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Comments on Suggestion for allowing to mark answers as "accepted", "outdated" or "dangerous"

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Suggestion for allowing to mark answers as "accepted", "outdated" or "dangerous"

+26
−1

Currently, it is possible to upvote and downvote answers. That's likely enough in most situations, but there are some cases where you might want to have more than one way to react to a post.

For example, imagine you are on Software Development and an answer suggests a solution that drastically impedes your system's security. Or you are on Electrical Engineering and the answer suggests something that might electrocute you. In these cases, a downvote might not be enough of a signal to warn users of such possible dangers.

Another possible situation is "accepting answers", a concept that exists on most common Q&A sites. Unlike other sites, we decided quite early that a single vote from the asker shouldn't impact answer sort order.

And yet another feature suggested and strongly advocated for by some users is the option of "signed votes", mostly seen as a way for experts or highly reputable community members to give more weight to their votes by publicly endorsing (or refuting) a specific answer.

I think I've got a solution, one that might provide a framework for commmunities to solve all these use cases. We discussed this in chat and tossed some ideas around, and I must say that I absolutely love the current proposal:


Communities will be able to define a small set of "reactions", which can be applied to posts. Default (or recommended) reactions would likely be:

  • ☑ This post works for me (= accepting an answer, but not only by OP)
  • ⏳ This post is outdated
  • ⚠ This post is dangerous

However, communities might want to have different reactions. For example, Cooking might want to have

  • 😋 This is tasty
  • 🤮 This doesn't taste good

Once applied to answers, there would be a little box/badge above the answer, which contains the selected reaction and a list of users who have chosen that reaction. I used the developer tools in my browser to simulate what this might look like. Imagin, that the tooltip on the first badge says the names of the users choosing that reaction.

Mockup showing two badges (works for many users & found dangerous by one user) above a post

Users will be able to choose reactions from a modal that can be opened from a button below the voting buttons. When choosing a reaction, users will be encouraged to add comments, giving details to their vote. This is especially neccessary for marking a post as "dangerous", because other users need to know what exactly is dangerous.

Here are two mockups for how the reactions modal might be presented:

Mockup showing a modal with the label "This post ..." and the options "works for me", "is outdated" and "is dangerous (add comment)" and an optional comment box

Same mockup as above, but some icons similiar to the emojis in the list above have been added

Additionally, when entering a comment into the comment box in the modal, a comment will be posted on the user's behalf, which contains the chosen reaction and comment. (Also seen in the screenshots.)

What do you think of this suggested feature? Do you have any other use cases we should consider if we chose to implement this suggestion?

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General comments (7 comments)
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+5
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I kind of like the idea, especially for outdated/obsolete technology. But I'm concerned over how subjective a "dangerous" mark might end up.

For example when it comes to programming, I work with safety-critical embedded systems. The concerns I might have for what makes a program dangerous are not at all the same as someone working with network security programming. Not to mention the broad masses that program non-critical software.

So if I were to apply my quality standards on the average desktop program, I will come across as very pedantic. If a truck control system firmware divides by zero, it might cause physical harm to people, damage buildings or machinery etc. If a desktop program does the same, you get a little evil message box saying "bug", annoying but not dangerous.

Meaning that in order to label something dangerous, I would need to understand the end product, something that is very often not clear by the question.

As for electronics, there's a strong trend that quacks or fresh graduates use hobbyist board computers like Arduino for commercial products. This is dangerous because that was never the intention of those boards - there are serious safety concerns both in terms of software and EMC. Are we to label everything tagged Arduino as dangerous then? Professional engineers will agree - hobbyists and students will get furious if we do.

One would need to give this some serious thought before implementing it.

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1 comment thread

General comments (6 comments)
General comments
luap42‭ wrote over 3 years ago

I see your concerns. Hence I'd either require or strongly encourage users to add a comment with an explanation (especially) for their danger reaction.

Jirka Hanika‭ wrote over 3 years ago

I suppose that a debated "dangerous" mark could be rendered obsolete by editing the post to become sufficiently explicit on the contested subject matter. Readers then will be able to make their own conclusions. Reactions are pseudo-content and they should be used only when content itself can't carry the information for reasons of attribution.

Lorenzo Donati‭ wrote over 2 years ago

In EE there are things that can be deemed dangerous right-away by an expert. Ofc. there are borderline cases. However, for example, if someone posted a design for a mains-powered linear lab power supply without short circuit protection and without a fuse on mains side, that would be obviously a dangerous design. As another example, a design for a cardiac pulse meter without strong galvanic insulation between the power supply section and the signal section that is connected to human body.

Lorenzo Donati‭ wrote over 2 years ago

Moreover, dangerous doesn't mean automatically not working or flawed, but it's a good indication that whoever is doing that must really know what they are doing.

Putting a clear "Danger! Don't try this unless you are knowlegeable because it involves considerable risks!" is a good way for people reading someone else's questions and know they have to play safe with the stuff therein.

Lundin‭ wrote over 2 years ago

Lorenzo Donati‭ It's still fairly subjective. Your examples are obvious cases. But for example any RF product made by some quack could be dangerous if it disturbs or jams out legal radio equipment, or causes EMI in general.

Lorenzo Donati‭ wrote over 2 years ago

Lundin‭ OK, agreed. You convinced me. The "dangerous" label could end up misused and useless in the end. So probably only a source of clutter.