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Somehow the answers I put most effort in are not upvoted (even though the comments show that users agree). Now I have the idea that maybe they are too thorough and long? For example this answer.

What do you think, is this the case? If not, can you give me any advice (I did read the faq and How to upvote responsibly)?

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So yours is a problem of TL;DR :-) –  xanatos Sep 11 '11 at 16:18
    
Yes, it definitely was. But now it's just awesome ;) –  DaveBall aka user750378 Sep 11 '11 at 17:20
1  
+1 (on SO) for dvorakTyping –  xanatos Sep 11 '11 at 17:23

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

What do you think, is this the case?

Generally, yes, although there are examples to the contrary - very highly upvoted foot-long answers. Much depends on whether the lot of content is truly essential, or just bloat (or related and on-topic, but peripheral information).

If not, can you give me any advice

Some general rules that come to my mind:

  • The first thing to do is obviously see whether there is any bloat. Is there a way to express things with less words, without becoming too cryptic of course?

  • Sometimes it is necessary to trim legitimate content because it is simply too much to digest. Check each sentence for whether it's really necessary to answer the question.

  • Text formatting, headings, bullet points, and images can help make a long answer more digestible.

  • Adding a tl;dr summary at the top or the bottom of the answer can sometimes also be helpful.

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Thanks (+1). I followed your advise on my particular example - let's see whether people keep on up-voting the question and not my answer... –  DaveBall aka user750378 Sep 11 '11 at 16:58
    
.... and it works :) –  DaveBall aka user750378 Sep 11 '11 at 17:05
    
Wow, images make a huge difference, as you can see by my best answer by far, stackoverflow.com/questions/7398703/…. Thanks again (+2 if I could ;) –  DaveBall aka user750378 Sep 13 '11 at 13:57

There was a graph that was showing average votes on answers with different length, and the shortest answers were the most upvoted.

Problem is that a lot of users going through answers just fly around and they don't want to read such a long answers.

For example this one is easy, short and is most upvoted.

Try to at least add a summary of your answer (write about your answer in one line) to make users more interested in reading it.

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“The shortest answers were the most upvoted” is misleading. It's true that extremely short answers (about one sentence long) are pretty highly upvoted, but after that, the longer an answer is, the more upvotes it tends to get, in a pretty steady pattern (about 0.8 upvote per 1000 characters). –  Gilles Sep 11 '11 at 20:07

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