In thinking about Ben Norris's answer to this question, asking about whether answers should contain a level of detail appropriate for the estimated knowledge of the asker, a subsequent question came to mind:

Should we develop a standard nomenclature for annotating the level of knowledge at which we are aiming our answers?

For example, using the United States educational structure as a paradigm, some (too-wordy) categories might be:

  • Initial learning / High school-level
  • Broad overview / Undergraduate-level, non-Chemistry-major
  • Intermediate / Undergraduate-level, Chemistry major
  • Advanced / Graduate-level

Such annotations would be almost exclusively useful to those with less chemical knowledge, as those with more experience should be able to sort out the 'target audiences' of answers pretty intuitively. To the inexperienced, though, perhaps such annotations would be valuable in allowing an "Ah, I haven't been introduced to that yet, I won't worry about it too much" sort of response to high-level material, couched in a consistent, site-wide formalism.

On the other hand, it might just be more trouble than it's worth.

  • $\begingroup$ In theory good idea, but I doubt if would work good in practice - there are various educational systems and various things can be considered more or less advanced. $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 14:50
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Mithoron That's kind of what I figured -- would take more work (and probably more disputation) to hammer out a framework than the benefit it would provide. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ I guess you could add these as tags but it would probably just create clutter and leave less room for more meaningful tags. Personally I support BenNorris' suggestion that people should provide multiple answers at different levels if it is appropriate to the question. This seems to be more helpful to everyone overall. $\endgroup$
    – bon
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 17:16
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    $\begingroup$ Brain FWIW, what I enjoyed about chem.SE is getting scientifically correct answers, rather than oversimplifications teachers has thrown at me. I agree that it's so much hard work to adjust things, it just won't succeed. $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ In general this is quite a good idea. In praxis it might be too difficult to go through with. However, when you decide to write something with more detail you can always include a disclaimer or a statement, what the prerequisites for the post to be understood are or that it deviates from the "simple" approach. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 3:55

1 Answer 1


On the other hand, it might just be more trouble than it's worth.

In my opinion you actually answered your own question in this last sentence: it more likely to do harm than good. In general, I totally agree with what Ben Norris said in the linked thread:

More importantly, providing multiple answers is true to the Stack Exchange model!

So I always look at the possibility of multiple answers as a feature of Q&A model rather then a bug. And in this particular case of multiple answers at different levels to the same question, I think it is indeed better for community to keep the answers in one place rather then spreading them out. Note that I explicitly emphasize the key phrase: it will be better for community, non necessarily for the original poster (OP). And here (at StackExchange network) I think we have to put what community needs before what OP wants simply because OPs come and OPs go, but community stays. Multiple answers at different levels in one place will be much more useful, again, for community, and easier to handle.

P.S. Besides, I think we should follow what the "elder brothers" (Physics.SE and Math.SE) do: they did not introduce such tags (though, there were some similar proposals) so shall we.

  • $\begingroup$ I am not exactly sure Brian was talking about tags though. I think he meant more something along the lines of adding a statement like this is an intermediate text. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン, true. Anyway I don't think we have to restrict answers to the level requested by OP for the same reason: community benefits from all the information on a particular matter being concentrating in one place. $\endgroup$
    – Wildcat
    Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 10:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン, besides, in many cases It wouldn't even be possible to restrict answers to the requested level simply because the question is unanswerable at this level (e.g. a lot of questions based on the old quantum theory fall into this category). What shall we do then? As I said, the restriction will likely do harm than good. $\endgroup$
    – Wildcat
    Commented Jul 11, 2015 at 10:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン Late to return to this; yes, I was referring to text to be added to the post itself, not tags to be created. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 21:09

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