In the Game of Thrones related tags on scifi.stackexchange.com, I have noticed that people have started answering with speculation and unsupported explanations, rather than using facts and quotes.

For example: (No offense to the writers of these answers).

And as an example of how I think it should look:

The part that bugs me about that is that these answers get lots of upvotes. I do not think that it goes along with how stackexchange sites should work: Give answers based on facts. Perhaps some of these questions do not have answers except speculation -- then this should be mentioned in the answer: We don't know, but here is a possible explanation. Or perhaps some of these questions should be closed for inviting speculation and discussion. Am I out of line here?


This is not a question about how I should deal with low quality answers, it is that the community is not dealing with low quality answers. People are not downvoting unsupported answers. I see answers which are both right and wrong getting lots of upvotes. What can we do to encourage higher quality answers?

I do not object to speculation, I like theories and speculation, but I do object to laziness. Here is an example: Michael Edenfield (no offense, Michael) who happened to have written one of the examples I gave wrote:

The Sons of the Harpy want Daenerys dead. They don't really have any demands that she could ever meet that would make them happy because her mere presence is what they object to.

Which should be written more like this:

We can assume that all that The Sons of the Harpy want is that Daenerys is dead or gone. They have not mentioned any demands in the show or in the books, all they have done is kill people that Dany likes and/or supports.

It says the same thing, but without hidden implications about knowledge that do not really exist.

In this answer, I have no objection to what you are saying, and it is a good answer to a vague question.

  • possible duplicate of Flagging answers that don't present textual evidence
    – phantom42
    Jul 13 '15 at 11:29
  • @SQB Autoformatting only works for question links, not for answers (but in turn does work inside lists).
    – TARS
    Jul 13 '15 at 12:40
  • The problem here is not how to deal with varying quality answers, but that no quality is required by the community. Sometimes the answers are correct, and sometimes they are speculation, and sometimes its unsupported nonsense.
    – TLP
    Jul 13 '15 at 12:54
  • 2
    If you feel an answer doesn't measure up to your quality standards, feel free to downvote. But as long as it's an answer, it's unlikely to be deleted just because you don't like it.
    – phantom42
    Jul 13 '15 at 13:29
  • 1
    I'm not sure about the question's title, though, especially what the matter of turning the ASoIaF books into a television programme has to do with the much more general problem you adress here. Or is your hypothesis really that such supposedly speculative answers really only happen for Game of Thrones questions and not for questions about the books (let alone questions about any other material at all)?
    – TARS
    Jul 13 '15 at 13:35
  • You also don't get to dictate how other users vote. You may find speculation unhelpful. Others may find it helpful. You vote how your conscience guides you, and I'll do the same.
    – phantom42
    Jul 13 '15 at 13:35
  • @TARS I mean that after the tv-show was created, standards have been lowered. I am sure it can be true for things as well, I don't really know.
    – TLP
    Jul 13 '15 at 15:53
  • @phantom42 You might not find it offensive when people post bad answers and get upvoted, but I do. I think it goes against what stackexchange is all about: Getting good answers.
    – TLP
    Jul 13 '15 at 15:55
  • @TLP I find it offensive when users try to force their own value judgments on other people. Your definition of "bad answer" seems to be somewhat at odds with everyone else's definition. To me, a "good answer" is one that's correct. No amount of citations or references will turn a wrong answer into a right one, they can only serve to improve an already good one.
    – KutuluMike
    Jul 13 '15 at 15:58
  • then i suggest you open up a meta post to convince everyone to change the policy to require concrete proof in their answers, and all others be deleted. however, based on past conversations, i expect you'll have an uphill battle. good luck.
    – phantom42
    Jul 13 '15 at 15:58
  • 1
    every conversation that's been had about setting guidelines for how users are supposed to vote has ended the same: we don't. you don't like that others are upvoting an answer you don't like? too bad. downvote it, leave a comment, do whatever you want - but nobody is ever going to be required or disallowed to vote in either direction based on policy.
    – phantom42
    Jul 13 '15 at 16:06
  • @phantom42 I did not say that I required concrete proof and that other answers should be deleted. That's what you said. I have also not said anything about telling people how to vote. You should stop putting words in my mouth.
    – TLP
    Jul 13 '15 at 16:09
  • 3
    @phantom42 to be fair I don't think he's trying to force a new policy; he's asking how to encourage people to vote in a way that produces less low-quality answers. My objection is merely that I don't think the answers are as low-quality as he thinks.
    – KutuluMike
    Jul 13 '15 at 16:10
  • @MichaelEdenfield Yes, that is more along the line of what I meant. As for those examples, they were not the best examples, just a few I took off the front page. I suppose if I found better examples, it would be easier to understand.
    – TLP
    Jul 13 '15 at 16:13
  • 1
    3/3 The GoT show also drives a lot of intermittent participation, and attracts a lot of users, many of which might be new users. The point is though, that if a user sees an answer which they find helpful, and they up-vote it, then perhaps it is a good answer? Cited or not. I for one prefer when answers have quotes or references, etc, but sometimes, that's not available, let alone required.
    – Möoz
    Jul 13 '15 at 23:04

Or perhaps some of these questions should be closed for inviting speculation and discussion.

Questions that are just a discussion ARE closed as not conforming to the Q&A format. Questions that may only have a speculative answer are not closed. You can get some pretty good speculative answers, or maybe someday a Word of God answer will come along and end all speculation.

What can we do to encourage higher quality answers?

You can upvote what you consider to be high quality answers, and downvote the ones you consider low quality. I would guess if you decide to go on a downvoting rampage and serially downvote all answers you consider speculative, you probably aren't going to make many friends.


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