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Comments on Suggestion for allowing to mark answers as "accepted", "outdated" or "dangerous"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Suggestion for allowing to mark answers as "accepted", "outdated" or "dangerous"

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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  • ⏳ This post is outdated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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There is another aspect that I don't see discussed; accepting answers has the side-effect of helping to optimize/minimize database access. For example―pretending SE is the industry definer―a potential answerer would typically be subjected to questions that have no accepted answers yet.

Besides, the hard sciences typically have but one objective answer that is true and absolute. And in the case they do need editing, there's that; editing...

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General comments (5 comments)
General comments
Lundin‭ wrote over 3 years ago

The problem with SE's model is that the OP is usually not the domain expert and is therefore the wrong person to judge if an answer is correct. They can only judge which answer that was most helpful to them in person. Perhaps instead of "accepted" there could be a status "canonical", which a post would obtain after consensus between several trusted users, similar to "dangerous" etc that was proposed here.

Lundin‭ wrote over 3 years ago

As for "subjecting" the viewer to questions that aren't accepted, I don't agree with that either. Only each individual person can judge which questions that are interesting to them. Some may be out to hunt down unanswered questions, others might just want to read interesting Q&A, others might be on the search for an already answered question because they face the same problem themselves.

__shiva_c‭ wrote over 3 years ago

@Lundin Yeah, those points are both valid. Maybe a tag such as "User committed to this answer"?

Lundin‭ wrote over 3 years ago

But that's not terribly interesting information... it isn't far from there to "John Doe likes this" social media barf. I think the "accept solution" mindset comes from some helpdesk/support mentality where every issue must be accepted by the customer come hell or high water. There's no obvious reason for it here though. I guess it all boils down to what the site wants: "build a knowledge base for the future" vs "answer the specific question (over and over again)".

__shiva_c‭ wrote over 3 years ago

You win me over. :P