My evolving policy on how I use MSE
- This site has too many Unanswered Questions. My job here is to make this number as small as possible.
- Duplicate Questions dilute the effectiveness of MSE as a repository of knowledge.
- Other things equal, I have nearly no need of Reputation.
- There are enough Questions which have been ignored or forgotten to fill a lifetime; I will not fight over Questions from the front page.
How I do my job:
- The most effective way for me to remove questions from the Unanswered queue is to upvote Answers that are already there. The only reason I will not upvote an Answer is if it fails to address some important aspect of the Question.
- When there are no such Answers, there usually are Comments which are essentially answers. I will tag the commenter encouraging them to write an Answer. If an Answer is not written within a few days, I will write my own, crediting the original source clearly.
- When there are no such Answers or Comments because the question is unclear, I will vote to close. (This on hold until I have 3000 reputation). I will also vote to close any duplicates.
- When there are no such Answers or Comments, but the Question is interesting, the most effective solution is for me to create a Bounty.
- As a last resort, when I am knowledgeable about the question, I can provide an answer myself.
How I answer Questions:
- When writing Answers, I endeavor to answer Question completely, not to offer hints.
- If I suspect that a Question was written for the purpose of cheating at their homework, but I still wish to answer it (see "How I do my job" #5), I will simply wait to write my Answer until it is a few weeks old.
- Unless I have reason to believe otherwise, I will assume that the OP has no interest in my Answer. I endeavor to answer a Question for the benefit of the site, not the person who asked it.
- I am not opposed to editing a Question for the sake of removing ambiguity, but I will not do so unless I aim to provide a Bounty or my own Answer. (See "How I do my job" #3)
- The only purpose of Reputation is to have privileges to do my job better.
- In particular, every Reputation point I have above 3,000 is a disgrace. Reputation is for Bounties.
- Duplicates are to be closed; abstract duplicates included. I will gladly accept losing Reputation from upvotes, if this means that a duplicate is removed from the site.
- I used to have an account with a decent chunk of Reputation. I left the site because I got dragged into Chat drama and it had negative effects on my already poor mental health. Although I recognize Chat to be an effective tool for doing my job, I will not engage with it until I am sure I can use it safely.