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Hey guys,

There was this question earlier today that asked "what is a good execution time for a web page in PHP". It was quickly closed as not a real question.

One of the answers was "Whatever is reasonable for the content that gets displayed..." and it was voted up to the top.

My opinion is that such an answer should be a comment, really, as it is not informative, and its sole value is the wit associated to it. A similar one-liner ("Uhm. Three and a half hours if it does something complex.") was even voted down.

However, it's obviously not the only opinion out there, as I got into an argument with two other users about whether it was acceptable or not.

So, meta, what do you think? Is it appropriate to answer vague questions with equally vague answers?

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2 Answers 2

Is it appropriate to answer vague questions with equally vague answers?

Yes, no, maybe, sometimes.


Is this particular answer justified

Well, its not spam and it answers the question so I do not consider it abuse. Sure he could have linked here: http://www.useit.com/papers/responsetime.html ... but whatever.


Nobody is going to get reputation-rich from providing 1-liner answers to crappy questions.

It may seem unfair, but this question really has very little value, it will probably be deleted and on the next rep-recalc (which happens once every few years) the people who bothered answering will lose the little bits of reputation they gained from it.

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It might have value if there are a million other amateur PHP coders out there who are wondering exactly the same thing, and would write better code if they read a flippant response to it. –  detly Nov 2 '10 at 2:38
    
Okay, so even though it's not abuse; if I had a magic wand that turned answers into comments, would it have been a good time to use it? –  zneak Nov 2 '10 at 2:47
    
@zneak No, that was an answer and answers shouldn't be in comment. Comments are there for things that aren't answers (ask for precision, say if it's a duplicate, etc.) –  HoLyVieR Nov 2 '10 at 3:29
    
@status-completed I see. Then, if I had a magic wand that turned comments into answers, would it have been appropriate to use it on the comment "Whatever is acceptable to your users"? –  zneak Nov 2 '10 at 17:23

I don't think it's innapropriate since it answers the question and the information provided was correct. It's not something that we should look for, but it's not innapropriate either. The problem was more with the question that was so vague that only an answer like that could be the best.

Anyway as waffles said, those types of question eventually just get deleted and people don't really gain reputation from it.

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