I spend a lot of time patrolling for duplicates in story identification questions. One issue that repeatedly comes up are the differing definitions of "quality" held by various users when deciding which is the "best" duplicate target to choose. Since "quality" is in the eye of the beholder but the site values consensus-oriented policy, this question is being put forth in an attempt to collect group opinion on:
- which factors are important in deciding the quality of an answer, and
- what is the relative weighting of importance for these factors
The idea inspiring this question is that of a grading rubric, such as might be found in any situation where multiple teachers have to grade student essays based on the same standard. While a rubric does not eliminate subjectivity, it does provide a more objective basis by which to rate the closeness of a particular essay to the group-defined ideal. Such a rubric would commonly leave room for hard-to-pin-down aspects such as style and organization, but would still serve to limit the divergence in independent evaluations by reducing the scoring impact of these subjective factors.
It is my hope that something similar can be built here, if for no other purpose than to allow clearer communication between site participants about what they mean by "better" when comparing two posts.
To accomplish this, I am asking that any participating user please post individual answers making a case in favor of each specific factor that he or she deems important. If another answer is posted that more or less agrees with your thinking for a particular factor, please upvote that answer instead of posting a new one. A comment on the answer can be used to make any necessary clarifications or to make a case against that factor. Similarly, if you agree with a particular clarification or disagreement comment, please upvote that comment to express your support.
The hope is that the resulting answers will evolve to an ordered list showing the level of consensus around specific factors, from highest to lowest in group-evaluated importance. (It may also serve as a guide of how to create questions or answers that are broadly deemed as high-quality.) I would prefer it if nobody places any downvotes on any answers, as this will distort the relevant rankings.
I am completely aware that the question of duplicates in general and "quality" in particular have been thorny topics. This is NOT intended to provoke an argument that casts more heat than light. This is a genuine attempt to find out what kind of consensus can be built so that I and others can reduce the friction around the process of closing duplicates.
Note that this question is not about how to ask a good story-identification question so much as it's about what features are considered valuable by the community for an answer or a post as a whole (both question and answer). It's also intended to produce guidance on the relative weighting of the value/importance of each feature.