I answered my own question at How to debug variables in Autohotkey without just using MsgBox? . I had read about listvars and it provided me the solution I required. Yet the moderator said:

Please don't add "thank you" as an answer. Instead, vote up the answers that you find helpful. – Mansfield Aug 6 at 13:16

Someone else said:

This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. – valex Aug 6 at 13:20

This is very confusing to me because I never said any thank you. I merely provided an answer to the question, namely that Listvars gives me the function I am looking for. I never responded to anybody's post. Moreover, when I posted my answer, nobody had answered as yet, so to whom was I saying thank you? The word thank you don't even appear in my answer. Anyway, I then deleted my answer in blind faith that Mansfield and Valex must be knowing what they are doing, but then thereafter, someone else answers with Listvars, and nobody complains about that. Can someone enlighten me in my mistake here, what am I missing here?

Note that I posted my answer on Aug 6, whereas the other person answered on Aug 7.

Thank you.

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    Not everyone pays attention to the timestamps, unfortunately... – animuson Aug 12 '13 at 18:46
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    The problem is that while you both mentioned listvars as a solution, the other answer actual details how that works/would solve the problem. Your answer lacked explanation. – StephenTG Aug 12 '13 at 18:46
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    @StephenTG But his answer, as well as the comments he received, all came before the other answer did. – Grace Note Aug 12 '13 at 18:47
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    @StephenTG The other answer actually doesn't detail how to use ListVars. All the code after the first line is a completely different way, as far as I can tell. – animuson Aug 12 '13 at 18:49
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    @StephenTG Regardless of the extra detail explained, listvars in itself was a correct answer. A good answer is an answer that is to the point, not necessarily that it is detailed or not. Also, keep in mind that the questioner is a newbie. Listvars is just perfect for him. The detailed answer provided is nice, but not always suitable for a newbie. – Khalil Aug 12 '13 at 18:50
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    While I agree that certain types of answers can be better for newbies than others, one that just say "X works for me" aren't very helpful unless they provide some info about X and/or why it's helpful. – StephenTG Aug 12 '13 at 18:52
  • @StephenTG Forums are there to direct you and help you, not to spoon feed you. After a newbie sees the answer: Listvars, he can now look up what it does. Why does the answerer have to play the role of a documentator? Yes, provide help when it is a matter of insight and lack of knowlledge to even know where to look, but to go and spoon feed the syntax of a command when it has already been provided, isn't that a bit too much? – Khalil Aug 12 '13 at 20:27
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    @Khalil: StackOverflow is not a forum, and one of the reasons is that we prefer to avoid low-content answers like this – David Robinson Aug 12 '13 at 20:47
  • @DavidRobinson Stackoverflow being a forum or not is a technical discussion and irrelevant to the issue at hand. The answer is low-content, but does that make it a bad answer? Listvars is self-explanatory. The onus of insight and correct knowledge lies with the answerer. The onus of documentation lies with the questioner. There is nothing more you can add to the answer that is not already mentioned in the documentation. For an answerer to provide that info would have been better, but not necessary. The obligation of the answer was absolved by giving the fact: listvars will do. – Khalil Aug 12 '13 at 21:15
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    If Listvars is so self-explanatory, then why did a question have to be asked about it? – user102937 Aug 12 '13 at 22:24
  • @RobertHarvey Because I didn't know about the existence of that command in the first place. After the knowledge has reached me, I was able to now look it up in the documentation and see how it works. When I looked up Listvars in the documentation, I saw how it is to be used and there is nothing intricate about it. Therefore, I posted it without an additional link to documentation because it is self explanatory. That in contrast with the other persons answer. He provided such an insightful addition to it, I could have never found that by just googling it. Such a link is an essential contributio – Khalil Aug 12 '13 at 23:22
  • Contribution that deserved extra merit. An extra link to the documentation for listvars on the other hand would have been useful, but not necessary. Why? Because it is self-explanatory. – Khalil Aug 12 '13 at 23:23
  • Did you have to delete your answer, @Khalil? I lost my first 5+ scoring comment. :-( – JoshDM Aug 14 '13 at 2:19
  • @JoshDm I am so sorry that happened. Can you please link me which one it is? I can't remember which one you are talking about. Also, how do you know I did it? – Khalil Aug 14 '13 at 12:56
  • @JoshDM I found out which one you meant, the actual listvars does the trick for me answer. Yes it got deleted, but not by me though. Other people deleted it. Why are you blaming me for? – Khalil Aug 14 '13 at 13:11

“Listvars does the trick for me” is not an answer, in my opinion.

Yes, it's an answer in that Listvars solved your problem, I simply don't regard it as an acceptable answer. If I didn't recognize that you were also the author of the question, I would have flagged it as Low Quality.

Your use of the present tense "does" implies you are responding to the person who wrote the question and aren't necessarily the author; anyone viewing it quickly might think you're just tossing an answer out for the sake of doing so. Using the past-tense "did", as in "Listvars did the trick for me", implies you have solved the problem and might cause a reader to check your ID against that of the author of the question.

Grammar / tense aside, your answer provides no elaboration to show how you've applied Listvars to solve the problem you had. That alone would be why I'd flag it as Low Quality. I wouldn't have flagged it as "me too" or "thanks", which could be a lazy reviewer's way out.

As I've noted in a comment to your answer (which has, apparently again been deleted), if you've solved the problem yourself, it does help to explain, rather than it "doing the trick" for you, how you used it to solve your problem. It also helps to explicitly note that you resolved your own question, otherwise you leave it open to interpretation by others, which is what happened here.

Now, why was it important that I recognize you as the author of the question? As the author and obviously new user (based on your low reputation score), you should have been encouraged by comment, possibly accompanied by down-votes, to elaborate on your answer; it should not have been deleted, and the messages accompanying the deletion were discouraging at best. By deleting the author's answer, it creates a negative atmosphere which makes the author feel rejected by the community, and we should want to encourage new users. Deleting substandard answers of other new users is fine as they are not invested in the question in the same fashion as the author.

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    Agree, answering your own question should be held to the same standard as answering someone else's. "Listvars will do the trick" is a pretty crummy answer even if it is "correct". – user159834 Aug 12 '13 at 19:54
  • The purpose of the forums is to help people, not to spoon feed them. After a newbie reads Listvars, he can now look it up and use it for himself. For me to post code to explain how it is being used would be restating what the documentation is saying. Yes, some things can escape our attention and people need help with application. But Listvars is a very simplistic to use command. Concerning the tenses, both past and present tense can be misunderstood in the same way. eg: "It did the trick for me" can be interpreted as : "It did the trick for me, thanks" – Khalil Aug 12 '13 at 20:19
  • Also, if it is a difficult effort to double check the ID's of the answerer and the questioner, then shouldn't the forums be updated to make it clear to the reader that it is the same person answering the question? As such, it seems to me that it is more a shortcoming of the forum utilities than a shortcoming on my part or the moderators part. – Khalil Aug 12 '13 at 20:22
  • My opinion is that it's a shortcoming of the grammar used. I'm not 100% familiar with Listvars' command structure, but since you were looking for very specific items to be listed, adding the Listvars command with the parameters you specified to your post would have probably prevented all of this. – JoshDM Aug 12 '13 at 20:25
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    @Khalil You mention that posting your own description would be restating the documentation. It might have been better to at least provide a link to the documentation. – StephenTG Aug 12 '13 at 20:29
  • @StephenTG Good point, but that is an additional thing. The discussion we personally were having is, where to draw the line between a good answer and a bad one. I am stating that the moment I mentioned the command Listvars as an answer, then my obligation as an answerer was fulfilled. Yes, a link to the documentation would have been kind on my part, but my obligation was already absolved without it, for the simple reason that the person who needs the answer can just google it for himself. Providing a link in this case would be a discussion between a good answer and a better one, not a bad one – Khalil Aug 12 '13 at 20:34
  • Edited to add comment as to why I feel a comment on an answer by the OP was important. Feel free to revise your up-votes. – JoshDM Aug 13 '13 at 15:08

Judging by the scenario here, it seems that this is a case of goofery in the review queues. There's a queue for posts that get marked as "not an answer" - in this case, your answer got marked as such. A person who sees "listvars does the trick for me" flagged as such, who doesn't look at the actual context of the post, can then just pick canned comments and throw that out there because, if it was right, that'd be exactly the right thing to do.

As it turns out in this situation it wasn't the right thing to do. Certainly, your answer was sparse and to the point, but it was to the point and it was an answer. We've taken care of the comments as such.

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  • This seems to be a pretty common occurence in the Late Answer and Low Quality review queues. All you have to do is look at the OP of the question, and the person who wrote the answer. If they match, then the answer obviously isn't a "Thank you" answer, but that would take too much effort :P – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Aug 12 '13 at 19:21
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    @LBT Well, not always. Sometimes the OP will post a thank you answer basically summarizing what another answer said. It doesn't add any value to the question. Really they should just accept that answer they're summarizing. – animuson Aug 12 '13 at 19:50
  • @animuson - true, I may have oversimplified things a bit. Still, though, I have seen answers deleted as "thank you" answers when it was clearly the OP answering themselves. In this case, though, the answer could certainly have been fleshed out more. – LittleBobbyTables - Au Revoir Aug 12 '13 at 19:55
  • I must be misunderstanding something here. Surely you're not saying that this is an acceptable answer to the question? Because if it is, well, I've been working way too hard on the answers I post. – Cody Gray Aug 13 '13 at 6:39
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    @Cody It's an answer. Barely much, considering it takes all of two sentences of the other answer to surpass beyond it - this isn't too different from a question I myself asked a while ago. Longer and more complete answers are always preferable, as are ones that at least link to code documentation - and these are the ones that get well rewarded. The answer still does state, quite directly, a function that does precisely what is requested by the problem. I wouldn't upvote it. – Grace Note Aug 13 '13 at 13:16
  • @GraceNote that is EXACTLY my point. However, I have also learned that StackOverFlow is to become an online reference site that provides complete documentation. As such, answering without documentation would not fulfill the objective of the site, as another google search needs to be made. The person you are linking to, he just got away with it because what is the difference? Are you able to defend your opinion against this argument, that it is an answer that was to the point and fulfilled the objectives of this site? – Khalil Aug 14 '13 at 13:04

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