Any way of keeping merely Googled and/or guessed answers out of GQ?

No,this isn’t a rant about anyone or any thread, I’m asking about this board in general, esp GQ. Hence the ATMB for this Q.

I’ve noticed over my time here that many GQ questions are often answered, or at least, first answered, by someone who has just googled (or any other search engined) a link or guessed an answer. Sometimes this is okay, but it doesn’t really help on many Qs.

For instance, if I’m asking about sports photography or maybe a specific situation in sports photography, I would rather have someone who is very involved in sports photography answering, not just someone who thinks they know photography (but really only partially does) googling a non specific answer or guessing based on their interest in photography as a whole.

Am I using a good example here? I chose photography because I used to teach it and have made a living in various different fields of photography, so I’ve noticed wrong, misleading, or almost right but not quite answers about photography in GQ before. (No! No cites, as I’m not Pitting anyone.) I have also seen this behavior in threads about other subjects.

So, maybe what I’m asking is: Can there be any way to limit responses in GQ based on Google or guessing? Sure, sometimes a general “Here’s what I found about it” can be helpful, but it often isn’t good enough for specifics or is downright misleading because of the lack of true understanding on the Google Asnwerer’s part.

Thoughts? Ideas? Should this be moved to The Pit anyways?

No way that I can think of except to politely ask people who don’t know what they’re talking about to not answer. Of course, there are enough helpful people around here that will contribute their experience (even if it’s incorrect, or not entirely helpful like you mentioned), but I’ve found that even when asking, “serious answers only” (as you’ll see in the “Do women have teeth in their vagina” thread and almost anything that has to do with conspiracy theory, the numbnuts come out of the woodwork. There are a couple of posters who are notorious for these drive-by rimshots and they really can’t be reasoned with or controlled other than to ban them.

I think your stuck with it. Asker beware and etc.

Of course, I’m neither a psychologist or vBulletin programmer, so for all I know there’s no way to block stupid answers from the database side…

If somebody asks a question in GQ and says they’ve done some research on it, I’ll tend to steer clear until a SME can come along and give a definitive answer, unless I feel myself to be an SME. Likewise, if somebody asks a question with a specific answer, I’ll hold off on posting a semi-humorous one until there seems to be a consensus among the previous answers. Both are, to me, implicit in the posting rules for the GQ forum, and smacking headlong into them is all part of the learning curve here.

Oh, I forgot: asking for “serious answers only please” is a taunt that these numbnuts can’t let go unanswered.

That and there’s the ever-annoying GQ question that is answered and a half dozen other posters reply, “Hm. Well, my sister once…” There’s been at least one pit thread about this.

The only way to curb that is to have the mods read every single thread and close them once they’re sufficiently answered. That’s a big waste of their time and probably counter-productive.

Point of order: Asking for “serious answers only” in IMHO or MPSIMS is literally asking for trouble.

Something I always find funny is when somebody asks a question, then six or seven people chime in with pretty much the same answer, sometimes hours apart.

“I think it’s Tuesday.”
“Yep. Tuesday.”
“My mom always said it was Tuesday.”
“Is it Tuesday?”
“I’m not sure, but I think it might be Tuesday.”

Yeah, I’ll do the occasional GQ drive-by myself, not often tho. But a drive-by or silly response is usually immediately recognised as such. Usually.

Not so the “I’m not really experienced in this, but I think I know more than the OP does, by gawd” Answerer. A wrong or misleading answer can hamper the whole thread.

Yes, I’m sure I’ve done it myself, esp closer to my sign on date, but still, I’m seeing a lot of it around here. I guess the answerers sometimes really do think they’re doing us a favor. Oh well.

Yeah, OPer beware seems to be the best option.

If the OP asks a straightforward question, and has tried Googling with no luck … then a member hits on a different combination of keywords and comes up trumps, and posts a link … what’s wrong with that?

And if you believe you know the answer to an OP’s question, and Google to confirm, and post the link … that’s not OK?

Also, no message board - not even this one - has a resident expert on *every * subject!

I really don’t see the problem. :confused:

I sure can’t think of one. It’s too bad, but usually some version of a correct answer shows up for most threads. It’s usually not too hard to tell which one that is.

One idea has already been implemented and noticably reduced the number of such questions: start charging for access.

The number of “newbie” questions (including “ducks quacks don’t echo?” and such) have fallen off alarmingly. (Well, at least I’m alarmed.)

Alarmed as in there are fewer new members, or that you needed those posts to remind you whether or not a duck’s quack echoes?

It’s my impression that, although the first answer to GQ questions is often incomplete, guessed, or a joke, we usually find an expert eventually, who can set matters straight. A guess will be either correct or incorrect: If it’s (wholly or partly) correct, it can save the eventual expert a lot of work, since he or she can simply say “Poster X is correct”, or “Poster X is mostly correct, except for the part about Y”. If the initial guess is incorrect, then it doesn’t take the expert any more time to correct the guess than it would to answer correctly in the first place (in fact, even an incorrect guess can often provide a useful framework upon which to structure the correct answer). And furthermore, most folks around here are pretty good about admitting that an answer is a guess or based on unreliable knowledge, so it’s easy for an OP to know whom to listen to.

So to sum up, I’d say that it’s not a real problem.

While the duck-type questions are a pain to see over and over, these are the same people who tend to ask the really off-the-wall questions that I enjoy hearing about. (Even if there’s nothing to it.) A nice mix of people is a good thing. (TM Martha Stewart)

Besides, a whole bunch of wrong answers keeps the question on the front page long enough for an expert to see! If no one posted unless they knew for sure what the answer was, then GQ would be full of a lot of unanswered questions, with old ones falling off the front page REALLY quickly. Or a lot of repeats, in hopes SOMEONE can answer it… For a lot of people, it’s the interaction and discussion and occasional discovery of the answer that’s interesting about this place. If you want a straight answer, nothing else, go to Google :smiley:

The Coming to a Consensus method is a very good point.

However, what I’m mostly talking about is a specific question that really does need an expert reply. Yes, I think we do have have experts in enough fields to answer many many questions. However, we also have people who think they know something about everything (myself included :slight_smile: ) and yet are severely lacking in true in depth knowledge of what a particular thread may be covering. That’s the type of post I was hoping on curtailing. But since we can’t, I hope everyone with certain specific questions already know enough about the subject to figure out which posts are BS and which aren’t.

Oh well, it was worth talking about… Thanks, all.


You bring up a good point. At the very least, people should preface their remarks. For example: “I have worked in this field for fifteen years and…” or “I’m no expert but until one shows up, I found this on Google.”

At the very least, maybe the usual suspects will see this and take it to heart. One can always hope…


I don’t think that’s at all what the OP is complaining about, but more the people who don’t really know about a subject and thus can’t really sort out good sites from bad yet can’t resist posting a link anyway. That bugs me too, but as others have said, there probably isn’t any way to stop that from happening.

I cut my message-board-style-posting teeth on Usenet, where this behaviour is not only commonplace, but expected, since Usenet is still a wee bit unreliable in places and everybody doesn’t see the same messages in the same order at the same time. On a centralized board like the SDMB this is not a problem, but I still see a value in having several people give the same answer. One person answering may be a lone nut avoiding correction by happenstance, but six identical answers usually signals correction.

What I find funny, and annoying, is this:
“It’s Tuesday.”
“Yep, definitely Tuesday.”
“No question about it, Tuesday it is.”
“It’s Tuesday, all right.”
“its actually wednesday!!!111 cuz in 1598 cristofer culumbus sed it was wednesday!!!111 so its wednesday!!!111”
“No, it’s Tuesday. That’s an urban legend. Here’s a Snopes link.”
“Yeah, it’s Tuesday. The Columbus thing is just a myth. Here are a few links. Oh, and Columbus was dead in 1598.”
“Tuesday it is. I’ve heard that Columbus myth so many times and I don’t get how anyone can believe it.”
“It’s Wednesday actually. Christopher Columbus said so in 1598.”

I agree with Chronos. I dont think it’s much of a problem. If nothing else, the wrong, guessed, or semi-right answers will bump your thread - further increasing the chance that an expert will see it. Any response is helpful in that sense.

I’ll second this (It’s Tuesday, dagnabbit!!). I’ve had several GQs die on the vine; I would have loved for some smartass to make a comment just so the question could stay on the front page long enough for someone who knew what the hell they were talking about to come along. There is a lot of turnover in GQ, so it’s pretty common for question that have a very niche to be answered correctly, particularly if it doesn’t involve sex or whacky conspiracies.

I appreciate all the comments. I’m really not wanting to have this thread polarise into two different schools of thought tho, 'cause I see pros and cons in each line of reasoning. Also, I’ve really enjoyed the nonPitty way the discussion has progressed. (To be honest, I was a little bit worried about that.)

I guess the current way is the best option we have open.

Again, thanks for the enlightened discussion, and perhaps this thread can be closed. If’n yew feels like it. :slight_smile:
Yer Texan Know it all Trekker, NCB