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Ideally most answers imply the author of the answer has knowledge or experience in solving a problem; however, does relating to a problem make an answer better or just create noise?

For example, these answers start with a "me too" statement:

Sometimes when I see these statements immediately preceding the answer I want to edit them from the post. Is that appropriate, or is this an important part of the answer?

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I think you've actually identified something which hints at a pretty poor answer. Perhaps not in their suitability as an answer, but all the examples you list leave something to be desired in their formulation and explanation. –  Bart Oct 21 '12 at 9:24

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Don't remove these statements.

They're very reassuring in the sense that this answer really solved a problem and is going to be really useful for someone else. Imagine reading this answer when looking for help yourself – would you rather trust this or some other answer where the OP was just blindly guessing?

In any case, I would put the answer first though. That is, if the answer goes something like …

I had the same problem too. My setup is a Windows 7 blah blah Core 2 Duo Foo machine with Yak Bar Baz Pro v.1.26 […]

To solve it, you have to click Edit » Blah and then set the Unicorn option to Enabled.

… put the actual answer first, so turn it around.

You have to click Edit » Blah and then set the Unicorn option to Enabled.

I know because I've had the same problem too. […]

This makes it easier to skim through answers. You won't have to read everything that you might not want to know to finally get to the important part.

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Interesting idea. –  Pëkka Oct 21 '12 at 10:01
    
It's just from personal experience. I remember searching for help myself and wading through this kind excess is tedious if you just want to see the actual answer. It's important for context though, so shouldn't be removed entirely. –  slhck Oct 21 '12 at 10:03
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@slhck I like your suggestion of keeping the answer first. Indeed, when I use SO I want to quickly skim the core of an answer before reviewing references. Regardless of whether I see a "I had the same problem", it's meaningless to me until I've applied the answer to my problem. With confidence instilled through upvotes and accepted answers, credibility of personal confirmation has low value in my perception and does not assure beyond the localized environment of their answer. –  Jason Sturges Oct 21 '12 at 18:07

Sometimes when I see these statements immediately preceding the answer I want to edit them from the post. Is that appropriate, or is this an important part of the answer?

IMO it's not appropriate to edit them out. Statements like that are usually not relevant as such, but they do add credibility to the answer — the answerer actually got the problem solved using that solution. Many (most?) answers on SO haven't been through that reality check.

Plus it would feel kinda cruel to remove stuff like this. We're all human; I think we should draw the line at removing salutations.

Of course, if, as Bart says in the comment above, the "I had the same problem" statement precedes a bad answer or a non-answer, deal with it as you usually would — i.e. edit, comment, downvote, or flag.

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As I'm frightened by your statement "Many (most?) answers on SO haven't been through that reality check", this makes me rethink personally identifying with the question. For me, I've always assumed this was implicit by the answer itself. –  Jason Sturges Oct 21 '12 at 17:44
    
@Jason one would think so, but nope. People have no idea what they're recommending often enough –  Pëkka Oct 21 '12 at 17:57
    
Thanks for the reality check. It would be fascinating to research a credibility equation of [upvotes] / [how localized a question is by views] to derive a minimum threshold of upvotes to install confidence. That metric would have significant margin of error. –  Jason Sturges Oct 21 '12 at 18:17

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