3

"Where can I find X?" questions have always bothered me.

  • They tend to be low on criteria, contributing to low-quality answers.
  • They tend to result in an itemized list: Many short answers that together form a list without much context.
  • Voting is screwed up. Given the above you can't really vote on quality, so you end up voting based on whether you recognize the suggestion and like it. It's a popularity contest that is skewed by the subset of the community that sees the question, and newer answers are likely to be buried under older ones when sorted by votes.
  • They greatly resemble shopping questions. There's not much chance to apply your musical expertise in answering these questions, and the user asking doesn't necessarily learn anything long-term. The best answers are educational and not merely informational:

    If I had to summarize our network in a single word, that word is “learning”. People come to our sites to learn about topics they are passionate about. As the old Chinese proverb goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Every question and answer ultimately should be about teaching and learning — yes, even the shopping ones.

I think we should turn questions like https://music.stackexchange.com/q/5204/28 into questions like What are the feelings & emotions behind chords? or, even better, What gives a piece of music its personality and feeling?. That way we can address all of the above issues and create a respository of knowledge on this site. We should leverage the expertise of the community and make this site a great resource, not just pass links around. And on Gaming, we came to the conclusion that we're better off using our judgment regarding when answers should be self-contained and when and how we should link to external sources. I think the same is true here.

Thoughts?

3

Having myself run afoul of this prescription, I think you've got the right idea.

With https://music.stackexchange.com/questions/4714/what-tools-should-every-musician-have I didn't have a clear idea of what I was looking for. So the question was vague and very quickly accumulated no-new-content answers.

With Exercises for Tuvan Throat-Singing (Overtone-Singing)? I suspect I was saved by viewers being more likely to think "Wow, that's pretty cool" rather than "Why didn't he google first?"

So perhaps we need a little more emphasis (or coaching) on the "What have you tried before?" aspect. Or in this case, "Where have you looked?"

You must log in to answer this question.

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