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Right now, we suffer from a practice (NOT a "policy") of approving almost anything which is not blatantly off topic or outright spam. That's an unfortunate practice that seems, to me, to have developed over the last two or possibly three years.

Actually, that has been policy for a lot more years than three. Not approving an honest attempt at a question because it fails to rise to your preferred level of quality is mostly just a recipe for a lot of duplicate postings of that question.

And I expect that practice has very close to zero impact on how likely somebody is to post a question that falls below your standards and very close to zero impact on how likely somebody is to post a question that meets your standards. It certainly can't be to blame for your perceived recent decline in quality since it predates it by years.

My main advice to everybody related to this is for one to only respond to questions where one has something helpful to offer in response and for which one is particularly suited to answer.

And I specifically prefer for people to be slow to offer purely "meta" replies.

If you have "meta" information to offer in reply (like help about posting or about composing questions or searching or not posting, etc.), then feel free to include that when you reply with actually helpful information that is directly in reply to the question asked. If you don't have any non-meta helpful information to offer, then please wait because the odds are pretty good that somebody will come along fairly soon that is better than you at answering that specific question or at understanding what was being asked.

If the question has actually gone unanswered for a reasonably long time, then look at it again and try harder to come up with something to offer that is on-topic to the question. But if you still can't and you feel you have the eloquence to communicate helpful meta information effectively (which means in a manner where the OP will actually follow some of the advice and then get some helpful non-meta information as a result), then reply.

And if you are an expert and can offer something useful in reply to almost every single question posted, then give other members a chance to reply to the more basic questions. Concentrate on adding more value by providing more advanced information in clarification / corrections or for advanced questions or questions where you have special expertise (or go do something, ya know, useful with some of your time).

If a question annoys you, then minimize your annoyance by immediately moving on to something more enjoyable for you. Please try to refrain from sharing your annoyance so that we all get to suffer from it. Most of you are probably even clever enough to figure out a lot of the questions that are likely to end up annoying you so you can avoid even clicking through to them in the first place.

If a question annoys everybody, then everybody will ignore it. The history of the internet says that's one of the best ways to end something. If the question doesn't annoy everybody, then we have a case of somebody asking a question and some others willingly answering the question via a web site. That sounds a lot like "success".

If you can't deal with an unworthy (to you) question getting answered by willing, unannoyed people, then I invite you to start your own website and endeavor to not invite any of these people that annoy you to use it and wish you good luck with that.

I'll probably stick around here where I find, for the most part, that the annoying types eventually fit in or move on. So I don't mind much when somebody new does something annoying. I mostly ignore their annoying action and soon enough their acts are either less annoying or much less frequent (especially when others who are annoyed manage to also mostly ignore it). And in the mean time, I'm not particularly annoyed, because I'm ignoring.

- tye        

In reply to Re^4: When do we change our replies? (approving) by tye
in thread When do we change our replies? by stevieb

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