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While I am happy to see this site taking off so quickly, I have concern about the quality of the answers, and feel that we, as a community, need to try to establish quality guidelines early on to promote substance over quantity.

Whichever the motives may be (genuine desire to help, or drive to pad reputation) I see many a time people leaving either rudimentary answers (often duplicating each other with minor differences, instead of trying to improve an answer), or, in case of more technical, linguistic issues, leave answers that are unsubstantiated with references.

The latter is especially troubling to me. I am a total amateur in linguistics, but, trained in academia, I know to evaluate the sources regardless of the field of study. And quite a bit of answers in here are either argumentative or opinionated, or, mayhaps, make wrong assumptions about audience (something may be a common knowledge betwixt the trained linguists, but the rest of us (the majority) might require clarification, or a reference or two).

Thus, I want to encourage people to source their statements (especially, when debate ensues), and do not abandon the answers once posted. Come back, improve continually, source later when have time. This way together we can build a valuable resource for all, not just another bickering forum of baseless opinion.

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I fully support this suggestion. It occurred to me already that, having read some questions and answers (without references), I wanted to check them and quick Googling was providing enough information from Gramota or Rosenthal. I do not know why people prefer to speculate rather than find an authoritative reference, and I believe we should include appropriate recommendations into FAQ or some other guidelines.

On the other hand, I can understand that sometimes a native speaker or just someone who at some point had found an answer to the same question, may be able to answer a question of a foreigner without being able to provide a reference. Probably, one could think of some classification of questions. If a question is about rules, there must be a reference. If it is more about the use of some words or phrases, then a native speaker may be able to answer correctly and be at the same unable to provide a reference. I believe, in the latter case it's a task of the peers here to rate up and thereby confirm the correct answers.

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    Yes, I agree about simpler answers. Some of it could be subjective even (like a question about understanding Ukrainian: I have a lot of family in and around Rostov-on-Don, so I was exposed to Surzhik and I understand that and Ukrainian (as well as some other Slavic languages like Bosnian) rather well, though I cannot speak worth a lick of salt).
    – theUg
    Commented Jul 1, 2012 at 12:00

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