Imagine there is a poor question and as an example I link the question "Is better be optimistic than pessimistic". "Poor" is a subjective term, but I found this question poorly researched and most of all, primarily opinion-based.

I voted for question closure. Not so much because there may not be a useful answer (not my area of expertise, and psychiatrists may have something useful tom say about this I bet, and there is an upvoted and accepted answer). Thing is, I suspected this question to remain unanswered, bar a handful of opinion-based answers without any scientific foundation. And indeed, several answers have since been posted as in "Please be optimistic because you make more friends bladibla".

Now my question is not so much about this particular question, as it serves as a recent example of a recurring theme (although comments on this specific case are highly welcomed).

The general theme is poor questions generate poor answers. As such questions often remain open, I find it difficult to review the answers, as poor questions generate poor answers. Several pretty low-quality answers posted in my linked question are from newbies. This makes it even more difficult to flag their contributions as they are newbies that have come across this question and think it's the norm.

Any comments on this as to what I should do in terms of reviewing poor answers to poor questions is welcomed (I flagged the newbie answers for mod attention in this case). I know "poor" is subjective, but I hope my linked example gives a fairly good impression of what I define by "poor", namely basically "poorly researched" or "opinion-based" or "pitched such, to very likely lure out opinion-based answers".

Related question: https://biology.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2919/eye-for-an-eye-poor-questions-with-poor-answers

Original version of question before it was edited.

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    I pasted a screenshot of the question before editing into your question. Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 23:47

1 Answer 1


Regarding the specific question, I've edited it to hopefully make it clearer. I agree that the question as originally asked was worded in an imprecise way, but hopefully at this point there is a legitimate scientific question that can be answered.

More generally, I agree with your observation that certain types of questions seem to encourage poor answers. Hopefully we've got enough tools to handle this situation and maintain standards on the site:

  • If a question falls into a close category, then vote to close.
  • Alternatively, if there is a way of polishing the question to make it clearer and more scientifically answerable, then edit it.

If a question is adequate (but not great) and is eliciting poor answers, then it's probably more important to focus on the answers.

  • Downvote the answers
  • Add comments on how the answer can be improved
  • Flag the answers
  • Provide a better answer
  • I linked this answer on Biology Beta. It is much appreciated. Thanks.
    – AliceD Mod
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 9:20
  • Could you share a link to Meta Bio.SE?
    – draks ...
    Commented Mar 26, 2015 at 19:48

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