6

I am interested in what others think about this, but my initial feeling is that explicit mention of specific children has two disadvantages:

  1. It violates a child's privacy. For example, if I ask about pacifiers but don't reference a specific child, said child will not have to explain to his girlfriend why his pacifier use was being discussed in 2011.
  2. Asking questions that are too specific may promote questions and answers that are situational rather than general.

  3. Answers that reference one's own child are more likely to be anecdotal.

  4. Referring to one's own children not be required for credibility in the stack exchange system.

    • another question suggests that it is helpful to state the number / age / sex of ones own children on parenting sites, so that other readers can judge how credible the user is; the SE system allocates points to determine credibility, so this may not be require here.
16

No. I think if we cut out those questions/answers we'll pretty much kill the site. I'm certainly not going to name my kid here, and I'll be one of the first to edit kids names out of posts. But the whole point of the site is parents helping parents parent... you kinda have to talk about your kids to accomplish that.

7

It violates a child's privacy. For example, if I ask about pacifiers but don't reference a specific child, said child will not have to explain to his girlfriend why his pacifier use was being discussed in 2011.

Okay, if I said "My child, John Jacob Smith..." it might be a problem. If my kid's friends are Googling me by user name, they aren't going to assume that my discussion of pacifiers are about someone else. So, I think this one is moot.

Asking questions that are too specific may promote questions and answers that are situational rather than general.

Many people don't know what is relevant until after they've found an answer, so we should absolutely include as much context as humanly possible. I can't know to suggest that parents talk to their doctor about a possible sensitivity to aldyhides as a reason for their child's picky eating if I don't also know that the normally well-behaved child throws tantrums over clothes shopping, loves hand-me-downs, and gets headaches after drinking diet soda.

Answers that reference one's own child are more likely to be anecdotal.

Sometimes what we need are anecdotal answers. Kids are incredibly different, the fact that an experience isn't statistically common doesn't necessarily make it irrelevant.

For example, if someone rattled off symptoms of CAS (Childhood Apraxia of Speech) observed in their toddler, and I jumped in with anecdotal information about my son's experiences, that anecdotal information would be the best info available. CAS is relatively rare to begin with, and very few CAS children (too few to do any kind of study and thus have non-anecdotal information available) are diagnosed before elementary school age.

Referring to one's own children not be required for credibility in the stack exchange system.

  • another question suggests that it is helpful to state the number / age / sex of ones own children on parenting sites, so that other readers can judge how credible the user is; the SE system allocates points to determine credibility, so this may not be require here.

I definitely don't think it's helpful from a cred standpoint, regardless of whether we have user points or not. A bad parent with six kids is going to be less knowledgeable than a very engaged, but childless, uncle.

  • @HedgeMage Thank you for your points. I guess I am just being cautious with a new site - sharing my own code is much different than sharing stories about my children. I have clarified my last point. I have actually thought about making a new SE account just for this site for that reason. – David LeBauer Mar 30 '11 at 5:23
  • @David You are welcome to make a new account for that. I haven't found it necessary. My son is eight, and couldn't care less if I discuss his past diaper habits on the internet (yes, I asked). That said, there are things I wouldn't talk about online, and I'm happy passing a question by if it addresses one of those narrow areas. – HedgeMage Mar 30 '11 at 5:30
  • For subjective questions in particular, and other questions in general, anecdotal answers are considered acceptable: blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective – Tony Meyer Mar 30 '11 at 7:15
  • I think you both miss the value of that info about folks' kids. Case in point, Hedge says her son is 8 now, if I had a newborn then I now know Hedge's experience with newborns is 7 years old. In many cases that could be a factor in evaluating her answer. She may have a several hundred points of cred from questions about 8 year olds, but that doesn't entirely transfer to a question about a newborn. (Not picking on you HedgeMage, just using that readily available example, there's plenty of similar examples I could give from my own parent's advice. "whiskey for teething! worked for you!!") – cabbey Mar 30 '11 at 8:17
  • @cabbey - But if you feel that the information is important, mustn't you also agree that providing out-of-date information is detrimental to the site? When we use a sig or profile to indicate age of children it always shows the present information, not what was true when the question was asked/answered. – HedgeMage Mar 30 '11 at 8:22
  • which is why the OP asked for it to be updated by the system. (i.e. just enter the birthday and it will do the math when it displays it.) The workaround can be seen in my profile. With that information in hand anyone should be able to look at the date the answer was posted and the info given and figure out if they think it's applicable. It's not an ideal workaround, but it lets us as a community do something without stack exchange doing custom one-off coding just for this site. (I'm an engineer, I wouldn't like to do that if I were them.) – cabbey Mar 30 '11 at 8:32
  • ... and it's not much different on the sites that DO show the math to say how old their kids are... you just look at the post and say "this is 3 years ago... her 8 year old was 5 then... stands to reason she knows what she's talking about for a question about a kid just entering kindergarten." – cabbey Mar 30 '11 at 8:33

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