(related PSE post, related VLQ review entity)

Here is a link to a VLQ answer from a new user, who may be capable later to produce high level content. Here is the site which he refers in his post (I edited the link out to avoid the selfmarketing VtD reason).

This time it seems to me not as the "I found the Holy Grail, gimme Nobel Prize now" line. It seems to be a prof emeritus, but I am not sure. So, the first thing what is not clear to me, if he really has the capability to be once a worthy contributor here.

In similar cases I would be happy to let me out from the decision by clicking "skip". Or, if the post is really LQ, then accelerate the review process by clicking as you probably wish.

The first experiences of the new users are very important, i.e. if he doesn't get a friendly welcome, he will be probably lost. And, with him, the site loses the HQ content what he could have produced. Thus, if he has a possibility to contribute HQ content, then he requires now help, and not disciplining. We can't want from a prof. emer. to handle the internet on the level as we can, but most of us can learn from him a lot.

My suggestion would be to relax a little bit and don't handle him as usual - if you see the capability in him to be once a high level content producer. Probably he won't make so many contribution to ever get a high repu, but his contribution could be worthy. Similar users in other hard science sites are existing and are being tolerated. (I replay: only if the user has the possibility to be once really HQ.)


The usual mantra is that we don't judge users, just content. (And, yeah, human beings probably can't achieve that, but the point is to try.)

By all means give promising looking users a pointer to our expectations, and make suggestions to help them either fit in with our culture or, if that's not what they want to go away without hard feelings.

But their posts are what we are suppose to judge. If they are writing poor posts, then that is what needs fixing not the quality control system of the site.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In most cases I agree with it, but there are exceptions and on my opinion, this is one of them. He is probably a human exception. On my opinion, the optimal strategy would be in this case to give him more time to fix the post as the mean duration of the VLQ votes. In this time, I would help him to provide the link to the article and extend his answer to also answer the original question. If he disappears, doesn't react, shows uncooperativity or proves that he isn't HQ, the post can go. But I have a strong impression this is not what will happen. $\endgroup$ – peterh - Reinstate Monica Jul 21 '16 at 0:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Fixed closed questions can be re-opened. Fixed, deleted answers can be undeleted, though only 10k users can see them. If you want to encourage and help another user that is encouraged and when it is ready for prime-time you can flag to have it you can either start the process to have it re-opened/un-deleted or you can flag for a mod. And you can bring it up in chat where you'll often get the attention of a least a few regular users with powers. $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Jul 21 '16 at 0:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Which in this case means, that the post, being an answer, will be deleted soon which will also close out the possibility of fixing it. I am argumenting for that it is now a bad strategy, both from the interests of the site, and from an ethical viewpoint. We have the possibility to handle exceptional cases exceptionally, this is what I am asking for. It wouldn't be a significant deviation from the usual way, with quite positive mean results. $\endgroup$ – peterh - Reinstate Monica Jul 21 '16 at 0:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Chat is good idea, but afaik only a minority of the VLQ voters are reachable on this way. Mod flagging is also a good idea, although it de facto already happened. $\endgroup$ – peterh - Reinstate Monica Jul 21 '16 at 0:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Deleted answers are visible to the owner and to users with 10K. Users that can see the post can also edit it. It is true that deleted answers are in more of a pickle than closed questions. Nor am I adverse to the idea of putting some extra effort into new users who seem promising—I do that myself. And my observation is that users who receive that kind of personalized attention are generally willing to try again whatever the fate of their first post, but leaving bad posts for longer than need be isn't a great idea. $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Jul 21 '16 at 0:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It greatly depends from the induvidual user. My impression is that in this case it won't depend on his willingness, but on his ability to cooperate. The second has much better chance if he gets more time. The refered cs user was enough cooperative to remain on that site. $\endgroup$ – peterh - Reinstate Monica Jul 21 '16 at 1:15

I honestly doubt that notorious and institutional characters would contribute to the contents of this site more than anybody else already does. Let me rephrase the above:

I have personally learnt and enjoyed the most physics here in answers (and comments) provided by users who, according to their profiles, are currently students, PhD students or PostDocs in any non-Harvard-or-Princeton University. People, I mean, who, still being professional physicists and reputed mathematicians, have the actual time and desire to write a complete and sensible answer to the posed question, contributing to the details and the comments, without the claim to advertise their last work soon to revolutionise modern quantum physics or tenure positions at the top rank University.

Let us not work around the fact that, due to many reasons, this site is not a researchers resource or the last frontier for brand new physics to emerge. It is a collection of (still interesting) average questions about standard physics that most (under)-graduate students could correctly answer with no headaches. Although strong emeriti physicists and Nobel Price awardees might be unbelievably gifted scientists, they would hardly contribute to detailed answer for the average questions we have - which is what we aim for, if I have correctly understood the purpose of the site. This with the due exceptions - luckily there are already strong experts who answer some questions (usually in their very own research field).

Different would be the case if the site were indeed a resource for research in physics; in that case we should indeed promote the best player to stay on the field unless specified otherwise. But it is not (is it?).

My suggestion would be to relax a little bit and don't handle him as usual - if you see the capability in him to be once a high level content producer. Probably he won't make so many contribution to ever get a high repu, but his contribution could be worthy.

That would be, as already pointed out by the answer above, in contrast with the purpose of the site. We judge the content, not the person, and if they provide sensible value according to the rules we are going by (whether good or bad they are) be they welcome.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .