I've been a little bit disappointed by some behavioral patterns I've seen among users posting answers on this site.
We all know that gaining dedicated users is one of the primary metrics for measuring the success of the Skeptics.SE beta. One of the key parts of that is welcoming new users, not driving them away with scary rules or onerous posting requirements.
That being said, the community will ultimately be harmed by users who:
- Rush to post the first thought that comes to their mind as an answer.
- Post their own research without verification.
- Post things they believe to be proven by research without verification.
- Post links to research without actually answering the question.
As Borror0 pointed out #1-#3 require us to suspend our skepticism and #4 really just makes this site a glorified Google.
So what do we do?
We want to build a valuable resource, but we also don't want to drive users away. In fact, we want to bring new users in to share the same goals.
The burden is on those of us who believe this can be done to help these new users learn what is beneficial and what is detrimental. And frankly, after an answer has been posted is already too late, since the user is more likely to take even polite correction as an attack, and to feel their effort has gone unappreciated.
Twice in the past couple of days I've seen new users respond on their own answers with "do your own research" to comments asking for expansion. This is a terrible thing to see from answerers, and I think we can help new users do better.
To this end, I think the new answer box is lacking. Can we, as a community, come up with some help text that explains what a great answer contains to help the user before they push that "Post Your Answer" button?