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Is there another way besides relying on up or down votes to build up over time to gauge whether or not my answer to a question was incorrect?

The reason I ask is because I posted a highly detailed answer to a question, an answer which I believed to be correct, but the OP added a comment that (to me) completely misunderstood my answer. Since English is not my native language, I'm perpetually unsure that I'll post an answer which makes little sense to native speakers.

Since the answer received little voting traffic, am I to assume that it was correct and simply ignore my insecurities? Maybe it just didn't get that much traffic from the OP or others?

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Comments are the other channel through which feedback can come back to you. And of course, the presence of answers saying something different, and being upvoted a lot might be an indicator that you're wrong. In your specific case, however, I think you're not getting many votes because few people can grasp that long answer and judge whether it's good :) – Pëkka Jul 1 '12 at 19:48
Since the only comment my answer received, positive or negative, was the comment misunderstanding the answer, it left me a little confused. Even though I added comments of my own, they received no answers, so I was unsure. – Ricardo Altamirano Jul 1 '12 at 19:50
@DiscountGucciHandbags Was my answer really that bad? ... I didn't find it all that complicated or confusing, but I'll happily blame my English if it is. – Ricardo Altamirano Jul 1 '12 at 19:51
Just clicked through on your answer there. The problem is probably the length. I wouldn't upvote it without reading to see if it is correct and I wouldn't read something that long unless something about it grabbed my interest. – Martin Smith Jul 1 '12 at 19:51
Re quality: Like Martin, I meant the answer's length, too. Nothing else. – Pëkka Jul 1 '12 at 19:51
Ah, ok. Thanks for letting me know. – Ricardo Altamirano Jul 1 '12 at 19:52
Your English is perfect, btw. – ThinkingStiff Jul 3 '12 at 21:41
Much better after the edit IMO. People can quickly review the points you are making now. – Martin Smith Jul 4 '12 at 6:36
@MartinSmith Thank you again for the great suggestions. I found myself linking to that question again, so it's nice to have a firm, solid answer I can direct people to when they're debugging CREATE TABLE statements (which seems to be a much greater problem area than I realised). – Ricardo Altamirano Jul 9 '12 at 2:03
up vote 11 down vote accepted

I've just read your answer (and up-voted). I wouldn't say that it is "highly-detailed", rather unnecessarily detailed you waste about 20 lines explaining that something is unreadable and identical to the portion above. Saying that, it is also a good answer to the question. The fact that you're not a native English speaker isn't discernible from the post.

I wouldn't say that the -1 in the question means that you won't get any up-votes, the question has had 48 views, and for a detailed answer to a question like that I would say that the average is probably around 4 up-votes, though obviously it can be 0 and I've seen particularly good ones receive 11 or 12, even recently.

What I would suggest is that you try to condense your thoughts, and answer. You have 7 table creation scripts for clienttable in there, could you not make this 3? Lists are good for highlighting everything that is incorrect in one go; you can then do a "before" and "after".

If the OP is having problems with an answer you can use Jake Feasel's SQL Fiddle to demonstrate why your answer is correct; and that it works.

I would add two things:

  1. You shouldn't feel discouraged if not many people up-vote a good answer. It's definitely not a reason to not give any more as you'll find that a good answer will always get up-votes.
  2. There are a lot of very active people in , especially . A number of them have very high reputations and really know what they're talking about. Not a single person has decided that they had anything to add to your answer and posted one of their own.
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Thanks for the tips. I condensed the post somewhat to make it a bit more readable. I'm not necessarily worried about not getting up-votes; rather, I wanted to make sure that the lack of upvotes wasn't a sign of a problem. It sounds like the problem was just my long-winded writing style! Is the post a bit clearer now? – Ricardo Altamirano Jul 1 '12 at 22:09
+1 for SQL Fiddle too, although the CREATE TABLE statements that work in MySQL don't work there because of nuances in the DEFAULT statement, but it's still a great utility. – Ricardo Altamirano Jul 1 '12 at 22:12
Yes, it's very useful for SO. If something doesn't work file a bug report as Jake can often be seen around SO and trying to improve it. I think you've definitely made the answer more readable, which, of course, doesn't mean that others will; and don't worry about a long-winded writing style, otherwise I have to! I do it the whole time :-) – ben is uǝq backwards Jul 1 '12 at 22:14
No need for a bug; I had the wrong SQL Server selected (I didn't realise you could change them). Very neat. – Ricardo Altamirano Jul 1 '12 at 22:15
I wish I could upvote this again just for SQL Fiddle. I've found myself using it numerous times since you suggested it. – Ricardo Altamirano Jul 8 '12 at 20:11

It's possible that the OP is unable to judge whether your answer is good, and nobody else stumbled upon the question (at -1, it's not very attractive to look at either). I don't think there is anything to worry about really, it will occasionally happen that good content goes unnoticed and unrewarded.

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