Why bother with best answers if this is what they're used for? June 8, 2007 1:52 PM   Subscribe

Marking the best answer in Ask Metafilter really doesn't mean anything, huh?
posted by Mayor Curley to Etiquette/Policy at 1:52 PM (40 comments total)

That comment was full of ludicrous, biased conjecture and was expertly demonstrated to be a load of poop by frogan a few comments later.

I'd be disappointed if I found that thread expecting to use it as a resource and jumped to the best answers. What's point of having quality answers at all if this is the kind of dreck that people point to?

Yes, you don't like me so what I say is offensive and not worth considering and my mother sucks cocks in hell and all that. Send personal attacks to my email so we can discuss this clean. KTHXBYE
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:52 PM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know, Mongol warriors were anything but crude primitives. Their lifestyle honed their senses in such a way that they could see men on the horizon miles off. It was a rare combination of intuition blending with physical eyesight. This demonstrates that spirit in flesh are indeed inexorably linked.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:10 PM on June 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


spirit and flesh are linked also
posted by Burhanistan at 2:10 PM on June 8, 2007


I don't particularly dislike you, Mayor Curley, and I'm sure your mother is a very nice lady.

I think you're overstating the problem by a lot. Best answers are at the whim of the asker, and the asker's under no compulsion to do anything in particular with them. So, sure, someone may select a best answer that you disagree with, but what's to be done? Yell at them for not thinking the way you think? Put together an adjudication panel to review and approve/deny best answer selections?

There was some discussion of it in this thread from yesterday that you may or may not have seen.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:14 PM on June 8, 2007


Gypsies marked it.
posted by meehawl at 2:14 PM on June 8, 2007


Maybe you're relying on the best answers more than you reasonably can or should.

Oh, and your mother sucks cocks in hell.
posted by found missing at 2:15 PM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Democracy is messy beast.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:16 PM on June 8, 2007


The best answer "feature" is useless and this is a perfect example.
posted by greasy_skillet at 2:16 PM on June 8, 2007


So, Mayor Curley, were you just looking for something to bitch about today?

Because this seems kind of, well, weak and pointless as far as callouts go.

And that's saying something.
posted by dersins at 2:17 PM on June 8, 2007


It's a biscuit. Sometime the wrong dog gets it.
posted by kosem at 2:19 PM on June 8, 2007


Its actually more valuable to order a thread by the number of favorites a comment has received.

This is especially true in human relations questions. Often the asker marks as best answer the answer they want to hear and sometimes they are in deep denial about their problems.

In those cases, the most favorited is the community saying "This is the voice of commonsense. Dumbass."
posted by vacapinta at 2:22 PM on June 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


but what's to be done?

We must organize a revolutionary vanguard in order to guide the efforts of the proletariat. And by that I mean, the tyranny of best answers must be abolished!

The character of any organization is naturally and inevitably determined by the content of its activity.

-- V.I. Curley
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:26 PM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Its actually more valuable to order a thread by the number of favorites a comment has received.

This is especially true in human relations questions. Often the asker marks as best answer the answer they want to hear and sometimes they are in deep denial about their problems.

In those cases, the most favorited is the community saying "This is the voice of commonsense. Dumbass."


That, that is gorgeous! I saw that after I posted my previous comment and I wish I had thought of it. It describes the situation very well and proposes and elegant solution. vacapinta should have started this thread.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:29 PM on June 8, 2007


Democracy is messy beast.

This reads so much better when I imagine Putin or Yakov Smirnoff saying it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:32 PM on June 8, 2007


Hasty generalization, or as I prefer it, the fallacy of the lonely fact

Incidentally, I notice many people answering on AskMe invest significant time or effort on their answers marked "best". I include myself in that category, incidentally, but am certainly eclipse by quite a few there.

Now, if you want to promote the Digg-like march to popularity-based answers that a large number of members posting on MetaFilter seem to prefer, I would, in fact, suggest sorting by favorites.
posted by mdevore at 2:33 PM on June 8, 2007


V.I. Curley

MeFinland Station
posted by matteo at 2:44 PM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Maybe we could call it the "Favorite" answer, then it would be just as poorly named as favorites?
posted by blue_beetle at 3:03 PM on June 8, 2007


How about "preferred answer" so that it makes no claim of being right or wrong, simply preferred by the poster.
posted by puke & cry at 3:11 PM on June 8, 2007


Mark as BestansweraccordingtotheOPwhichmayormaynotinfactbethemostfactuallyaccurate?
posted by djgh at 3:20 PM on June 8, 2007


Incidentally, I notice many people answering on AskMe invest significant time or effort on their answers marked "best".

Personally, I just reload constantly looking for an easy question I already know the answer to. Then I can swoop in and get a Best Answer with no effort at all. In your face hard workers!
posted by smackfu at 3:22 PM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Marking the best answer in Ask Metafilter really doesn't mean anything, huh?

No, no it doesn't. But you knew that already.

The best answer "feature" is useless and this is a perfect example.


So very true.
posted by languagehat at 3:24 PM on June 8, 2007


Personally, I just reload constantly looking for an easy question I already know the answer to. Then I can swoop in and get a Best Answer with no effort at all.

Works for me, I don't exactly bust my ass on every answer either.

Best Answer isn't a medal; it's a flag that many people, quite properly, find useful. Many other people, also quite properly, do not find it useful. However, firm declarations of uselessness are simply silly and incorrect.

Many people seem to be confusing the difference between a trend and a rule.

Oh, and languagehat is wrong here, again, but I've already aired my views on his remarks in a previous MetaTalk thread.
posted by mdevore at 3:31 PM on June 8, 2007


Ooo, I can only imagine if we had a "wrong" flag:

"19 people have flagged this comment as incorrect by any reasonable standard."
posted by smackfu at 3:33 PM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


19 people have flagged this comment as incorrect by any reasonable standard

Awesome.
posted by scody at 3:37 PM on June 8, 2007


While it's true that CwGrlUps "best answer" was full of errors, I'm not sure what we're supposed to do about it, except correct those errors. Which frogan already did.

I'll help; yeah being closer to the plate is a huge advantage to the pitcher in softball as compared to baseball.

Now what?
posted by Justinian at 4:02 PM on June 8, 2007


man, people are hell of serious about NCAA softball.
posted by boo_radley at 4:25 PM on June 8, 2007


"languagehat is wrong here, again"

Bad languagehat. No cookie.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:36 PM on June 8, 2007


DID YOU EVER STOP TO THINK THAT IT WAS CwGrlUps' BEST ANSWER, MISTER SMARTY-MAYOR?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:37 PM on June 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


The best answer "feature" is useless and this is a perfect example.

So very true.


Sorta; it's useless to anyone other than the asker and respondent. AskMe can be a keen resource, but at the end of the day, it's about one person looking for an answer.

Granted, one could push the argument that the ✓ means the answer it's attached to is the most correct, but then one would , nay, must be ridiculed for not realizing that best is not the same thing as correct, and that AskMe is often a steaming hot stew of subjectivity and not the be-all and end-all in the on-going quest for Objective Truths.

At least that's how I sees it.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:35 PM on June 8, 2007


Well, with retrotagging giving tags actual meaning, and with RecentActivity getting rid of the My Comments ambiguity, MeFi is starting to make a little sense. So, maybe it is time to fix best answers.

Nah, forget it.. If they actually meant something, I would be (more) depressed at my low score. Metafilter is not a popularity contest.. Metafilter is not a popularity contest.. Metafilter is not a popularity contest..
posted by Chuckles at 7:43 PM on June 8, 2007


19 people have flagged this comment as incorrect by any reasonable standard

Now that is the best idea I've heard yet.

For one thing, it'd cut down on the flamewars if I could just press the "Umm, no" and "Umm, hell no" buttons.

Derailing the callout (but thanks, Mayor Curley), I'm biased against softball in general. I spent too much time as a sportswriter covering collegiate softball when UCLA was the best team in the country (Lisa Fernandez pitching), when at the same time, in the same area of the country, Ila Borders became the first woman to pitch on a men's NCAA team and later on a men's professional team.

Finally, I thought, we can do away with this dipshit, half-assed, throw-it-underhand-so-you-don't-hurt-yourself softball crap, and women can play REAL baseball, like they did in the 40s, and as God Herself intended.

No such luck. Along comes the smarty-smart Dot Richardson and the photogenic Jenny Finch, and everyone loves softball with the cute little ponytail visors, and you have tons of great athletes out there, and they're still throwing fucking underhand.

Grrr...
posted by frogan at 8:51 PM on June 8, 2007


A "wrong" button would great.

Also, when I post in an AskMe question, the thread should be closed and my answer marked as best.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:37 PM on June 8, 2007


When I was a teenager, I had this great idea. Gestures are so limited, and you can't always be heard out the window, so... Everyone should have a maybe 100-character LED readout on the back of his car. Then, if you had anything to communicate to your fellow motorists, you could tell them on this display.

I no longer think this is a great idea. There is such a thing as too much interactivity.

Let's not flag people as wrong or get mad when wrong people get marked best answer. Let's just excoriate them in MetaTalk.
posted by Methylviolet at 1:07 AM on June 9, 2007


Actually, I think puke & cry's idea of changing "best answer" to "preferred answer" is a good one. It kills the controversy of people insisting that a particular answer Is Not The Best, yet keeps the answer's flag for those of us who find it (mostly) useful. (Which thereby irrefutably disproves all logic-based claims that the flag is "useless", but that's an issue already beaten to death here).

People would feel pretty silly yanking a question poster's selected preference into a MetaTalk rant.

Well, most of them probably would anyway. Maybe.
posted by mdevore at 1:39 AM on June 9, 2007


mdevore, going one step further, we could change "best answer" to "selected answer." This would entirely dispel any opportunity for argument.

The instructions for the Asker: "After posting your question, you may select any number of answers. If you do not wish to select any answers at all, you need not. Any answers you select will be marked as selected, both for you and other users, and once you have selected at least one answer, your question will be marked as having a selected answer."
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:50 AM on June 9, 2007


I like "best answer" because it shows which advice the OP is going to follow, and I'm curious.

(And what the heck? You can wear a ponytail with a baseball cap; you just have to get the adjustable kind with the hole in back and thread the ponytail through the hole.)
posted by Many bubbles at 3:20 AM on June 9, 2007


(That is, I like the "best answer" feature.)
posted by Many bubbles at 3:21 AM on June 9, 2007


"People would feel pretty silly yanking a question poster's selected preference into a MetaTalk rant."

"How can it be bullshit to state a preference?"

--Rob Gordon
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:55 AM on June 9, 2007


Or perhaps CwgrlUp's gf didn't feeling like fighting the inevitable snarkfest on my account. So yeah, MC, suck it.
posted by CwgrlUp at 5:25 PM on June 9, 2007


Or perhaps CwgrlUp's gf didn't feeling like fighting the inevitable snarkfest on my account. So yeah, MC, suck it.

You realize that you're pretty much a Creationist, yeah? You claim certain things to be true to fit your world-view, despite all evidence to the contrary. You, or your girlfriend or your cat or whomever is using your account. I can't keep track of it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:12 AM on June 10, 2007


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