How appropriate are “I'm not sure of this” posts?

One of the great things about P.SE is that in the process of writing answers, I learn a lot. In this spirit, I've posted many answers which I'm not completely sure about, along with a hatnote stating the same and "Comments appreciated". Many of these have been extremely helpful to me; and I've learned lots of new stuff by posting such answers. But there's no guarantee that such answers are beneficial to the community--after all, they are more of a supplementary question at times. I know the argument "ask it as a question instead", but I feel that it won't cover everything--I tend to have small misconceptions in my knowledge, which would be impossible to find via a question.

So I just wanted to get a feel of what the community thinks of such answers and/or their (in)appropriateness according to policy.

• If I feel not sure enough to make an answer or have "subquestions" concerning the original post because Im interested in the topic too, I sometimes put this in comments. But I´m not sure how much this is approved here ... – Dilaton Mar 30 '12 at 8:59
• @Nemo: Are you saying that you comment on the question(and don't answer) or you answer and comment on the answer? If its a comment-to-question-don't-answer, then: The fact is, my subquestions are vagueish thingys. Basically, I'm not experienced enough in that area and may neglect something or the other. Or I may say something wrong/outdated based on my misconceptions. ANd of course, I don't know what misconceptions I have. So, asking such subquestions in a comment just isn't feasible. – Manishearth Mar 30 '12 at 10:37
• Hm if Im really not sure I just put "non-answer comments" without posting a real answer (I`m too coward :-/). I think we are all here for learning and nobody will shoot you if you say something not quite right, not at the cutting edge of research, etc in the comments ;-) – Dilaton Mar 30 '12 at 11:02
• @Nemo: Yup, that's why I write such posts, so that someone will shoot me and my pysics will improve. Of course, that's why I wear Kevlar ;) – Manishearth Mar 30 '12 at 11:04

For answers, I guess it's fine. If you post something you're not quite sure of, you run the risk of it being wrong and then it gets downvoted, but in that case the system takes care of it; we don't need an official policy on top of that. In fact, if we required that you have to be sure of everything you write, there are a lot of answers of mine that would never have been posted.

This is one of the things that differentiates us from e.g. Skeptics, because on that site you have to provide references to support everything you write, but such a requirement would not be reasonable here.

• I care a damn about downvotes especially if I learn something through them :D Thanks! – Manishearth Mar 31 '12 at 1:20

As I understand it there is nothing wrong with putting into an answer what you know about the topic asked and then improve it in the course of a discussion with other users.