What is the CONFIDENCE LEVEL of BEST ANSWERS selection. Are they reliable and useful for others?

On review of resolved questions, I have observed many wrong answers are awarded 'BEST ANSWERS', while correct answers available for the same are ignored. For example, -

1) A question is given for finding the 'n th' term of the series; which is neither AP nor GP nor HP nor combination of any of them. However using the special method of "SUM Difference", the 'n th' term of this can be found out. A member answered in one line as "9 th term of this series is '---'." This was awarded as BEST Answer. There another perfect answer using the special method of 'SUM difference' is shown and expressed the 'n th' term in the form of "ax^2 + bx + c", after working for about 10 steps. But this has been ignored.

2) One more question: - "Find from first principles the derivative of the function (ax^2 + bx)".

A member casually answered the same in one step using the formula, which has been awarded as BEST ANSWER'. However, for the same two, three members have taken lot of patience in working elaborately using first principles method and giving the answer. But all these have been ignored.

3) Similarly I have observed many undeserved BEST Answers award. Hence, my opinion is the BEST Answer selections are biased and as such they are not reliable and may not be applied confidently by others.

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer


    Dear Sir,

    I m very pleased to have a privilage to answer your question. This question was the one that has made me too in vain.

    There is a saying:

    “Do your duty but don't expect the outcome” (கடமையை செய்; பலனை எதிர்பாராதே)

    This is very much true with Yahoo! Answers !!!

    Many are fearing to ask questions!! Reasons for not asking questions:

    1. Spam (Main culprit!)

    2. Trolls (Marking your question as abuse... Even if you ask 2+2 = ?)

    3. Losing points

    4. Too many answers in some instances. Must select a right answer!!

    5. No answer at all!!

    Now, about selecting the best answer. How a best answer gets out?

    The first case is when the questioner picks up the best/right one out of it!!

    1. If some person gets very few answers, he/she selects the best/right one out of it!!

    2. Some times, they may select the first come.. first serve. Whomsoever answers them first, will be selected as the best answerer, no matter what he answered.

    3. They have to answer a question for 2 marks. And post the question in Y!A. And we , with some interest to explain them in detail, answer the question by putting all efforts. But, they just need 2 marks. Thats all!!!

    4. Some times.... Inky Pinky Ponky...

    5. Very few unknowingly select the wrong one!!

    The other case is more horrible. These category of people just ask questions.. They wont choose a best answer for one among the following reasons:

    1. Sorry. I dont know which one is correct!! (Acceptable to some extent if the questioner is confused!)

    2. Too many answers. Which one to choose?

    3. Hey, I was expecting answers within 10 minutes of posting .. But, you guys answered after 15 minutes!!

    4. No best answer!!! That met my expectation (O! GOD!!)

    5. I can only ask.... (எனக்கு கேள்வி கேட்க மட்டும் தான் தெரியும்)

    Ultimately, the questions are left for democracy (VOTING!!)

    Now, what about voting?

    In some categories, it is pretty easy to pick up the best answer!! There the questions are resolved soon.

    What about Science and Mathematics? Especially Mathematics...

    1. No body has time to work out and find the correct answer!!!

    Thus, they vote for some answer

    2. Some guys just need points. No other go!! they just randomly click an answer!!

    3. Some... First shown will always be the best. And Y!A shuffles the answers to everyone to remove impartiality! Good Answers gone!!

    And remaining ... they are as in a dump...

    Almost 30% of the Science & Mathematics Questions I answer are left unresolved..

    Among remaining almost, 70% are determined by the random click!!

    Thus, in my perception, confidence = 50%

    (My math may be wrong too!!)

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    I don't even know confidence intervals are applicable to a lot of the kinds of research quoted in this forum, and perhaps that is why they aren't quoted. When a survey is conducted, for example, respondents will often give answers that are based on previous questions, especially if the survey "walks though" a set of questions. There are formula that give a confidence interval based on the sample size to population size. They are at their most valuable when applied to things like opinion polls, where there is a simple Yes/No ABC type answer, but again there are always issues, such as demographics, socio economic grouping, gender distribution. In my experience with these things I tend to think "it is what it is" - i.e. generally a survey or a piece of research is better than no research. I will look at the sample size. I will look at the distribution of the sample if that information is available. If I can see the source questionnaire I will look at that too. If I am interested enough. I also greatly enjoy qualitative research. It has no statistical significance at all usually, but it does illustrate patterns of thinking and behaviour. It is valuable for those reasons. Frankly the kinds of mathematical methods used in the physical sciences could muddy the waters much more than they clarify them. You cannot scientifically quantify how well someone understands a question. You cannot clearly identify what biases are present within a survey, or how they affect respondents. You cannot neatly designate on the basis of geography or affluence. Putting a confidence interval to a piece of research implies that you, as a scientist know the uncertainty in the variables you are measuring. That the experiment can be conducted against an accurate control group and repeated with a similar outcome within the parameters of experimental error. Social sciences deal with surveys which the same respondent may fill in differently depending on whether they are in a good or bad mood. What this leaves is qualitative and quantitative studies with some value. The bigger the sample size of a quantitative study the more accurate it is likely to be. And a review of the source documentation should provide at least some insight into how "reasonable" a piece of research it is.

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