"Best Answer" feature discourages community involvement
Admins (and possibly anyone?) can mark "Yes" or "No" to "Did you answer the question?" which is listed below each comment. I chose "Yes" to see what would happen, which was:
(a) My comment was immediately pulled to the top--i.e., suddenly it was out of order, which means it was no longer in context with the other responses and didn't make sense.
(b) A green "Accepted Answer" box was added next to my comment.
(c) A bold "Best Answers" heading was added above my comment.
Pulling the comment out and moving it to the top removes it from its context, which makes some comments nonsensical. In addition, I'm not sure why the comment is marked as both the "best" and an "accepted" answer.
Since the Community is a community forum, where the idea is to collaborate on answers when necessary, it's often the case that multiple people bring a piece of the answer to the table; there should be no "Best Answer," as that adds the uncomfortable element of ranking responses (and, by extension, people). Being able to "like" an answer should be validation enough.
I strongly suggest getting rid of the "best answer"/"accepted answer" feature (if the feature is kept, we need to only have those "best" answers copied to the top, not moved, so we at least avoid taking comments out of context).
Anitra Whittle ✭✭✭
Hello Charlotte Noelle Champenois,
Best Answer and Accepted Answer might be upsetting to someone who gave a mediocre answer,
Unless you have a category for Mediocre. Just Kidding.
And might be upsetting.
Are the folks who are designing this platform using Best Answer and Accepted Answer to award points, or medals to Community users. Hmmm.
@Charlotte Noelle Champenois Whether or not it gets us there, the purpose of the Accepted/ Best Answer is to try and do a few things:
- Let people who are trying to help others know that the user's problem is has been addressed.
- Lets other people who come later, with a similar problem know that the information is correct.
You can also have multiple "Accepted Responses" per post. So if multiple people offer helpful information they can be given an Accepted response as well.
I also agree with you on moving the approved comment to the top. We get mixed feedback on that issue because it is also helpful for those people who are seeking an answer to not have to dig down through all the comments.
For me, the ideal experience might be to have a copy of the best answer below the question but also keep the original in its location so that on the occasion when an Accepted Answer might not make sense out of context, people could dig deeper down through the thread and see it in context.
Some of these things we may be able to address. Others are dependent upon Vanilla Forums (the platform we are using). However, in the areas where we can't make adjustments, we can relay the information to them.1
I would love for the "best answer" feature to be switched out with the ability to mark a post as "solved" for the following reasons:
- People are used to that from research groups on Facebook.
- Even those who aren't familiar with it from other forums can understand its meaning.
- There's no ranking, so nobody needs to feel mediocre about their responses if they weren't "chosen" to be one of the "best answers" or "accepted answers." Like Anitra wrote, the feature can honestly be upsetting to people.
- We can add the ability to search by solved or unsolved posts (which would be incredibly helpful for all the helpers on the site; otherwise we have a lot of information to sift through and posts continuously fall through the cracks that were only partially answered).
Having a "solved" option (available to the original poster and to admins) for each post would take care of #1 in your comment above; and #2 is taken care of by the likes and, in part, by the "solved option" as well.
I strongly suggest getting rid of the best answer feature, as it introduces ranking and makes it look like a competition rather than collaboration--which also discourages participation from anyone who may feel like their comment wouldn't be a complete or the "best" answer out of everyone's.
I honestly think the "best answer" feature introduces more problems than it fixes.
Switching it out with a "solved" feature would be amazingly helpful, both for users and for helpers!3
I agree with Charlottes "Solved" preference.
The idea is not a competititon - but knowing that a questions was solved or resolved - I think is important.2