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I've just answered this question on StackOverflow to which I've received three down votes almost immediately. My answer didn't directly completely answer the question (I've since edited it to include a link to the documentation), but it did give the way for the user to easily get the answer:

I've not used Farbtastic, but you should be able to console.log($.farbtastic('#picker')) to view all the information about that object in the JavaScript console. From this you can determine what the name is stored as or how to get the name (if it's a method instead).

You may also be able to just use jQuery's default attr() method:


I've just tried this on the official site and this is in fact the case:

Console Result

...which means that the $('#picker').attr('name'); assumption included in my answer is correct.

When answering questions, do I have to give a direct answer rather than just explaining how a user can get the answer themselves?

share|improve this question
Here, have an upvote from me! – Danny Beckett May 1 '13 at 10:29
FYI your answer (prob. first revision) even got flagged as "not an answer". The first revision wasn't really good though - sounded like pure speculation. – Mat May 1 '13 at 10:31
So "honesty" is the reason for the downvotes? If you'd just said, "inspect it this way and do this"... => upvotes (even if upvoters aren't checking themselves)... – hayd May 1 '13 at 10:34
"Farbtastic," huh? I generally like to CV things like this as too localized; try that next time, you might find that it's not any less rewarding. – The Community May 1 '13 at 10:35
This is a shortcoming of the Stack Overflow system. There's no designated place to actually teach a person how to fish; if you want to gain upvotes, you're usually required to do the fishing for them. – Pëkka May 1 '13 at 10:35
Every time when I see a question asks "how can I build a regexp that matches foo followed by one or more spaces..." I try to teach how he could translate his English description to a regular expression. – Johannes Kuhn May 1 '13 at 10:46
Well if it would be so, then the Math or Physics sites would be full of downvotes only. In contrast those who give full answer till end gets their answered deleted. :) – user220080 May 1 '13 at 13:42
up vote 8 down vote accepted

People tend to downvote or close things they don't like. In your case, your answer smells like "theorycrafting":

I've not used Farbtastic,

Since most people have bad experience listening to theorycrafters, this earns you downvotes.

Your answer is otherwise fine. I've added one upvote to it :)

share|improve this answer
Interesting explanation, but since I am not familiar with the term "theorycrafting", could I ask for a link/explanation? Google gave me Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary, but they explain it as analysis of game mechanics, a connection I don't really see. I see the OP's suggestion as a perfectly valid debugging approach. – Monolo May 1 '13 at 10:37
@Monolo: Theorycrafting is speculating about a game without having played the game itself. It's like answering a question about SQL after reading the SQL standard, without any practical experience. – Andomar May 1 '13 at 10:59
Makes sense, thanks! – Monolo May 1 '13 at 11:01

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