7
$\begingroup$

As the question suggest can you tell me what to do with small short answers. While reviewing I came across lots of answers in one sentence. For example see this user answer to this question Can dimethylmercury originate from cleaning up a broken thermometer with disposable wet wipes?

Answer: No, because you don't have a strong oxidizing agent to oxidize the mercury to $\ce{Hg2+}$.

Generally i would have down voted or flagged as low quality because of it short answers and also because this kind of one sentence answers can be given in comment section. What is the best way to proceed when reviewers come across this type of answers.

| |
$\endgroup$
10
$\begingroup$

This is a very shady area in SE (aka: This varies form case to case, as Mr.Warzecha mentioned)

Just as expected, a lot of discussion has been made network-wide on this:

Is there consensus among mods about flagging too short answers?

Should I flag answers consisting only of "No" or "Yes"?

Should I give short answers or comments?

etc etc. I think with a simple search in meta.SE, you'll find much more to read.

So, what I'd do when facing a short answer:

  • Phase one: Leave it for the community to decide: Is when I'm at the highest level of doubt about what to do. Our community's relatively slower than big ol' graduated sites. It sometimes takes some hours to clean up a VLQ mess. When I'm going 50-50 on what to do, I leave it to more experienced and knowledgeable people on the topic so that they decide on the quality of the answer.
  • Phase two: Add a harmless comment. Is when I'm 60 percent sure about what I should do. There's usually not much wrong with pressing a skip button. I, however, add comments indicating that I pressed looks OK. If people are as unsure about the answer as me, I haven't really done a mischief. I usually try to be nicely nitpicky about the answer, and give the answerer a reason to improve their post.
  • Phase three etc.: Nuke from orbit, but never leave it commentless.

    1. If there are other answers and this particular answer adds nothing to them.
    2. If the short answer is only partially answering the OP's question.
    3. If the answer is following the rule of yes-no-question-answering. (Which means, the answerer barely answers with something more than a yes or no)
    4. If the answer is short and has misconceptions in it.
    5. If the answer is making too strong assumptions without any resources.
    6. etc.
    7. [Insert your reason here]

These answers are usually followed by a comment telling their poster of why they're VLQ. The reason for guideline 7 is that anything in your logic which is VLQ deserves a recommend deletion from you, if you're sure what you're doing.

This is the beauty of SE. Nothing of such kind is single-handedly voted on. Closing needs 4 more people to agree with you, and VLQ reviews need more than 2 other people to agree with you to get something deleted. (Unless you're a mod, but that itself means you're wiser than just to put a vote there)

Conclusion: Don't chip in if you're unsure about what to do. Following the crowd is the best choice here. If you are sure, then comment and recommend deletion, or leave it as is. If something is flagged as VLQ, put yourself in the shoes of who/what that flagged it, and add as many constructive comments as possible. The vote you cast will usually be agreed upon if you have solid arguments to support it, and even if it isn't, the final result won't be a real harm to the community.

And since the main goal here, after learning and practicing and learning chemistry, is to have a clean Q & A, then I'd say let's drink some coffee and leave our fingernails alone.

| |
$\endgroup$
4
$\begingroup$

I decide from case to case.

Here, an answer could have brought up the case of Karen Wetterhahn again, but to my gut feeling, that wasn't really necessary.

The user asking seemed rather concerned. The short answer given shifted the situation back into the right perspective. In these emergency cases, the advantage of an answer is that it is more visible than a comment with its small font size.

| |
$\endgroup$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .