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I'd like to find out about the guidelines for quality of answers. A question was recently asked showing the asker did not mind mixing code (Javascript being generated in PHP) and I posted an answer as such with a disclaimed stating that the solution was not the best but would be functional.

My answer was downvoted and other answers that showed a method without mixing code were upvoted.

My question is thus: Does this make my answer wrong? Is there an arbitrary community guideline in regards to the quality of answers. If an answer is fully functional but badly formatted should it be downvoted?

I'd really appreciate some information on this - it made me start to think if I should stop answering so many questions and start answering only the ones I can produce a perfect code result for.

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Andrew, I understand your frustration, but there are a lot of strands of rant wrapped around the threads of your question. You'll get better feedback here if you remove them. –  Michael Petrotta Oct 22 '12 at 2:21
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Also, without a link to the question, it's hard for anyone to give you an answer based on what really happened. –  jmort253 Oct 22 '12 at 2:22
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You handled the downvote on the site well though, without attacking the person giving you feedback. ;) Is this the answer: stackoverflow.com/questions/13003842/… –  jmort253 Oct 22 '12 at 2:24
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Michael - I apologise if I came across this way, it wasn't my intention. I was more trying to explain the information I was after and explain the situation! jmort253 - Thanks for that. I wasn't really specifically asking with that question - more as a general example. But cheers! I bear no ill will to someone giving me positive feedback! –  Andrew White Oct 22 '12 at 2:41

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

First, no one is expected to answer with perfectly working code. Anyone who insists that you provide perfectly working code is most likely a help vampire, and their question should be reviewed for edits to improve it or ultimate closure. However, the code you do put in your answer should, in my opinion, use good coding practices. Sometimes if you show someone the wrong way to do something, it's harder to get them to change it later on, once they gain experience and become more opinionated about their perceived skill level.

Second, your answer should also answer the question fully.

I believe you gave an answer that you felt would solve the problem, and your intentions were good. You also answered the question fully. However, I tend to be more of a purist. Mixing code is bad, unreadable, and should be avoided. I wouldn't have downvoted your answer, but I wouldn't upvote either.

Ultimately, some members of the community may feel your answer is helpful and upvote, while others may feel it's harmful and may downvote. People are free to vote as they choose, as long as it's on the content.

From looking at some of your answers, you're a good Stack Overflow user who writes detailed answers that will be useful to future visitors. Keep doing what you're doing. If you get a downvote and the downvoter leaves feedback, try to use that information to improve your answer if you can. If you can't really improve it, then just take it as a learning experience. Everyone gets a downvote occasionally, and sometimes these are the cases where we, as answerers, learn something. ;)

So don't let 1 downvote discourage you. Your answer might get upvoted if someone else thinks it's useful. Good luck!

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Hey jmort253. Thanks for your answer! I really appreciate that :). The problem I see (and that I've found in my career too) is that every programmer has different ideas of what "good coding practices" are. There's always a few things people agree on, but a large grey area too! I really appreciate your feedback and I'll keep doing what I'm doing :). Learning is the main reason why I'm here! –  Andrew White Oct 22 '12 at 2:44

As I see it, Stack Overflow works, in most cases, in a secular manner except intervention by a moderator. Secularism never promises quality.

All people here have right to upvote/downvote. And they will practice it. If you go against the regular fashion, in most times, you'll get downvotes because people aren't accustomed to it.

Now, this regular fashion may exist due to some good reason or due to the inability of people to think out of the box. In the former case, your approach was negative, in latter, going against it will be positive. But who decides the framework of reference? In secularism, it's the people. So your idea will be discouraged.

Take it with a pinch of salt.

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Sorry, I'm your first upvote and your first downvote on meta. I want to downvote for "Secularism never promotes quality" because that's an absolute and therefore completely wrong. I didn't. I downvoted for you suggesting that the people are always wrong. On SO, luckily, you will get trashed for posting an answer that is vulnerable to SQL Injection. That is the "people". They are correct; if you get a downvote, and want to improve yourself, it's best to understand why. The people can, and will, be correct occasionally. –  ben is uǝq backwards Oct 22 '12 at 7:36

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