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I have my concerns about some of the quality of the answers and advice being given on the site. Then we are faced with a barrage of questions, imploring more feedback about downvotes.

At this stage (my opinion), I don't think we are quite ready to go public.

Firstly: an expert does not have to be a professional, but they need enough education (whether it be formal or not) coupled with experience to have expertise.

There are many people here with a reasonable degree of expertise.

This is not about me, I am using myself as an example, because I know my experience:
I am not a professional, I have worked professionally within parts of the pets fields, have studied and carried out much volunteer work for welfare organisations and within dog clubs. In some aspects of these topics, I some genuine expertise. In many I certainly don't and yet I see people post answers and I know my knowledge base of that topic is stronger. (I know that many other members here would feel the same way)

Continually people are jumping in out of their depth in comments and answers. I really wish this would stop. I am not making a comment under the post about a downvote, I'm posting in Meta about it.

If we want the site to be worth anything more than what can be found in a random google search, we need to lift our game with. The time is now, before we go public and then have a flood of mediocre, substandard and downright dangerous posts.

I truly appreciate the likes of chad and JamesJ keeping me honest on the rabbit posts, lifting my game. Seriously, people need to stop pussy (or doggy) footing around and take stock. It's not a reputation race. We need quality. Seriously, when posting a decent answer, it takes, time, and effort. Even if it's a topic I know inside out, to write a decent answer takes time, more so if you need to provide links and quotes. It is good for our community to push for better quality.

Votes float posts, yes, but if we can't get a handle on quality in private beta, what is going to happen when we have a flood of people, whos' neighbor owned a dog or a cat, or saw a rabbit on the television and do a quick google search, answer and it's accepted.

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The questions are not yours (I'll get back to this below).

The questions are written by the Original Poster (OP), generally to solve a problem they've encountered. If an answer posted to the question solves their problem, then it is their choice to select it as the valid answer, not yours.

That is not to say that a more comprehensive answer written by someone with more expertise may come along later. When this happens, the question is refreshed, and pops to the top of the question stack. Changes to the question (typically the new answers, or an edit) get viewed and evaluated (voted on) by the community. Even the OP gets alerted to new answers, and can switch out his selection if he chooses to!

It is quite common to have one answer selected by the OP while a second answer far exceeds it in vote count. That is the reason we have such things as the Populist Badge.

Now, back to that original statement that the question is not yours. It is the community's question. It is evaluated by the community for closure or re-opening based on whether it is a valid question; that is the way the community works. You have to have faith that the community itself will

  1. identify poor posts (questions and answers)
  2. repair poor posts
  3. remove unrepairable posts

When we get out of Private Beta, we'll have a much larger community which will be

  1. likely to post more poor posts
  2. more capable of identifying and evaluating poor posts

TL,DR: Relax. All these are normal symptoms inherent in the system; let the system fix them.

  • pst the second question is mine and is an example of good answers.. is this clear? +1 – user87 Oct 17 '13 at 1:55
  • Get offa my soap box! – JoshDM Oct 17 '13 at 2:02
  • hey look at me! lol – user87 Oct 17 '13 at 2:17
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I'd second this!

I'm a long way from being an expert in anything, but I've been owned by cats for most of my life and my parents had dogs for quite a few years, so I can answer many of the cat questions and some of the dog ones. My personal preference is not to say anything if someone has answered a question with all the information I would have suggested (and more), I'll vote it up and maybe comment that my experience matches what's being said.

If I can add something to answers that are already there, I'll add my part as well, usually with "In addition to Skippy's excellent information" and then my extras.

I'll also try to add (wherever possible) my own personal experience with or knowledge of the same/similar issue the original poster has raised (e.g. my answer to this question)

Perhaps some clearer guidelines for what constitutes a good answer would be helpful? There'll always be those who think guidelines are for Other People, but it should still help.

  • there are degree on expertise and you know a lot about caring for cats, ok, outside of being a vet, there's probably not much you don't already know about owning and caring for cats.. to me that is experienced that creates expertise. – user87 Oct 16 '13 at 17:06

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