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105

There are two ways in which you can view a Question/Answer site. One is as a real-time "I've asked this question and I want a quick answer now" type of site, and the other is as a longer term repository of questions and definitive answers. I think that many of us here take this latter view of the site. As a result, we have lots of very high quality answers, ...


54

I also often find myself dropping a comment instead of answering. In addition to what was already answered here, my reasons mostly are Might be too localized. If the answer to a huge question is a one-liner, then more often than not the real problem was a little thing the OP overlooked, having nothing to do with the perceived question at all. In that case, ...


42

I think any improvement on an existing answer is valid. It would be far more helpful to have current information than to have outdated yet functional answers. Even if this means you replace 50 lines of code with a new \usepackage and a single command. The reason should be obvious: Answers here are meant to benefit the community, which is always changing. ...


38

In general, you are correct that something which answers the question should be given as an answer. However, there are some subtleties to this. The first is as marczellm says that a one-liner may not really 'feel' like an answer: it may be the core of an answer but need expansion, for example. There is then the question of whether the comment really answers ...


28

Opinion We have, or at least had back in beta days, an informal understanding that Context answers were appropriate responses to Latex questions if it was thought that at least a few Latex users would find the existence of the alternate approach interesting. More than anything, I think Will's comment on an answer of Andrew Stacey's to Why are there so few ...


28

Joseph's post speaks about it slightly, but I would like to add one comment. This often happens when there is not enough information in the question, usually because of a missing MWE. This makes the question difficult to answer, so we often just try to guess what is the problem and we shoot a possible solution, as a comment. If later it is found out that the ...


27

Solutions using alternative tools which fall within the 'TeX sphere' are entirely appropriate and have always been welcome. Obvious examples are that plain or ConTeXt solutions to LaTeX problems are often possible, or that picture mode, MetaPost, ... answers to TikZ question are often illustrative. For that to work, of course, there needs to be some care in ...


26

Typical procedures include the following sequence of elevated proposals: Comment on the answer, requesting some feedback on your updated request/criteria. Visit the chat room and see if one of the local experts have time on hand to look into modifying the existing (or creating an altogether new and awesome) solution. Spend some of that well-earned ...


25

Personally I think you should only ask for a MWE if the presence of an MWE would help you to answer the question. A MWE almost always helps even if only to avoid the answerer having to write some standard article class boilerplate to make a test file. But it doesn't always help, and unless you have contemplated producing an answer and the lack of an MWE is ...


24

It may be that people don't consider a one-liner solution to be worth an Answer. There's the feeling that an Answer with capital A is something more detailed. This feeling is (at least in my case) strengthened by the fact that somehow, on this site, there are much more detailed answers than one-liners. The Answerers usually go to great detail even about ...


24

In my opinion, the main criterion is "does it answer the question?". If yes, then it is an answer, if not, then it can be part of the question. In particular, if the question is about getting a working answer, a first attempt with dirty code or a hackish workaround is perfectly suitable as a self-answer (bonus points for mentioning the limits of the answer, ...


23

The code in the answers and its documentation is cc-wiki with attribution required, so you are allowed to use this code for making packages if you fulfill the requirements, i.e. link to the answer and the profile of the user who contributed, in the package code and in the package documentation. Note, some users offere a more relaxed licensing, have a look ...


23

The issue can be often be solved in advance by simply not accepting the first answer right away. Instead the questioner should wait at least a couple of hours if not a day until the answer is accepted. This way other people have a chance to give an answer as well. Another thing is when a new answer is given after a longer period of time. It happens that ...


23

I completely disagree with the proposition that we should refrain from answering questions in order to educate new users. I simply don't think it's my job to educate new users about how to ask questions. And I don't really agree with the idea that withholding useful information is a good way of educating people. Like all of us, I don't theoretically like (...


22

Code-only answers are usually avoided, since the value added does not pertain to a wider audience as much as an explanation would. However, the amount of explanation is varied (as you noticed). For example, some people like an answer structured in the form: Minimal explanation... some code Broader explanation... while others tend to enjoy Broad ...


22

Let me expand a bit on my comment. I think that there are some basic guidelines for this sort of thing (note: guidelines, not rules). This is a question-and-answer site. So make the question bit a question and the answer bit an answer. Imagine that you are a user with a problem and phrase your question accordingly. As you already know the (or "an") ...


22

Let me give an answer from the point of view of a LaTeX user who is sufficiently expert to do most of the things they need but not enough expert to understand most of the underlying details. If I look at the question and at Enrico's answer, I wouldn't be able to understand that that's a bug or that the incompatibility would be solvable by a bug report. So, ...


21

I sometimes posted advice in a comment, because of being pretty sure that the question has been answered before and I just did not find the duplicate yet. As soon as I would find the duplicate, I would add a link. It would be good to check for a duplicate at first, before quickly firing answer for rep and badges. I guess commenters often avoid adding an ...


20

All sorts of things get upvotes: it doesn't mean that they are necessarily answers! Alan is of of course right that unhelpful answers can be voted down, but sometimes what should be a comment or edit gets posted as an answer then upvoted. Those should be flagged: it's not the votes that are important, nor the correctness, but whether the 'answer' is at ...


20

Some simple ideas: If you want to answer just-do-it-for-me questions, answer them. If you don't want to answer them, don't. If you want to leave a comment explaining why you answered, leave a comment. If you don't want to leave a comment explaining why you answered, don't. In general, trying to legislate behaviour, especially of people who are giving ...


18

The traditional (and still valid) way is to make the code into a package and stick it on ctan.


18

Ultimately, which answer is accepted is down to you, so in a sense you decide on this. That said, I would normally expect to wait 24 h after posting a question to see if there are multiple answers. Once a question is marked as 'accepted', there will be slightly less interest in checking it over from other users. At the same time, remember that you can change ...


17

I'd find it hard to say when this should occur. A popular answer might turn out to be too special or even erroneous much later, so its less popular sibling might be the only survivor. Also a not so popular answer might become more useful when the application of a question broadens by linking duplicates to it. So, personally, I'd say an answer should not be ...


17

I think there is some consensus that wrong answers are not the same as "not an answer", and should not be flagged. Correct flagging (or: bad answers are answers, too) for some discussion from one of the Moderators on this. The voting system is supposed to separate good answers from bad ones. So it's fine to downvote a bad answer if you think that's necessary,...


17

I would like to tell you what happened to me some time ago. In the beginning, I answered also questions without MWE. One day I answered telling the OP: "Next time, please add an MWE" and he promised me he would do. Little time after that, he asked again a question without MWE, and again I answered telling him: "Next time, please add an MWE" and again he ...


17

If I see a question that indicates a bug, I normally write in my answer or in a comment "this is a bug, notify the maintainer". I normally don't make the bug report myself as I think it is important that everyone learns to make bug reports. "You discovered the bug, you should also report it". But if the bug affects an important current package (and I ...


16

I would leave a comment on the answer, explaining why it doesn't answer the question, giving the poster the chance to respond and argue their point/adjust their answer/remove it. If after that you still think the answer is wrong and might be misleading for others, downvote it. That's what the voting system is for. I don't think flagging is the right thing to ...


15

So I think the user is mafp so no need to anonymize since you have the link to the question. Just come to the chat room or invite the user to a custom chat room if you are really curious about the issue and willing to attack the problem to its full extent... I had also similar problems with a user a year ago or so but everytime we made a chat session the ...


15

The answerers know that you can only accept one answer; they shouldn’t mind when you do so. On english.stackexchange, I’ve been an answerer in this scenario many times, and I’ve never seen anyone unhappy when one answer among two or several good ones was accepted. If you like, a comment like “Thankyou, this [was very helpful/works fine/is a useful ...


15

We don't follow the Thanks removal rule. It is a SO thing. Some of us approve Thanks removing edits. Some don't. I don't. Some notes for future reference and responding to a hypothetical SO user arriving here. I'm not bothered with Thanks word. It's a word. Why don't we get equally bothered by those voting arrows next to the question or those colorful ...


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