I answer questions to my best ability, correctly, and with as much information as I am able to give, yet 90% of them are instantly shot down, saying it is "not detailed enough." Why does this keep happening?


2 Answers 2


I haven't previously seen your answers and didn't downvote, but with a quick look it looks like a lot of your answers are strongly overlapping with existing answers and don't really add anything by way of explanation or differentiate from other options.

A lot of users don't appreciate that because it might look like you're digging for rep without adding anything to the site.

Just a guess.

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    $\begingroup$ Okay, thanks Bryan Krause. $\endgroup$ Commented May 24, 2020 at 16:46

To add to @BryanKrause's answer (to which I agree):

Your posts are also of low quality relative to the expectations we have for answer posts on this site. See How do I write a good answer? in our help center for an introduction to minimal expectations.

Notice that each of your down-voted posts has received one of the following post notices:

  • Add citations from reputable sources by editing the post. Posts with unsourced content may be edited or deleted.

  • Provide detailed answers to this question, including citations and an explanation of why your answer is correct. Answers without enough detail may be edited or deleted.

As these post notices indicate, your answers are expected to provide enough stand-alone detail to demonstrate your answer is correct and why it is correct. What's more, all of your claims should be supported by reputable sources with appropriate linking/citations.

A couple of specific points you should consider addressing to get a more positive response from our community:

  • In a number of your posts you write unsupported and generic claims such as (from here) "judging from the body shape and coloration..." without providing specifics, evidence, or support to backup these claims. Be intentional and specific about your answers, and always provide support backing up your claims. (for example, what specifically about the body shape or coloration led you to make that claim in the above linked post?)

    • Although you provide a link to another website as "support" in some of your posts, this url inclusion is a bit moot. Your post is required to completely and adequately answer the OP's question without a future visitor needing to leave the site. (If, for example, the external link dies, your answer becomes useless if you don't capture enough detail in your post). So, PLEASE always provide links or citations to source material, but make sure you are capturing enough info from each source in your own written post that a user can receive a complete correct answer.
  • In a number of your posts you linked to generic inaturalist webpages. These pages are often of photos of many species, genera or broader taxonomic groups and themselves provide no specific support for the species information you are providing. (Also, many of the more specific species posts on inaturalist indicate that they're non-confirmed anyway -- making them not very reputable/reliable).

    • Please find specific and reputable sources to backup your claims. (.edu websites, .gov websites, primary literature, and even Wikipedia are all good starting points, while most .com websites, image aggregation websites, and other sites asking for species ID are less reputable).

Your posts are all posts, which are prone to receiving many incorrect and ill-informed answers both on Bio.SE and across the internet. As such, we have to be especially careful and intentional about how we answer these questions on our site.

Without writing clear and specific posts and substantiating our answers with good sources, we'd be no different from Yahoo Answers, Quora or other error-ridden Q&A sites. By writing specific posts and providing valid sources, we can better assure our visitors (as well as each other) that the information being shared is accurate.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for expanding on this. I'd also add for OP that if what they want to do here is to post better answers to already-answered species ID questions, there are a lot that have room for improvements because the existing answers don't do all the things suggested in this post! There are lots of ID questions where the "how you know" details are lacking, such as discriminating features compared to similar species. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Commented May 25, 2020 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Bryan, quite fair. I've worked quite a bit to follow-up with many posts that need citations or lack details, but you're right that many still do exist. I agree that the OP could target posts with existing low-quality answers to follow-up with better answers as you suggest. $\endgroup$ Commented May 25, 2020 at 20:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Praearcturus See here and here as just 2 example Species ID answers that I've written which I believe provide adequate detail/support. I often try to include an image from a reputable source as well as as many of the following details: appearance, size, range, taxonomy, related/look-alikes, and management (if appropriate). And I always try to provide support from reputable and/or primary sources when possible. The more effort you put into your posts, the more useful it will be to future visitors! $\endgroup$ Commented May 25, 2020 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ I can often recognize a species instantly and so do not see any need to cite a source. $\endgroup$ Commented May 25, 2020 at 20:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Praearcturus The site is meant to be useful to others. The citations are for them, not for you. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause Mod
    Commented May 25, 2020 at 21:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Praearcturus that's great, but that's not the way this SE community works. This site is to serve as a resource to others, so our guidelines are to make this website and information presented herein useful to all users (with the hope that the info is as accurate, complete and in a supported form to be useful for a "long" time). $\endgroup$ Commented May 25, 2020 at 21:28
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    $\begingroup$ @Praearcturus Regardless of your own expertise, the internet doesn't know that about you (nor should users necessarily believe that about you -- there are plenty of "fake" experts out there). Having a more formal source of info allows users to check in on the legitimacy of something more completely & objectively. It also enables them to use your source as a doorway to learning more about the topic. Take a look through Yahoo answers or Quora and see how many "legitimate" answers from "experts" are wrong. Without regular citing practices, users will never know one way or the other $\endgroup$ Commented May 25, 2020 at 21:28
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    $\begingroup$ @Praearcturus I recommend taking our tour, perusing the help center, and taking the advice given to you in this post to get a fuller understanding of what we're all about here. Otherwise, your answers will keep receiving notices, and posts with citation notices generally attract downvotes (often regardless of their correctness). We always need additional experts here, so your knowledge would be greatly appreciated by our community if you follow these guidelines. Just remember, that our site is community focused, and so your posts should be written to be most useful to others. Thanks. $\endgroup$ Commented May 25, 2020 at 21:34

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