The problem: Q&A Answers get posted to the Categorized Questions and Answers section, and they vary in quality. Some are right on target. Others end up getting a bunch of followup responses explaining why they're far from ideal.
The problem is compounded by virtue of the fact that while looking at a particular Q&A question along with its answers, you don't see that an answer has a followup. Thus, an unsuspecting inquisitor may not realize that (s)he is placing credance in an inferior "Answer".
What some people may not realize is that the answers are sorted from highest to lowest reputation. That, at least, is one way of understanding which answers the community sees as being the best. But that's not an ideal solution.
QandAEditors do their best to sort the wheat from the chaff, but there are some answers that slip through which haven't been fully sanitized. Again, replies to lower-quality Q&A Answers are not visible from the Q&A question/answer page, so people don't realize when an unsanitized question has followups.
Well, I'm opening the solution up for discussion. I have a few ideas which may or may not work, and would like to hear what others think too:
- On the Q&A question/answer display page, the answers should at least show how many followups they have so that people will know if a particular answer prompted feedback of some sort.
- The page should also state somewhere that answers with highest reputations appear first.
- An 'opt out of vote' option may allow people to see an answers rep by giving up the right to vote on that particular Q&A Answer. I know this idea has come up before in other contexts, and I'm not convinced it's a good idea, but still worthy of mention.
- Let's hear a few other ideas...