For a long time, back in SE, I’ve wondered if it were possible to have two rating systems for upvoting answers:
One would be along the lines of ‘no expertise here, but this answer is clear and seems accurate’ (Or a ‘cool, just learnt something new’) and another along the lines of ‘some expertise here, this answer is accurate’. Because I have found myself upvoting answers which seem so logical and well-explained and which give me the feeling I’ve just learnt something (World-building and History, especially)… only to later (sometimes MUCH later) come across an answer that questions that accuracy.
I think that it is important to upvote when you feel you’ve learnt something from an answer, but being a very upvoted answer doesn’t mean it’s accurate. Maybe a lot of less experienced users simply think ‘I’ve just learmt something new!’ and how can I tell if I’m not experienced in the topic and simply see all those upvotes?
Besides, I have had a couple of answers upvoted like crazy in Writers which I don’t feel deserve such hype (one of them was due to some puns, even if they did make perfect sense in the answer). It’s one thing to upvote an answer that you can verify yourself (like in programming) but if I go to Astronomy and the explanation sounds logic, or if I go to History and there’s an answer filled with pics and quotes (from places I’ll never be able to check myself) and then someone challenges that view with other quotes a month later… In the meantime, a lot of users who think ‘oh, I didn’t know that!’ will have upvoted and the most accurate answer will be lost at the end.
Of course this varies a lot in between topics… but would having the option to ‘like - this is new and interesting to me’ and to ‘upvote - this is accurate AFAIK’ be possible?
I’m sorry I got side tracked and forgot to mention my main point: I see two types of new users:
- those who come for a quick answer and disappear
- those who come in and are eager to participate even if they don’t have questions to ask right now or little expertise to answer.
For the second group, upvoting is the easiest way to show their enthusiasm and support. Therefore, having ‘like - learnt something new’ and ‘I know what I’m talking about and this is accurate’ buttons would encourage such newbies to participate responsibly. Of course, I’m assuming good faith voting.