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I'm getting a little confused by the following statement in the FAQ:

Answers are to be judged based on how well they represent the view or tradition they claim to speak for, not whether or not you agree with that position.

It is marked with bold text, thus it should be considered as important. It seems I am wrong, but I thought that the purpose of this site was to get answers to your questions, and not to get a comprehensive list of all the views on the matter that different denominations and traditions might hold. If the latter is the case, then shouldn't it be important to somehow tag the answers so that it's obvious what view or tradition the author claims to speak for? Is the ratings then supposed to be interpreted in such a way that the highest rated answer is the answer that best represents the view or tradition that the author claims to speak for (often his/her own) and not the answer that best answers the question or the most commonly accepted answer?

Suppose I write a question that gets a bunch of answers. All of them are good and represents different views and answers the question all in their own way. Which answer should I mark as accepted? The one that makes most sense to me personally, or the one that is most consistent with the view or tradition that it claims to speak for, or the answer that most people seem to accept?

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First let me mention that the FAQ is a bit out of date in light of our recent site cleanup effort. Thus this statement is a bit behind the curve in what we expect from both questions and answers.

Question should specify a framework from which they want answers. Thus answers should correctly represent the framework, thus if an answer correctly represents the desired view point of the asker then it should be in the running for the accepted answer.

Lets go ahead and note an edge case here as well. In a question that solicits multiple view points (these should be extremely rare as they often fall outside the scope of our guidelines) then answers should specify a view point and a correct answer lines up with the view point it claims to represent. Unfortunately, and this is why we discourage these questions, its impossible to make a determination of what is "most correct" in a situation like this, and thus its up to the author to choose the correct answer for themselves. In a case like this there is no objective correct answer as this site holds each of the view points as equally valid.

TL:DR: The FAQ is out of date, answer should match requested view point of the question. A good answer represents that view point well.

  • yes absolutely, most of the time you can't go wrong upvoting (even multiple answers on a single question). If you find something factually wrong or doctrinally inconsistent than downvote and leave a comment. – wax eagle Oct 31 '11 at 15:37
  • Alright, that seems good to me. So in other words, you could interpret high ratings as well written and consistent with the answer (though it might or might not be according to the Bible, or logically inconsistent) and the accepted answer as the answer that correctly answers the question (according to the author of the question)? (The first comment was published accidentally before it was finished ... :P) – Shathur Oct 31 '11 at 15:39
  • Yes. upvotes are basically an A+ for effort. – wax eagle Oct 31 '11 at 15:53

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