nov 23, 2017 at 8:42

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