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The answers I receive are so poor, and sometimes people post links instead of a straight answer. I saw an answer like this, Here:


blablabla (SO character limit count)

It had 2 upvotes.

And here is an answer with 5 upvotes (it only has a link, he doesn't explain anything). While there is another answer, very well written explaining all I need to know and more, it has only 3 upvotes.

What do you think it could be done to improve the system? (Since I believe its easier to change the system than people)

Maybe flag an answer as a BAD ANSWER?

share|improve this question
is not "list.Take(n)" enough answer for you? are you really need in obvious description "with this extension method you can retrieve first N elements blablabla"? is not it more productive to read that at msdn in details? – zerkms Sep 23 '10 at 3:36
Not only that, more should be explained. There were some people arguing on your answer about the behavior of this method. It would be much better to understand it fully. It doesn't occupies space to know more. Do you think SO was made knowing A() returns a or knowing A() returns a and then "blablabla" as you call? – BrunoLM Sep 23 '10 at 3:43
Let's not forget about improving the questions too: "What's the easiest way to remove every element after and including the nth element" ---- "easiest" what's that mean... number of keystrokes, no libraries used, easiest to maintain, easiest to understand how it works.......? – Peter Ajtai Sep 23 '10 at 4:17
Another case I see is when a answer is accepted with almost none content. When another person have a similar problem they end up finding the previous question, but the accepted answer is not enough. When they create another question asking almost the same thing people vote to close it. – BrunoLM Sep 23 '10 at 13:58
I've decided that I'm going to comment on every low level answer, telling people how I think they can improve their answers. Even if they hate me. All I want is to keep StackOverflow a Question & Answers and not a Questions & Links or Question & What to google. – BrunoLM Sep 23 '10 at 14:03
@BrunoLM: Can I suggest you start with this answer?… - it's just a link plus three words. No real explanation. If you protest that that's a perfectly valid answer, perhaps you should explain why that's okay but other links aren't. – Jon Skeet Sep 23 '10 at 14:47
@Jon Skeet: I know I did the same thing. I didn't realize it was so annoying. That's a good point, I should start fixing my mistakes first. – BrunoLM Sep 23 '10 at 15:58
@BrunoLM: But as you might have gathered from the responses to this question, it doesn't seem to annoy most people nearly as much as it annoys you. Yes, including some explanation is definitely a good thing to do... but as I've said before, an answer which just contains a link to a valuable resource is still better than no answer at all. Which situation actually gets the OP past whatever's blocking them quicker: a link, or silence? – Jon Skeet Sep 23 '10 at 16:12
@Jon Skeet: Link or silence? Sure a link. But it would be even better if there were some explanation, even if just a bit. As I said somewhere in this mess I've checked my answers and "fixed" some (including the one you mentioned ). In my criteria just a few answers were "bad answers". This… on the other hand is what I would call "excelent²" answer. – BrunoLM Sep 24 '10 at 3:37
@BrunoLM: I reserve even downvotes for answers which are actively unhelpful - i.e. the site would be better off without them. Some answers will always be better than others, obviously - but to go on this sort of rant against answers which you admit are better than nothing seems really excessive IMO. – Jon Skeet Sep 24 '10 at 6:43

The flag as a bad answer is known as a downvote.

While there are plenty of lazy people who will not bother to prepare good answers, most people on the site try to provide good ones. If you aren't getting any then perhaps your questions are not attracting the most helpful crowd. Couldn't say why.

share|improve this answer
But the downvote "doesn't work", people vote up on that poor answers... I always provide the most info I think the question needs, but another thing that happens is that the question goes down and doesn't appear on the first page. The first page gets a lot of attention while the rest is rarely seen by others. And no offense, but people like you would probably upvote poor answers. Didn't I just say these answers got upvotes, you read and forgot? People are missing the button and upvoting instead, or they don't care if the answer was good or not, they only care if it works. – BrunoLM Sep 23 '10 at 3:10
@Bruno: There are two possibilities here. Firstly, only one or very few compensatory upvotes: we do have a problem with sympathy voting on SO, and there is little that can be done about it. Second option, many votes: the crowd simply disagrees with you about what makes a good "answer". Possibly the crowd it wrong, but...that's how the site works. – dmckee Sep 23 '10 at 4:00
@Bruno "they only care if it works" Isn't that was an answer is supposed to provide? A solution that works? How's that a bad thing? – NullUserException อ_อ Sep 23 '10 at 4:31
@BrunoLM: So just to be clear, if you think an answer is bad, but everyone else thinks it's good, that should deserve a hefty penalty? Conversely, if you like an answer, but many other people think it's bad, do you believe that answer should be seen positively? It does seem that you think your opinion is the only one which should count... "people like you would probably upvote poor answers" indeed... – Jon Skeet Sep 23 '10 at 6:50
@dmckee: I see. A friend of mine gave up on SO and warned me about it a while ago... @Jon Skeet: So you are saying you like to see links as answers without any kind of explanation and "blablabla (SO chars limit count)" on answers. That's odd. – BrunoLM Sep 23 '10 at 9:50
@BrunoLM: I'm saying that I'd rather see a link that leads to a useful and detailed explanation than no answer at all. – Jon Skeet Sep 23 '10 at 11:43

If an answer is correct, it's not a bad answer; it doesn't matter how short it is.

share|improve this answer

I'm sure anyone giving you an answer you don't like would be happy to give you a full refund.

Fundamentally, while I don't encourage giving a link with no explanation, I'd usually rather have that than no answer at all... particularly if it's something like a link to a blog post or article which goes into the details of what you're looking for.

If you don't like an answer, downvote it - that downvote will be treated entirely democratically. You have no more or less power than me or anyone other normal user - your opinion counts neither more nor less than others. It seems you choose to believe that people upvoting answers you don't like either haven't bothered reading them, or don't care about their correctness... whereas I would generally prefer to believe that different people can just have different opinions on the same topic.

share|improve this answer
The only issue I tend see with up-voting is when a “correct” and well written” answer” does not answer the questions that was asked but still gets lot of votes. – Ian Ringrose Sep 23 '10 at 9:13
that downvote will be treated entirely democratically in theory yes. Too bad the system is highly influenced by sympathy. One friend gave up on SO because of that... – BrunoLM Sep 23 '10 at 9:56
@BrunoLM: I wouldn't say it's "highly" influenced by sympathy. By the time there have been as many upvotes as downvotes, people don't usually give sympathy votes IME. The examples you've given have genuine positive upvotes, so presumably those haven't just been sympathy votes. (Who gives a "sympathy" vote for an answer already on +3?) – Jon Skeet Sep 23 '10 at 11:42

I disagree with using my answer as a sample, due to it is the specific answer to the specific question.

The OP asked how to get 1-n collection, The OP received an answer. how to do that Ta-da.

share|improve this answer
Sorry, I totally disagree. See my comment for details. – BrunoLM Sep 23 '10 at 3:45
Well, do you think your change makes my answer much better? Does it give more information than obvious name Take does? – zerkms Sep 23 '10 at 3:55
Since everyone tries to give a copy-paste from msdn answer to get a checkmark - this makes SO to become a place where it is not good to think: you always can ask any question and get complete solution, so OPs don't need to think and read anymore - it is a thousands of people who will do the work for you. – zerkms Sep 23 '10 at 3:58
Anyway, it is subjective. You will not be able to convince me. – zerkms Sep 23 '10 at 4:00
up vote 0 down vote accepted

There is two things I though to workaround this situation.

If you have a simple question, put several sentences with a question mark. That will force others to answer most of it.

If you have a bigger question, split it in several small questions, for example: "I need to use UTF8 Decode on SQLServer" would be (after some research):

  • How can I convert a string in hex to int?
  • How can I convert string to varbinary?
  • How can I replace a string that matches "%2F" to its ASCII value?

That because big questions doesn't get attention, people don't want to waste time reading the question, they just want reputation, so if you give small questions they will post small answers. Gathering all the answers it's possible to achieve a solution for you initial problem. The example I mentioned is a real case, not exactly with those titles, I could achieve a solution for my big question with it. I was lucky, I didn't have to research much on the answers.

There are cases that an answers leads me to researches. That's good and bad. Good - It leads me somewhere. Bad - StackOverflow doesn't get the best answer. That's the main point of this question. StackOverflow could be better, unfortunately there are too many answers that just lead to more research instead of giving the proper answer.

I've decided that I'm going to comment on every "low level" answer, telling people how I think they can improve their answers. Or maybe commenting questions even if I know the answer to make them improve the answer. I guess it's all what can be done and I hope it helps to improve the answers that I consider bad, like:

blablabla (text to be allowed to post)

Come on, SO has a minimum character limit for a reason.

share|improve this answer
If you believe you can post your own answer which is better on any particular question, please, do so. – Gnome Sep 23 '10 at 12:12
I may be misinterpreting here, but it looks to me like you're advocating asking many questions in one post. -1 for that (again, unless I've misinterpreted). – Pops Sep 24 '10 at 16:55
Not different questions. Several questions on the same "big question". An example: "How to convert string to int?"; I guess it would force people to write a bit if you ask how to do, about performance, etc... Ask things related, just to force them to write something. (The example wasn't a very good one, but I guess you can get the idea) – BrunoLM Sep 24 '10 at 17:05

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