Here are some examples to get us started.

My 16 year old daughter got a speeding ticket

Son was sent home from sleepover for behavior

How to deal with a teenage daughter who refuses to dress modestly

In all three there are good answers (those I answered these, others have great answers too) but there are a lot of "judgmental" and "Your doing it wrong" style of answers.

Parenting is complicated. Right and wrong is based in large part, on history, culture, background and previous experience. Yet a lot of the answers to these and many other questions on this site are simply "Your/they are doing it wrong and my way is the only right way!"

My 16 year old daughter got a speeding ticket

For example, the OP was asking for ways to make sure a lesson sticks. It doesn't matter that we agree with the lesson or not, that's not our call. While several answers are trying to help with the actual question. Many answers and comments are telling this parent that they are a bad parent and are "doing it wrong".

Son was sent home from sleepover for behavior

Again has the same pattern. The OP asked a question about turning a negative experience for a child into a learning opportunity. Several answers try to address that but many answers and comments are judging the "dad". Again, it's valid. It may not be what we would choose, to do but the "dad" in the question is 100% correct and within his rights to do exactly what he did. I don't mean that as a judgement in the other way (Good is still a judgement) I mean that as in no abuse, didn't whack the kid with a chain saw, way.

How to deal with a teenage daughter who refuses to dress modestly

Same pattern, many people judge the mom for choosing to enforce a rule. We don't get to pick what rules are enforced or not, or what punishments are ok or not. This question is a little different because it asks if the punishment was a bit too crass, but still the parents have values they wish to pass on to their kids. We should not judge a parent for that.

How can we as a community get posters to not judge but to help out?

  • 2
    Have you read the meta questions on "disagreeing with the premise", e.g. parenting.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1132/9327? Also, your links don't go to specific answers. Discussing generalities/principles is easy; it's the specifics which need to be pointed out and discussed. Please edit to add the specifics. (BTW, +1) This is a very important issue and we need as much meta input as possible. Sep 4, 2017 at 15:37

2 Answers 2


No one has bit yet on this so I am going to jump in with my two cents.

In my opinion, judgmental answers are, at the very least, inevitable. We will never get rid of them, however, I don't really see it as much of a problem at the moment. Ever since the question about disagreeing with the premise became popular, I believe the community has stuck to that for the most part. The biggest way to control judgmental answers is the same way we control bad answers; we use the downvote button.

Unfortunately, so far, Parenting.SE has not really exploded as other SE sites have in the past. People come here for one off questions or when a question hits the "Hot Network Questions" list. The people coming to the site at that time don't have a basis of how this community is structured and they don't understand these rules we have set up for ourselves. Often they come because they will see an interesting or controversial title on their usual site with a tiny "P" next to it and well, you know the internet, everyone's got an opinion - parents and non-parents alike. At the best we leave a comment. At the worst, for those really judgmental answers that could really offend OP, we downvote and comment. If it's really offensive/degrading/completely doesn't answer the question, flag it for removal.

Like I said, I don't see too many judgmental answers. Recently though, I do see a lot judgmental comments. In that case it's best to take that little piece of Internet advice and not feed the trolls. Unless it's really offensive, then flag it.


Judgemental answers are a subset of low-quality answers in general. They are either overly harsh or outright abusive, and are often also off-topic, opinion-based, or otherwise fail to answer the question. We might as well prevent, reduce, or eliminate them all concurrently.

These types of answers amount to blatant abuse, even if minor, and do not foster the type of community this place both aspires to and claims to be. To combat overly judgemental and otherwise abusive and/or low-quality answers, there is no better response than to enable users to be able to respond directly by REJECTING any answer to their own questions.

Perhaps there should be requirements to give a reason, though there should definitely be consequences for the author of the answer (reverse rep impact ratio, for example, perhaps with a -10 for being rejected). Rather than requiring moderator approval or review, rejecting an answer would apply immediately, impose a penalty, and force a response by the author of the answer.

This response would be limited to a short list of options, possibly including Refine Answer (for asker to review and approve or reject again), Delete Answer (in which case any reputation changes involved are rolled-back), or Ask a Mod for Help (in which case the event will be reviewed by Moderators, and the rejection either nullified if Moderators find no evidence to support the rejection or upheld if the answer is not direct, respectful, well-supported, or is otherwise in any way violating policies or guidelines).

  • This would need to be addressed in SE Meta; it can't be done on a site basis. Feb 1, 2018 at 21:18
  • It should't be terribly difficult to have a "users can reject answers" setting available on a site basis. I find it more likely that actually choosing to give what amounts to moderator power to all users is what won't be considered.
    – zugzwang
    Feb 1, 2018 at 22:40
  • Maybe it shouldn't be, but it is none the less impossible. Meta is the place for this. Mods have no ability to alter a site. Feb 2, 2018 at 5:03
  • Impossible or not, I don't expect it to happen. I don't mean to offend, but this was a serious attempt at answering the question, which is here, and not on meta.
    – zugzwang
    Feb 2, 2018 at 5:44
  • I'm not offended at all. Every answer in meta is welcome; that's how the community operates. I'm just pointing out why your answer won't work. It would be better for everyone if tey realized the limitations of the system/network called Stack Exchange, and knew where to post to effect change. Feb 2, 2018 at 19:47
  • That is good, but I am still feeling we are not on the same page, or at least coming at this from the same angle or level. I don't feel you have really addressed the answer, let alone pointed out why it won't work. I understand mods can't do this, and it might be difficult to implement, and in fact turns moderation here on its head. I expect that to be the biggest obstacle. Having a moderator's opinion of the core idea would be invaluable in refining and generalizing it to point I would feel compelled to present or champion it at a higher level (or deciding it won't work, and let it die).
    – zugzwang
    Feb 2, 2018 at 20:37

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