Marking answers as 'Best Response' should remain the privilege by the questioner

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Regular Contributor

I asked a question and got two replies. I just saw that one person marked his own response to my question as 'Best Response'. This should remain the privilege of the questioner.

 

There are a lot of reasons why I think this should be changed and my arguments are backed up by probably the biggest Q&A community on the world wide web: the Stackexchange community.

 

Let's say a sysadmin 'Garfield' has some problems with his Exchange Server. He registers an account and states the nature of his problem. Three other users - two IT experts and one MVP - try to answer his question and solve his problem.

 

Their response reflects a good portion of knowledge, but because the issue Garfield has with his Exchange is very particular, no response quite fits. He takes the response to further troubleshoot his problem. A day passes by and the MVP decides to mark his answer as the Best Response. Later that day, Garfield revisits the forum and sees that a question was marked as answered that didn't solve his problem.

 

I see a couple of big issues with this.

 

Marking as Best Response shuts a question down. All the knowledgable here probably work 8 hours a day or more. They happily answer questions if it is in their power, but ultimately their number one priority is their job. So if they see that a question has been answered, why would they take the time to even look at it? So by the time Garfield here returns, his questions is buried and with it, perhaps the possibility that someone who has the answer even looked at it.

 

Patronizing users frustrates them. Usually, asking on a forum is the last resort. They already exhausted their knowledge and options and are now looking for anybody who could point them in the right direction, or even provide a complete solution. So Garfield here took his time to structure his question and write it down in hope for others to help. Then the MVP came along, replying to his question. Without feedback and without knowing if he even understood the issue, the MVP imposes his answer as the true solution and basically removes Garfield from the ownership of his own question.

 

Decreasing quality in Best Replies and marking Best Replies with the primary goal to gain internet points. If you give people the option to mark their own answers as the Best Response, they will do so. Either for gaining internet points, or for publicity, but ultimately to feel better about themselves. This will happen. Just look at the Microsoft Answers forum or even the TechNet Social Forums. There are a ton of good questions with answers that don't even deal with the problem. So many fail to address the issue or fail to understand the question. Yet, they are marked as the Best Response, turning the whole thread into something that justs wastes everybodies time. The time of the questioner and the time of anybody stumbling over the thread because he has the same issue.

 

Why the Stackexchange Community just works

Because the questioner is and stays the owner of his question. Only he decides what answer is the Best Response. That, and only that makes it a true Q&A community where every answer 100% fits the asked question. Sure, sometimes the questioner abandons the question. And even a true answer might go by unnoticed. It's the trade that Stackexchange was willing to do, so that all the other answers will always be of a high quality. But even is a questions gets abandoned, the community can vote on every answer, so the person who took his precious time to write a response is acknowledged and feels appreciated.

 

I am pleasantly surprised about this community and convinced that it may even success over the TechNet Social Forums. But if you take away the ownership of the question from the questioner, I'm afraid that this forum will turn into the same **bleep** show that is Technet Social Forums or Microsoft Answers.

 

In that case, I'll happily go back to serverfault, where I already feel at home and not patronized all the time.

 

2 Replies
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Yeah, in my opinion this functionality should only be used by the author of the question indeed. And fully agree on the TechNet/Answers remark, that was my argument when we initially discussed this feature for the MTC. The problem with TechNet/Answers is that the mods are "graded" based on the "answers" they give, it goes against their evaluation, thus they have all the incentive they need to abuse it.

 

But, this is NOT a support forum, so the "official answer" label has a slightly different meaning here. It can simply designate that someone from the corresponding PG has posted a reply, even if it's not a proper "answer". Plus, people are generally friendlier here, so you can just address the issue with the person directly.

 

I tried to look at your posts and funny enough the only ones I see are post I've replied to, I hope I'm not the perpetrator here :) I don't recall ever marking my own post as an answer, here or on an other community, but you never know :) 

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@Vasil Michev wrote:

[...] The problem with TechNet/Answers is that the mods are "graded" based on the "answers" they give, it goes against their evaluation, thus they have all the incentive they need to abuse it.

Yep, that is exactly one of the reasons why TechNet/Answers became unusable in the past years. At least for me.

 


@Vasil Michev wrote:

But, this is NOT a support forum, so the "official answer" label has a slightly different meaning here. It can simply designate that someone from the corresponding PG has posted a reply, even if it's not a proper "answer". Plus, people are generally friendlier here, so you can just address the issue with the person directly.

That is just semantics. I don't think that it matters whether it's called Best Response instead of Marked Answer, or anything like that. If it shows that any response has been marked, than it will turn away possible good answer - or worse - correct answers to begin with. That is my experience with TechNet, where I often formulate a good question, to have a MS-Partner drive-by-killing the thread by responding with something entirely unrelated and marking it as an answer. It is just frustrating, because in the end, I'm left alone without a solution.

 

Regarding the designation, MVP's here have a green borders. And I am sure (but I've only been around for three days) that knowledgable people can be identified by similar badges, if not by the upvotes on their responses. So I don't see the necessity to also provide them the way to highjack my question.

 

People are friendly in the TechNet forums, too. But I got tired asking Partners and MVP (or whoever is able to mark answers) to do that. I even created a signature for the sole purpose to tell everyone and their cat to please not mark any answers. It just doesn't work and it won't work here, I promise.

 

I like this place. It's organised and visually appealing. But that one time that person marked his answer already gave me PTSD from the TechNet **bleep** show (sorry).

 


@Vasil Michev wrote:

I tried to look at your posts and funny enough the only ones I see are post I've replied to, I hope I'm not the perpetrator here :) I don't recall ever marking my own post as an answer, here or on an other community, but you never know :) 


No, you're good, it wasn't you. :) I appreciated your answers and as you probably notices, did also mark them as Best Response.