I am still pretty much a begginer in what I call “Japanese in the wild”(real-life Japanese). However, I pretty much like trying to answer question here because it is great way to practice.

Nonetheless, I may post wrong answer sometimes because of my lack of experience. In case I post a wrong answer I may not know that it is wrong but I know that it may be clunky. I have also found that posting a clunky wrong answer boost a bit the question since those who know do not want that only a wrong answer remain for a long time. Once the question has gotten a good answer I feel very pleased to remove my clunky answer.

Do you think that what I do (posting sometimes clunky answer in order to attract more answer from those who know) is correct behavior or should I post only if I am 95 to 100% sure.


Here are my conclusions after reading @user3856370 and @Aurast's posts:

  • Posting a wrong answer can still have some very bad side effects, in particular misleading those who skim the answer or lack experience. Especially when the bad answer is the only one.
  • Comments can be used as a check device. If I am told that my comment is ok I can move on to the answer side without much harm.
  • I will refrain to answer if I am not reasonnably confident (> 90%) and will include a warning. In the other cases I will use comments.

3 Answers 3


I think it's fine to post an answer you're moderately (60%) sure about and then choosing to improve it after receiving feedback or discussing in Chat, or choosing to delete it after other better answers get submitted.

I don't think we should be afraid of clutter and misleading people, since our content is after all community generated and any amount of healthy skepticism in a reasonably rational person should defend the person against unquestioningly accepting answers.

If you doubt your answer, you can always add a disclaimer or caveat somewhere.

Learning doesn't just occur when receiving answers, I think answering(wrongly) is a good way to learn too. It reveals more questions and sometimes shows a different perspective on the issue. Just as it's important to have positive test cases (having correct answers to read), it also helps to have negative test cases (having incorrect answers pointed out) in order to have a more complete understanding of the issue.

Also, wrong answers might just attract good quality answers: enter image description here

  • 2
    I agree with this as long as the mistakes are pointed out and explained. Very often answers get downvotes without any explanation. Mar 24, 2016 at 8:06
  • +1 "I think answering(wrongly) is a good way to learn too". Totally agreed. I had a few misconceptions cleared up by doing exactly that. Mar 29, 2016 at 1:30

As a beginner I am mostly on the receiving end of answers. I would prefer that the answers be accurate from the start, otherwise I am likely to be misled. If you want to post as an answer (rather than comment) I think you should have reasonable confidence that you are correct. But I think it should be okay to post a more speculative answer if (and only if) you make your uncertainties very clear in your answer.

At the end of the day the number of up and down votes should prove the quality. I've posted some nonsense in the past and it became apparent pretty quickly, but I'm not sure there's enough voting on this site to guarantee that to be the case. Especially for the new users who can't see the split between up and down votes, using votes as a measure of quality is dangerous.

So in summary, If in doubt please caveat your answer.

  • Thank you for your feedback, I take into account that it could easily mislead. I saw that no later than yesterday and it was one of the reasons why I asked this question. The other problem you mention is that maybe there is not enough voters to tell apart which answers are good and which are not (in addition to the fact that new comers can't see the real number of each vote). A bad answer can stay with a positive score a long time which is, indeed harmful. So yes, I think that a word of warning should be natural when I am not 100% sure. Mar 23, 2016 at 9:22

In my opinion you should post a shortened version of your proposed answer as a comment and make it clear that you're not sure. Then, if other commenters tell you that you're right, go ahead and make an answer out of it if you then feel confident enough to do so.

Wrong answers add clutter, can more easily mislead people, especially people who are just skimming your answer, and make you look bad. If you are not confident in your answer, you should not post it as an answer. The expectations for comments, however, are not as high.

  • Thank you for your feedback. The only problem I see with comments is 1. they are less incentive than a wrong answer 2. comments are not for answer (even if sometimes, we see answers in comment). By less incentive I mean that when there is a wrong answer it is bad for a question so those who know and refrainded themselves from answering are more willing to answer now in order not to let the wrong ideas spread. But I also agree with you, in the fact that comment can be used as a net so as to not clutter the thread with wrong answers. Mar 23, 2016 at 9:28

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