How important is it that my answer on Socratic is accurate?
The objective of Socratic (from my perspective) is to make the method of solutions understandable. Socratic is an educational site.
If this is the case, the method is more important than the accuracy of the final answer
the importance of accuracy should not be neglected. (An inaccurate answer implies an inaccuracy in the solution method).
Accuracy is important insofar as it promotes learning and understanding.
First, what does "accurate" mean on Socratic?
- Factually correct
- Mainstream and well-understood (please don't discuss non-mainstream theories on Socratic. We like how Physics Forum outlines “non-mainstream” — apply the same guidelines here)
Answers should always be factually correct and reflect mainstream theories because these factors best help students learn.
However, be mindful that the end-goal is not accuracy, but people moving forward in their understanding.
Keep in mind that ...
- Accuracy is different at different levels of learning
- Elements we include in answers may not be "accurate" because we leave out an edge case; that’s ok — we’re explaining in a simple way that will promote learning best
So, a few final guidelines:
- Don’t be pedantic
- No “well, actually …” 's, i.e. when discussing a classical physics question "Well actually,
#F=ma#is only accurate for speeds much slower than the speed of light..."
When in doubt, value learning above exact accuracy. Stick to facts, avoid non-mainstream theories, and explain simply.
The best thing about socratic.org is that answers are not only accurate, but are scrutinized by hundreds of viewers, all of whom have the opportunity to update, correct, or offer another viewpoint.
Accuracy is a must when solutions to problems are provided. Updated methods and knowledge are also imperative.
The shortest, most understandable answer will usually be chosen by students to minimize their workloads. Answers work best when geared to the reader. Know your audience (where possible) and supply answers that apply to them.
Socratic.org provides continuous updating of answers because so many people are viewing input. if you make a mistake in an answer, someone will let you know. Questions with multiple answers reveal various methods that will arrive at the conclusion.
Answers to scientific problems will also need to be precise as well as accurate.