Report very wrong answers

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Jennifer Weiss

Senior Member
Russian
Hello,

Just out of sheer curiosity, can we report wrong answers? For example, if you ask a question and someone who's not a native speaker and can't even properly speak the language (in other words, whose competence is questionable) replies to it. I think this attitude is detrimental to the community and the forum itself. Sometimes people - both native speakers and foreigners - can be wrong and make a mistake - that's understandable and fine but sometimes they simply have no idea what they are talking about and don't fully realize their lack of competence. If moderators are interested in what threads I have in mind, please feel free to contact me privately.

That's why I'm genuinely curious whether I can report such replies, so that a moderator can arrive at a verdict to either delete the post or let it be.

With kind regards,
JW
 
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  • elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Rule 3 says:

    Make a reasonable attempt to verify accuracy. If you are unsure of the accuracy of your information or translation, please say so.

    You may report any posts you believe are in violation of this.
     

    lauranazario

    Moderatrix
    Español puertorriqueño & US English
    All members are free to reply to any thread they see fit. Nobody —regardless of their level of real or perceived competence—is prohibited from providing their input in an open thread.

    And while this means that someone may sometimes provide a wrong/incorrect answer, other people who participate in the thread will usually point it out —in a respectful and civilized manner. The end result is that everyone benefits and learns. :)
     

    Jennifer Weiss

    Senior Member
    Russian
    All members are free to reply to any thread they see fit. Nobody —regardless of their level of real or perceived competence—is prohibited from providing their input in an open thread.

    And while this means that someone may sometimes provide a wrong/incorrect answer, other people who participate in the thread will usually point it out —in a respectful and civilized manner. The end result is that everyone benefits and learns. :)
    True. That's exactly why I've not reported anyone with a wrong response. I simply thought that I should start doing this to help the community to keep only useful and meaningful contributions in every thread. The problem is that sometimes knowledgeable foreros don't point out a flawed reply. They just ignore it, which makes sense to me as well. (To be fair, normally people do point out such things but still not always). As a result, we end up having a thread with conflicting replies and it's anyone's guess who's right and who isn't.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Sometimes the answer is SO wrong that I can't think of polite way to discuss it. We also get people in English Only who have Googled a very old thread, create an account, make one post that is a bit of ridiculous folk etymology (something like "My mother invented LOL." or "I was the first person to say "hoist with his own petard.") and they never return. There's little point in starting a discussion.
    I don't know if it does any good, but I report those.
     

    Jennifer Weiss

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Sometimes the answer is SO wrong that I can't think of polite way to discuss it. We also get people in English Only who have Googled a very old thread, create an account, make one post that is a bit of ridiculous folk etymology (something like "My mother invented LOL." or "I was the first person to say "hoist with his own petard.") and they never return. There's little point in starting a discussion.
    I don't know if it does any good, but I report those.
    Hah, I've always wondered what those posts / who those users are. :D
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    We also get people in English Only who have Googled a very old thread, create an account, make one post that is a bit of ridiculous folk etymology (something like "My mother invented LOL." or "I was the first person to say "hoist with his own petard.") and they never return.
    Those are usually trolls or spammers. Please continue to report them!
     

    Peterdg

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    Sometimes the answer is SO wrong that I can't think of polite way to discuss it.
    In the forums I usually participate in, it does not really happen that often that I see answers that are so completely off, but it does happen every now and then.

    When I see something like that, I usually wait some time to see if anyone else reacts. If not, I do so and I say, "I'm sorry, but this is not correct" and then I give the correct answer (and possibly also say why the original answer in question is wrong).

    I guess that is kind of polite. This doesn't mean I don't get nasty reactions sometimes when I do so, but if so, I usually keep quiet and I report the nasty reaction. Most of the time the moderator team will remove it with a nice note to say "please stay respectful" or something alike. Most of the times, nasty reactions come from users that are relatively new to the forums. But as I said, it doesn't really happen often.

    Anecdote: one of the most remarkable posts that I saw, and in which I got involved, was some user (probably pretty young) who was giving a very long exposé. She said she had done a very thorough research and then she was telling complete nonsense, misinterpreting everything she supposedly read. After I corrected her, se posted again, with a lot of impressive nonsense and at the end she said that if I had remarks, I should answer her in a PM, not on the forum. I again tried to explain why her answers did not make sense (on the forum, of course) and at the end I told her that her request to answer her in a PM and not in the forum, was not fair and that this is not the way how the forum works. I have never seen her again on the forums.
     

    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    Reporting is always a good option.
    Don't be afraid to bother us with your reports - that is hardly ever the case.
    - If you see a totally wrong answer posted by a new member (often written in a way that shows very poor command of the language), please report it, it's very likely to be a troll.
    - If you notice that an active member systematically posts misleading/wrong answers owing to lack of knowledge or poor command of the language, please report it, and we'll see into it.
    - If you think that someone is being deliberately controversial for the sake of it, thus misleading language learners rather than helping them, please report it, and we'll see into it.
     

    swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    If you notice that an active member systematically posts misleading/wrong answers owing to lack of knowledge or poor command of the language, please report it, and we'll see into it.
    That’s great advice, but I hardly ever see rule 3 being enforced in some of the forums I follow.

    I see there’s some expectation on the part of some mods that more knowledgeable foreros will chime in to correct blatant mistakes or erroneous, misleading statements; but that’s completely unproductive. The author of such statements should be held accountable, and it’s unreasonable to keep their answers just because everyone is welcome to post whatever they want.
     

    lauranazario

    Moderatrix
    Español puertorriqueño & US English
    I see there’s some expectation on the part of some mods that more knowledgeable foreros will chime in to correct blatant mistakes or erroneous, misleading statements; but that’s completely unproductive.
    The author of such statements should be held accountable, and it’s unreasonable to keep their answers just because everyone is welcome to post whatever they want.
    What is "completely unproductive" (to use your words) is not to chime in when you see a reply that you deem incorrect—and abstaining from supplying one that is correct in your opinion, explaining why in a cordial and respectful manner.

    But even 'correct' is a very relative term, as what one person might deem as correct/appropriate in their region/country would sound incorrect/inappropriate in another part of the world.
     

    swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    I don’t think the OP has to do with regional differences. :) And, as far as I can remember, when people sign up, there is no requirement to correct others. That’s an extra step that people can take if they feel like it. And just like nobody’s prohibited from participating in any thread, nobody’s required to correct other people’s answers.
     

    lauranazario

    Moderatrix
    Español puertorriqueño & US English
    [...] And, as far as I can remember, when people sign up, there is no requirement to correct others. That’s an extra step that people can take if they feel like it. And just like nobody’s prohibited from participating in any thread, nobody’s required to correct other people’s answers.
    May I remind you that you were the one who was complaining about something being "unproductive"? See below.
    I see there’s some expectation on the part of some mods that more knowledgeable foreros will chime in to correct blatant mistakes or erroneous, misleading statements; but that’s completely unproductive.
    .
    .

    Anyway, if anyone sees a reply that they believe is incorrect/erroneous, they have two choices:
    1. provide another alternative and explain why it's better or more appropriate than the former reply; contribute to everyone's learning experience! :)
    2. report it (a mere report does not force the moderators to delete an allegedly wrong answer; it will only compel mods to discuss the matter)
     

    Jennifer Weiss

    Senior Member
    Russian
    .
    .

    Anyway, if anyone sees a reply that they believe is incorrect/erroneous, they have two choices:
    1. provide another alternative and explain why it's better or more appropriate than the former reply; contribute to everyone's learning experience! :)
    2. report it (a mere report does not force the moderators to delete an allegedly wrong answer; it will only compel mods to discuss the matter)
    3. ignore the post.
     

    swift

    Senior Member
    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    3. ignore the post.
    Yup. That’s probably what most people will do, especially if they are unregistered visitors. In some circles out there, WRF have a reputation for having a bunch of unhelpful threads where Person A asks a straightforward question and Person B provides a completely unhelpful answer, making the thread unnecessarily long and confusing, and ultimately frustrating to skim through to finally find an answer. The Reactions feature may help a little, but since it’s not been institutionalized across all forums, especially in those where that behavior is more pervasive, many users, including learners, have an inconsistent experience. 🤷‍♂️

    Oh, and since the forums work as an extension of the dictionary entries, I am not sure the learning experience is what most people are looking for anyway. That’s an additional benefit, and a great one for that matter, but not the main mission of the forums.
     

    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I think there's nothing wrong with reporting instances you think are problematic. The moderators can decide what to do about it according to the norms of that forum. They can determine whether it's spam, or contribute as regular forum members themselves, or suggest that you do that, or let you know privately if they find you are over-reporting (but that would surprise me! I report lots of little things that are corrected, or not, very quietly. Nobody gets in trouble unless they're truly obnoxious.)
     
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    Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Oh - and they're in the best position to send a friendly-but-firm private message to an enthusiastic-but-misinformed contributor, too. That can be key to stopping it at the source.
     
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