Hi everyone. I've decided to write this post on a whim because there seems to be confusion surrounding a few topics in the community at the moment, and I would like to give some clarity. Part of this stems from me answering people's questions via walls and not sharing the info more widely, which leaves some people in the dark on what's happening on the site. So this is my effort to rectify that.
As some people are already aware, I am trying to change the perception of flags in this community. I believe flags should simply be a notification system for staff, without the connotation that somebody has made a mistake or broken rules. Shifting the perception in this direction will help us see and act upon more things. However, I might have acted on it too soon, because it has come with some growing pains.
In the past few weeks, I have told people that they should hand out flags in some of these situations:
- There is a question without a best answer, and it seems that the asker won't be selecting the answer themselves. (See below for important details about this.)
- There is a moveset question with outdated answer/s that are missing details now required as part of the moveset guidelines list. In this case, the question itself should be flagged (since we can find the answers ourselves).
- There are minor issues with a post (e.g. poor grammar, bad titles or broken images) which may not have been viewed as flag-worthy in the past.
Naturally, there's been some confusion over this and I've seen plenty of comments asking why a particular post is flagged. Hopefully, this helps explain some of that. Sorry for not being clear earlier.
Though, even aside from this, there have been a lot of people stressing about receiving flags lately (e.g. after posting a duplicate question). Please know that getting flagged is not a big deal. There are no penalties for it, and nobody is judging you for it. Sometimes, people will give out flags for reasons you don't understand, or indeed when there is no real problem with the post. Rest assured that if that happens, a mod or editor will simply clear the flag.
In general, it's not worth having a conversation about whether a post should be flagged; just leave it for staff to deal with. Discuss using walls instead if you need to follow up. It would ideal if the process could go by silently, e.g. without comments every time something gets a flag. For that to happen, everyone needs to be very comfortable with flags, and staff need to have a good eye for why posts might have gotten a flag -- we'll work to get better at that.
(I'll also add that I have a thread coming regarding moveset threads and what we've been doing behind the scenes to improve them, which is related to this flagging business. Not much of it is a secret anymore, though!)
As above, I've told some people recently that they should flag posts where the asker hasn't selected an answer where they probably should have. We've always promised to select answers in situations like this, but obviously we don't see everything and I thought flags could lend a hand. But I think this is being taken a little bit too far.
As much as we do want the BA to be awarded, we also want to preserve the agency of the asker to choose the best answer to their question. So I've quickly decided upon a few conditions that must be met in order for us to select the answer to somebody else's question:
- We will select the answer if the author of the question responded positively to the answer, but did not select the answer.
- If the author of the question has a long history of never selecting answers to their questions, then we will select answers for them after some time has passed. (And if they do select answers, then we'll wait even longer.)
- Even if neither of the above cases apply, I think it is fair to select the answer once it has aged long enough for the asker to have seen it first. For now, I'll pin 'long enough' as one week old, but that'll be different if it looks like the asker has made a point of not selecting an answer.
- We might not select the answer where there are multiple answers, and none are clearly better than the others. Otherwise, votes can act as an unbiased measure for this.
- We won't select answers that we don't think resolve the question fully. (There's probably a reason people leave those answers un-selected!)
Making sure the answers have aged a while before they are selected also gives the community (and the asker themselves) time to respond to the post and point out any issues with it. So we aren't going to select answers that are hours old, unless the asker has clearly given their approval. But when you finally do see a post that satisfies those conditions, leave a flag and we'll know what to do (hopefully...)
Today, I posted on somebody's wall saying we would re-select the best answer on an old question if a better (or up-to-date) answer was posted on it. I didn't think this was news, but the word spread in a matter of hours and now there's a bit of a mess. So here's what is going on with that now.
Firstly, it's good to keep old questions up to date, and you're very welcome to post answers that improve upon old ones. However, I've now realised that the BA incentive is going to get people hungry for points, and will probably cause clutter (e.g. distracting from new posts that don't have answers at all). So as much as update answers are welcome, please don't leave lots of answers on old posts in a short period of time. Also bear in mind the above, which says that we'll only select answers after some time has passed; don't expect us to hand you the twenty points right away. Wait a while and then leave a flag.
I'll also mention that when you do post updates to old answers, you should include all the details in your new answer. People shouldn't have to look at multiple posts to find the whole answer, so make sure you include everything. (For example, list every generation and not just the ones that aren't in the existing answer.) It might feel bad taking the info from somebody else, but ultimately nobody owns the information and it's all worth it in the interest of making an easier experience for people searching for answers.
Let me know if any of this is still unclear (or if you disagree with it), and if there are more topics you would like us to explain.