This isn't a question, it's an appeal.

Recently, I've noticed there has been a large increase in the number of good answers being put in the comments of questions, because people are overly cautious of putting forward an answer.

And this is increasing even in spite of an existing post on meta trying to address this problem: Comments are not for Answers.

I feel that is possibly partly because our community is particularly subject to fear of being wrong and hesitation to answer. Let's face it, it's a quirk of Japanese culture that people are hesitant to answer unless they are 100%, rock-solid, totally sure of their answer.

So, I thought it worthwhile to address the issue from another perspective, which is that the green check mark awarded by the questioner should not be viewed as the absolute deciding factor in determing if an answer is "right".

Or, put another way, not getting a green check mark does not mean failure.

This question is a good example. The questioner asks if 一緒に is needed when saying 行こう.

There are two ways of looking at it. One is that grammatically speaking, 一緒に is necessary. Or it's more precise.

However, another way of looking at it is that in day to day conversation, people can and often do drop 一緒に because it's understood from context.

So, we might get two answers. One from the grammatical perspective, and one from the point of view of common use. The questioner might apply the green check to either answer, depending on which was of most interest to that person.

But that doesn't mean the other answer is wrong. Other people might want to know about the other points.

In short, just because a person asks a question doesn't mean they are the final authority on what is right (if they knew what was right, they wouldn't need to ask!). What they apply the green check to is what they are interested in knowing.

For the benefit of the community, multiple answers increase the chance that everyone gets the answer they are looking for.

So... in conclusion, don't hesitate to answer just because it might not be the perfect, complete, and final answer. Lots of answers are good. Even partial answers which address only one aspect of the issue are good.

So stop commenting. Put in answers! :)


Just an additional note:

For this site to get out of beta, questions need to have an average of 2.5 answers.

That shouldn't necessarily taken to mean that there should be a bunch of answers from which the questioner gets to decide which is right. It means there should be multiple perspectives so that other people coming to the site looking for information get complete information.

It increases the value of the site, and valuable sites get to move out of beta.

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Ah! I've been always commenting!! Sorry~~!! (Argh! here again!) –  Chocolate Feb 1 '12 at 8:17
    
@Chocolate: No need to apologize, we're happy to have your helpful input. You've been contributing lots of helpful stuff. Just get a little bolder and go straight to answering. :) –  Dave M G Feb 1 '12 at 8:25
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+1. Many potential answers stay as comments and we need to fix that. @Chocolate-san: Perhaps you could start changing some of your comments to answers, many of them actually answer the question. Rep points are the "currency" of stackexchange and it would be really handy for offering bounties to questions that are not sufficiently dealt with. –  Flaw Feb 1 '12 at 8:47
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2.5 answers per question isn't a hard and fast requirement, as far I'm aware. It's more like a guideline. –  Andrew Grimm Feb 1 '12 at 11:33
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@AndrewGrimm: Yes, it's a guideline. That's why we should try to follow it. If we don't treat guidelines as guidelines, then what should we use as a measurement? –  Dave M G Feb 1 '12 at 11:55
    
+1 nice post. :) I might add an answer later (if I get something to say). –  Alenanno Feb 1 '12 at 12:00
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A related issue is when multiple people answer at the same time with different angles on the question, but then some of those people later delete their answers for various reasons, leaving behind only a single answer and losing the other perspectives in the process. –  Troyen Feb 2 '12 at 5:20
    
@Troyen: I have not seen that as an issue on this site. I have enough points to see deleted answers, and they are a negligible fraction of activity on JLU. In any case, we should be encouraging more answers. If answer deletion becomes a problem, we'll address it then. –  Dave M G Feb 2 '12 at 5:43
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My problem is when the post consists of several smaller sub-question/facets (as I occasionally do). If I don't know the answer to all the sub-questions, I don't feel like I'm really answering the original poster's complete thoughts. So in such situations, I tend to comment instead of answer. –  istrasci Feb 3 '12 at 16:51
    
I agree with you, but when I tried to put an answer forward that didn't 100% answer the question (which was probably a typo anyway...) but I was trying to be helpful I got down-voted. Now I'm afraid to do it again :( –  silvermaple Feb 4 '12 at 16:51
    
@silvermaple: Can you show the answer where this happened? While on the one hand I want to give you the benefit of the doubt and say that whoever downvoted was being unneccessarily harsh, I can't ignore the possibility that there was something else that people felt made the answer flawed. In any case, however, downvoting of any kind is not pandemic on answers on JLU, and from what I've seen, most answers get upvoted enough to make up for it. It's not a consistent problem, so, much like the comment to Troyen, if this does become a persistent issue, we'll deal with it then. –  Dave M G Feb 5 '12 at 0:49
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this meta question got lots of comments but no answer .. what an irony ;) –  Lukman Feb 29 '12 at 16:24
    
@Dave Sorry, it wasn't in my list of answers, probably because I deleted it, but it was about Omiyage and I was just giving her (what I thought was friendly and good) advice on giving/receiving Omiyage in Japan and got a bunch of down-votes :( –  silvermaple Mar 3 '12 at 15:51
    
@silvermaple: Well, I can't say for sure without seeing it, but if you were giving advice on giving/receiving omiyage, that would be off topic. That's a cultural issue more than a language issue. –  Dave M G Mar 4 '12 at 9:23
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1 Answer

One major problem we've been having is that certain, otherwise extremely helpful, members are very trigger-happy when it comes to downvoting incomplete or slightly incorrect answers.

These members, while helpful due to their high level of knowledge of the language, have done significant damage to the site. They have made people FAR more tentative here than any other SO community I've been a part of.

Most places are reasonably happy with offering quick comments or even correcting a particular detail. Here we have some extremely active users whose preferred mode of operation is a downvote unaccompanied by any helpful information.

Worst is when a comment is provided that consists only of "downvoted for being wrong".

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Yes, I agree this is an issue. There is a prevailant black-or-white, perfectly-right or totally-wrong mentality on this site. I think the only way to counter this is to try and create as much positive feedback as possible. Not to argue down the negative players, but to emphasize the positive in people's questions and answers, and offer suggestions on how to make improvements, instead of pointing out flaws. –  Dave M G Mar 2 '12 at 4:58
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@DaveMG. "instead of pointing out flaws" Hi there! haha –  Flaw Mar 2 '12 at 6:16
    
There appears to be a Flaw in your choice of names. –  jkerian Mar 2 '12 at 6:23
    
@Flaw: Aha! Now we know who is the source of all the problems! ;) –  Dave M G Mar 2 '12 at 6:27
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