The Community♦ user raises some automatic moderator-attention flags, which are usually helpful. One of the flags is the TooManyAnswers flag, which is raised when a question gets more than 10 answers either (a) at all or (b) recently (within the last 7 days). The problem is that on Worldbuilding, many questions actually do get a lot of answers quickly, but it's usually not a sign that we've got a question out of control. By the nature of the subject matter, and due to the size of our community, new questions get a lot of reasonable answers.

If there is a problem with a question or one or more answers, our community is good at handling it -- putting unclear questions on hold, flagging and deleting non-answers, protecting (or flagging for protection), and so on.

So usually, when we get this auto-flag, there's nothing to do, and we get it often enough that investigating (just in case) and then dismissing it is a bit of a hassle. Today I learned that the threshold could be raised via a request on our meta, so here I am.

We'd like to raise the threshold for recent answers from 10 to 15. I assume that this also implicitly raises the threshold for all answers ((a) above) to 15, but if that's not true, that's fine. We see the impact for new questions, ones that are probably still on the front page and are getting plenty of community attention already, and for those we would appreciate it if Community♦ would kindly chill a little.

The average question gets 4.5 answers.1 I don't know how to compute the standard deviation of the distribution,2 but this changes raises the trigger from "a bit over 2x" to "about 3.5x" and that feels about right (gut feel). If data suggests that we should tweak this number, I'm open to that.

1 This number factors in deleted posts.

2 I had one semester of statistics. A long time ago.


2 Answers 2


Distribution of questions by answer-count, last 90 days

This is another one of those sites where the expected number of answers skews a bit toward "many"; the gentle fall-off from 2-8 answers is wildly different from the free-fall from 1 to 2 on most other sites. One might suspect that a question which garners only a single answer here is perhaps doing a bit poorly...

...but in any case, the dangers which this flag was created to highlight are clearly either not well-indicated by the same metric here (or are so wildly pervasive as to make chasing them down with such a weapon futile). I've raised the 7-day threshold to 15; the all-time threshold remains at 30.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! Oh, I hadn't realized that that "30 answers" flag was the all-time version of this one. Yeah, that's fine the way it is. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 4:52
  • $\begingroup$ I should've just used SEDE instead of trying to account for deleted posts too. The ~6% of answers that are deleted wouldn't affect this that much. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 5:16
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, this site isn't TWP; rare to have more than 3 deleted answers on a question. $\endgroup$
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 5:20
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, this looks like a good adjustment. The 30 post one we generally do take action, even if it's just highlighting it to the community (for example see my recent meta post) but the 10 post one is rarely helpful. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 10:35

Agree. Vote up if you also agree.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Or, because Monica made a clear suggestion in the question, just vote on the question depending on whether you agree or disagree. :-) $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ Another Stack Exchange user told me that was ambiguous since a downvote on the question usually means it's a bad question. $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 17:12
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Voting works differently on meta sites as compared to main sites. On Meta, voting is very often used to indicate agreement or disagreement with the point of the post. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ Ok. Noted for the future. $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 20:57

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