I linked a post today where the top voted answer has been discredited by two native speakers. As a mere amateur I have no way of knowing the truth but I strongly believe that the native speakers are correct.

Presumably the voting system has broken down in this case. This post is the kind of question that many people new to Japanese will have. They find an answer that appears entirely credible and upvote it because they think they have been helped.

What can we do about this? If we treat the voting system as it is supposed to be treated then we do nothing; the top voted answer is clearly the best and is correct, and why should we trust the word of two native speakers over the other 44 people who have upvoted? And yet, this doesn't seem like the right approach. My feeling is that the native speakers are correct, the answer is misleading, and we shouldn't be leaving it as is.

One thought is to edit the answer with a note at the start which says something along the lines of "Warning: comments by native speakers lend doubt to the credibility of this answer".

Another thought is to ask our most respected contributors to read the answer and comment upon it.

Or we could just delete the answer altogether. But, that seems to completely disrespect the voting system and opens us up to anarchy.

What are people's thoughts/ideas?

  • 1
    This is something that's been troubling me for ages. I don't see a good solution to this problem within the current system. Just for clarity: you said that answer was discredited by two native speakers. I see aguijonazo's comment here. Where can I find the comment on that answer from the other native speaker?
    – Eddie Kal
    Dec 25, 2021 at 22:53
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    @EddieKal Perhaps I shouldn't have used the word 'comment'. I was referring to the answer by S61 in the same post. Dec 25, 2021 at 23:01
  • Even in Japanese English Education, non-native English teacher teaches English. so its creditworthiness is limited. Dec 28, 2021 at 1:42
  • @kimiTanaka That's indeed a problem. I have seen passages in 県公立高校入試's English exams riddled with errors and non-idiomatic sentences. In my opinion, the best language teachers are always specially trained native speakers who understand both grammar and idiomatic use of the language.
    – Eddie Kal
    Dec 28, 2021 at 5:49
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    @EddieKal That’s why any English Proficiency Exam is a kind of cash cow for Education industry. They just need to set up schedule for exam and collect mark sheet ticked by students. I think students learn foreign language in Japan should use this kind of site instead of using exams, books, lessons prepared by them. Dec 28, 2021 at 6:11
  • @kimiTanaka Agreed. I never understand why Japanese kids take so many 検定 and 資格 exams. 英検、漢検、パソコン検定、計算技術検定、珠算検定、TOEIC. Christ!
    – Eddie Kal
    Dec 28, 2021 at 6:25
  • @EddieKal haha, It may be based on bureaucracy based on Confucianism. At least, Exam is an important life event in Japan, South Korea, China. Probably It is the least important in Japan though, women tend to take them and use it for its proficiency in my humble opinion. Dec 28, 2021 at 6:30

1 Answer 1


If there is a disputed highly upvoted answer where both the asker and the answerer of a post are no longer active users, I see several options:

  1. We try to reach the answerer by leaving a comment on the answer, pointing out the shortcoming of the answer.
  2. We as a community edit the answer.
  3. Moderators add a post notice, the most appropriate one would probably be the "needs citation" post notice:

    Needs citation
    This post contains content that needs citations from reputable sources.

  4. Moderators delete the answer.

I would say we can proceed as follows:

  • Try option 0 first.
  • If it's something small and easy to change, then option 1 is probably easiest.
  • If it's not easy how to "fix" an answer, we can go for option 2 and add a post notice to draw the attention to the fact that parts of the answer are disputable (some explanation should be found in the comments). If there are enough comments which explain the situation, it's probably enough to flag the answer.
  • I can't imagine we'd ever need to delete a highly upvoted answer, but if there is a meta discussion indicating some sort of community consensus about some particular answer, it could be a last resort.

Note that the check mark can't be moved by anyone except the asker.

  • I think this answer needs some fixin'. There is already a comment pointing out its shortcomings, left years ago, soon after the answer had been posted. The answer, though long inactive, seemingly still visits the site. I don't know how to address this issue. I'm reluctant to downvote, because I think the answer needs a lot of work. May be better off simply deleting it.
    – Eddie Kal
    Apr 26, 2022 at 6:33

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