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I have to say I am very disappointed with the quality of the answers on this site, even those that are upvoted. I see a lot of questions asking "I heard this, is this true?". However the answers don't cite studies or provide evidence, they quite often trot out their "received wisdom" as if it were actual science.

Here's an example. The questioner cites an actual scientific study in a reputable journal. The answers are all generic "some studies have these problems", naming a few rookie statistical mistakes. Not a single person reads the study to find out if those problems were applicable to this study. In short what we have here is the reverse of what we would like - the questioner is asking about science, and the answers are all "woo".

  • I'm not happy with the answers in the example, but there is the additional problem in this specific case that the study in question is not freely available. – Mad Scientist Mar 21 '11 at 18:23
  • And as a positive counterpoint, we do often get good answers and they are voted up accordingly. It seems to me that most of the upvoting on bad answers happens if there are no other high-quality answers already posted. In those cases the voting does not lead to good results. – Mad Scientist Mar 21 '11 at 18:33
  • For those coming to this question later, the original answers I was talking about are now heavily downvoted. – DJClayworth Apr 28 '11 at 16:34
  • I have to say what you did was the most appropriate thing: None of the answers were sufficient, so you provided one of your own. With the site becoming more popular, it's important that new users see what a good answer looks like. – jozzas Apr 30 '12 at 22:55
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I completely agree. In fact, this is what has inspired this suggestion. We didn't have that problem before, though. It's only since the last few days where this has really been a problem.

We have to educate people on what voting means: here, voting up an answer means that it's a great answer that answers the question. It doesn't mean that you agree, or that it was funny. It means you think it's a solid and thorough answer that does address the question asked.

The moment a question gets one upvote, it's marked as answered and the user receives feedback that his behavior is correct. If you upvote low quality posts, you encourage the creation of low quality posts.

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