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Proposal: Earth Science

  1. All geosciences, excluding geomatics, are not exact sciences. That means, that almost any question can have many correct answers, even in the limits of one accepted theory.

  2. There are different theories, answering differently on some key questions. So, the discussions are inevitable.

When the question is looked upon from different point of view, or answerers understood the question differently, it is all OK. But if there are two correct and incompatible answers? The problem I am talking about, is not on voting itself, the asker in most cases anyway will choose one of the answers more useful for him now. The problem is in voting war between representatives of two or more struggling points of view. Just imagine 25 pluses and 25 minuses for both sides and endless discussion that needs heavy moderation?

And it all contradicts with the base standards of stackexchange. What could be done with it?

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I don't think the Stack Exchange model requires just one answer. We have "accepted answers" for just this purpose:

The default sort order is “votes” for a reason. Normally, the best answer will automatically float to the top through community voting.

...

So in the typical case, you’ll have this:

Question
* Community Selected Best Answer (votes)

But you might also have this:

Question
* Owner Selected Best Answer (accepted)
* Community Selected Best Answer (votes)

In the latter case, you have the best of both worlds. The answer the owner thought was best, and the answer the community thought was best. Right next to each other, both directly under the question. No reading through a giant thread required. Immediate satisfaction with a minimum of scrolling.

It's not unusual on a Stack Exchange site to see two or more highly-upvoted answers on popular questions. When it comes to science sites, answers typically aim to teach the concepts as much or more than provide the actual answer. Even when there is one, canonical answer it can help to have multiple presentations because what works for me, might not explain things to you.

When there are several open theories to explain a phenomena, it's not unusual for the best answer to simply present both explanations. That's not only acceptable, it's encouraged.

  • "Even when there is one, canonical answer it can help to have multiple presentations" yes, for that situation it works. When the question is looked upon from different point of view, or answerers understood the question differently, it is all OK. But if there are two correct and incompatible answers? The problem I am talking about, is not on voting, the asker in most cases anyway will choose one of them. The problem is in voting war between representatives of two or more struggling points of view? Imagine 25 pluses and 25 minuses in both sides and endless discussion that needs moderation? – Gangnus Jan 21 '14 at 8:16
  • And that discussion SHALL become very angry. – Gangnus Jan 21 '14 at 8:16
  • @Gangnus: I can't see why anyone would need to become angry about it. The same kind of thing happens on stackoverflow - there are often two equally good solutions to any programming problem, and users just vote for the one they prefer (or both). The Accepted answer is somewhat meaningless, it basically says that the questioner feels that this answer best suits them, and it gives it a slight boost in the rankings. The accepted answer can be outranked by the highest voted answer. There might be a problem if the questioner accepts an answer that is clearly wrong, but that's a different matter. – naught101 Mar 10 '14 at 1:15
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In my opinion, we can say that there is possibly no absolute answer to a particular question. The role of the people that answer the question is to criticize and keep the topic discussion on going.

Just correct me if I am wrong, please. Thank you.

  • Please, look at my comments to @Jon Ericson answer. What do you think of it? – Gangnus Jan 22 '14 at 9:53
  • I think "answer" is developing. What we think as an "answer" on this moment may be improved by another "answer" in the recent future. That's how the knowledge developed to be better. And I hope so :-) – Santosa Sandy Jan 22 '14 at 11:10
  • You are basing on the postulate, that there is only one definite truth. But the life is more complicated. Sometimes we simply can't define on our level of knowledge, which of the two hypothesis is the correct one. So, a discussion starts. EVERY new idea will bring ad minimum one more principally new answer. Shall we forbid new ideas? But if it is not so new already, there could be two variants, accepted by half of community. And they are WARY and very aggressive against views of the other group. What shall be done with voting wars? – Gangnus Jan 22 '14 at 12:05

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