Overall it's working well in our format, except for the problem you've pointed out: answer quality on average is a concern. That's a problem we have a tool for fixing though, so really the problem is our voting patterns. If there's anything we can do to improve the question, it's to apply our votes with the severity of a well-respected Hammerer.
This question only has three creatures which truly fit really well. They're in the top three answers. Those creatures naturally and effortlessly totally fit into the role desired.
Every other answer is miles behind in votes for a reason. They're creatures which either totally fail the criteria, or half fit but miss out on some critical stuff. Several of these only work if you play your cards right or change some things (or both). Several are scary creatures, but are not creatures that slide into the "apex life form" role easily. (They're certainly up there, but not apex.) People might be suggesting creatures that only half-fit because other creatures that only half-fit are getting upvoted.
I believe that currently, the top three answers are the only ones to pass the "good and proper answer" bar, due to being the only ones to cleanly pass all criteria required by the question. The others, due to not cleanly passing the criteria, are not good and proper answers. If we apply a level of strictness similar to that which we apply to Game Recs — which are borderline-list questions that survive by their criteria like this one — these answers ought to be getting downvoted, not upvoted. I believe that level of strictness is appropriate here, because otherwise the question attracts and becomes garbage, as it is presently doing.
The answers which submit multiple monsters are particularly problematic
So, of all these answers, only five enter the double-digit vote scores. #4 and #5 submit multiple creatures. So does one other further down. I'm going to poke at these specifically.
- Phoenix/Roc/Naga: Most answers which provide only a single monster go into detail on why that specific monster fits the role, often justifying it against each individual criteria. That justification is wanting here.
- The one suggesting a ton of stuff: Most of these simply don't fit the criteria desired. Justification for each one is entirely missing.
- Chimera: "any kind of Chimaera, really" isn't a specific creature, and not "any kind" of chimera will do: I submit the spanielsaurus, the last red toy on the right, and rest my case. Evaluation of each one is wanting, as above. Note that Chimaera are acknowledged as not fitting the criteria of capacity for being reasoned with, unless one changes stuff.
I mentioned justification here. I think that's extremely important, because it demonstrates that your answer is a good fit. It also tells the author how they can work with your suggested creature, and how well it works. This isn't something demanded of the question - it's something that should be expected of a good and useful answer. It's up to you if you go into a point-by-point list of criteria-and-response, but you should definitely be demonstrating why your creature meets each of the criteria.
After all, which is more useful to someone looking for a creature to use?
- Use the Grootslang, it's a super cool elephant/snake creature.
- Use the Grootslang, it's perfect. Here, let me show you how you can use a Grootslang to meet all your needs, here's how you run them, here's what they'll do for you. (It isn't actually perfect in this question, since it's not remotely Western, but it is a super cool elephant/snake creature.)
Justification's important. It's also why I can't post a kitten on there. Answers need to suggest stuff that fits, and show us it fits, or the question becomes a bit garbagey.
I would suggest that the lesson to take from these is that quality is to be hugely emphasized here, especially over quantity. If you have multiple ideas, pick one, two, maybe three, submit them individually, and really justify that they fit. In the Chimaera answer, I'd take Cerberus (my favourite of them), drop the others, and fully write as to why he fits. (He might not, and then when I reach that point in my justification where I'm writing "He doesn't actually fit this at all", I stop, wonder if this guy really fits the role, and then don't answer if he doesn't.)