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Community Team
Community Team

Should I create a question or a discussion? How is the "Correct Answer" flag applied?

As a result of a question posed in the Find Answers space, a question was quickly--perhaps too quickly--marked with a Correct Answer flag. In response to  @buellj ​, I took full blame for quickly marking that question with the Correct Answer flag--mainly because in that case, I felt that  @chofer ​'s suggestion to contact support was the best approach for something this specific and one that we in the Community could not readily replicate. Even so, a question with a Correct Answer flag doesn't disappear from view, and when a question is well tagged, it will remain prominent in search results. (By the way, here's the original question--now a discussion--that sparked the exchange: Canvas iOS App Lag? Delays seeing new course edits? )

This gave rise to  @buellj 's question below: When is a question a question, and when is it a discussion? How and why do questions get a Correct Answer flag?

Message was edited by: Stefanie Sanders

9 Replies
Learner II

I guess this brings up a question and reveals something that the champions may know about but others do not. What is the purpose of questions - are they moderated by champions and the idea is to close them out quickly? If so, let's change this to a discussion. It would be great if the "rules" could be explained somewhere.

Community Coach
Community Coach

 @buellj , great question! Here's a page for questions - First time asking a question? Click to learn more. - and here's a page for discussions - How do I start a Discussion in the Community?. The links to these pages are right under the "Ask New Question" and "Start a Discussion" buttons on the Find Answers page.

To me the biggest distinction is that a question has a right or wrong answer, which we (as a Community) would like to get marked so that way if other people have a similar question they can quickly see what the *right* answer is. A discussion is something with no real right or wrong answer, but something where there might be a lot of possible answers that would work.

Does this help/make sense?

 @kona ​ has pretty much nailed it. We don't have cut-and-dried rules per se (and I love that you're referring to "Champions"!   @chofer  and  @kona  are true Champions in my book!). We do try to mark questions with "Correct Answer" flags as soon as possible, with the understanding that marking them as such doesn't make them go away--and we are always taking that action with a touch of trepidation, knowing that we might not always be getting it quite right in the eyes of the primary interlocutor.

Speaking for myself, I'm conditioned to think of "Questions" as binary; they either have a correct answer or they do not. "Discussions" are open ended. The beauty of the new Jive community is that it gives us so many more options; as you may recall, in the former community we didn't have any provision for discussions or blogs.

Speaking of those new options in the new community, I'd like to do two things here:

  1. Change the status of this question to a discussion (and you've already agreed to that)
  2. Branch this ancillary discussion about whether to create a question or discussion out to a separate discussion in the Meta Community Group--yet another new feature we've gained with our move to Jive.

So before I change this to a discussion,  @buellj , does #2 sound good to you?

Yes - and thank you for your patience and kindness as I flail

Good to know - thanks Kona!

 @buellj , we are also conditioned to catch you as you flail. :smileygrin:

I'm quoting  @kona ​ because she wrote it, but stefaniesanders​ said pretty much the same thing.

Kona Jones

... which we (as a Community) would like to get marked ...

The desire to mark things as "correctly answered" sometimes leads to frustration on the part of the question poser (QP).

  • In some cases, it's a poorly asked question to start with (no, I won't link to an example, but I have them) and the answer, while technically correct, is not what the poser wanted. I fully lay the blame in that instance on the QP. If someone correctly answers the question that was asked, they should get the credit for it. And people shouldn't say "No it wasn't helpful" if it answers the question but it was their fault for asking the wrong question. I don't want to see a "I asked the wrong question" button either, it would just clutter things up and most people wouldn't fess up to it anyway.
  • In other circumstances, people trying to get an answer out there quickly will give a correct -- as far as that person knows -- answer. Like "No, you can't do that, you need to make a feature request" (paraphrased). Then someone else will come along and give an answer of how it can be done using the API or through a report or that you don't really have to include javascript on your page, you can just use the enhanceable_content class. Sometimes the "No you can't do this" is marked correct before the other responses come out; other times they are marked correct despite the other answers coming out.
  • And sometimes you have people with the power to do so who mark their own questions as correct as soon as they answer it. Most of the time, however, someone will post an answer and someone else will come through and mark it as correct. That's a good check and balance system and I haven't really seen the Canvas Coaches abusing that.

However, when people are answering a lot of questions, they sometimes don't attempt to fully understand the question before they answer it (even when it's a good question). For example, if someone asks "Where can I find information about squares?" and someone answers "Here's some information on rectangles" it will probably get marked as correct., even though a deeper reading by someone knowledgeable in that area might reasonably infer that the QP was looking for the difference between a square and rectangle.

Now we're getting into the breakdown between discussions and questions. I agree with Kona that questions (in the Community) should have answers and Discussions may not. Many QPs don't want a discussion, they just want an answer and sometimes it's not as simple as a single correct answer. A bigger issue I find is that people ask a question in a feature request, but that's besides the point. Any teacher understands that many questions may have multiple correct answers. Some of them are better than others and some of the better answers may not be as usable by the QP as some of the simpler, but not as complete, ones. In the Canvas community, though, only one answer can be marked as correct.

I'm told that's what the marking something as helpful thing is about. Except that sometimes people find things helpful despite being an incorrect (and possibly downright wrong and bad practice) answer.

And now that I'm typing this up, I don't know if I'm in a discussion or a question. I hit the Advanced Editor button when I started and I can't find anything on the page or in the URL that indicates what it is. There aren't any links back to the original item to see where I came from, either. Just more that adds to people's confusion.

Sometimes the question needs clarification but the QP never comes back to provide it and so something is sitting in the unanswered questions queue for a long time and a goal is to keep that list short. Other times a question is answered right away, but it doesn't get marked as correct and just sits there waiting for something to happen. There was one I was going to respond to, but the first poster had answered it correctly so there was nothing for me left to say - yet it stayed in the unanswered queue for much longer than some of those that could have benefited from a discussion.

Hopefully this illustrates some of the problems with marking things correct. The point is that there is a delicate balance between marking something correctly and waiting to see if something better comes along. Generally, I think the Coaches do an exceptional job with a difficult task of deciding when to mark things correct, although sometimes I think a little more caution could be exercised.

Unless, of course, it's my answer and then by all means mark it correct right away -- just kidding. What would be nice is to be recognized for providing a correct answer. Yes, you got points for likes and helpfuls along the way, but there is something special and fulfilling about getting it marked "correct" and there is no recognition until you reach 25 of them and get the badge.

Thanks stefaniesanders​!  You've also provided a lot of great tips and tricks, too...and I'm learning more by reading stuff you thanks to you, too!!! :smileycool:

Community Team
Community Team

I was just replying to a question in the Find Answers space, and to me it was more of an open-ended call for suggestions than a question that required a right or wrong answer. The QP, as  @James ​ terms it, didn't realize that he had created a question; he actually meant to create a discussion, and he asked me how to go about creating a discussion in Find Answers. So I made this graphic for him; maybe you can all find use for it as well.