For instance, this answer I just noticed in review. Here's another answer on that question that explains their code at a high level.

Our "low quality post" algorithm certainly seems to pick up on pure-code answers, however on occasion people (like the asker of that question) explicitly request a code snippet that performs a certain function. If this is the case should any additional info be added if an answerer only posts code?

If we should add a description, what should we say? A high level description? An explanation of why you're using X function or Y operators? This is in part problematic because it may not be immediately clear why an answered picked the exact statements they did unless there's something obviously wrong/right with it.

2 Answers 2


Answering Matching whitespace in bash is more relevant in the long run than I want to delete duplicate files made by iTunes, which all end in " 1.mp3

That answer isn't very helpful to anyone but the person who asked the question.

A much better answer would contain a sentence explaining what find does and the reason for using it. A link to an online man page is helpful too, which is something anyone can do.

  • 1
    I agree completely. It seems the problem that the current answers on that question are not self contained really; they only make sense in the context of the (full) question.
    – Zelda
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 1:02

In my opinion there are cases where an all code answer is fine. Sometimes someone is just missing on syntax and the only thing you can really add in the way of explanation would be white noise (or in extreme cases just padding to meet the word count).

However, there are certainly cases where more explanation is warranted, if for example the questioner is clearly missing out on the thought process or concept that lead you to your solution.

  • If the asker was just missing on syntax wouldn't a good answer explain why their code works and the asker's doesn't though?
    – Zelda
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 1:03
  • @Ben I suppose you could make that argument, I just think in some cases its painfully obvious, like on this question: stackoverflow.com/questions/7936823/…
    – kekekela
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 1:06
  • Obvious to OOP users, IMO it's important there to note that you're instaniating the object as a new List<Filter> object though.
    – Zelda
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 1:11
  • Ben What you're asking to mention is literally a restatement of the point of difference in the line of code that was given. I'd consider that to be redundant and unnecessary, much like a comment for a getFoo method that says "gets foo" but I think its an area where reasonable minds can disagree.
    – kekekela
    Commented Nov 14, 2011 at 1:45

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