I clicked on Open Source Advertising - Sidebar - 1H 2013 and scrolled through the submissions just for the heck of it. When I came to the bottom, I discovered something unexpected!

See freehand circles for more information

Lo and behold, there was an answer template waiting for me. Is the sorcery indicated by the above freehand circle something that we mere mortals can hope to attain? If so, what incantation is necessary to summon it?

  • (Oh oh, do I see a space in placeholder there?) – Arjan Aug 19 '13 at 23:08

Yes and no. Those ad threads are special. They are hooked up to the advertising engine that actually shows ads in the sidebar on the main site that get enough upvotes in the current community thread on meta.

Could we add "canned" answers to other posts? Sure. Will we? Highly unlikely. 

For one, the current implementation wouldn't work - that placeholder post is the same every time someone goes to post an answer on the community ad question. If we were to generalize it, we'd need to at the very least provide a way to create, maintain, and select from a list of templated answers.

However, if you find that a question can be answered by a stock canned answer, the odds are that there's an existing question somewhere that addresses the same points and it's better to just close the new one as a duplicate.

  • Makes sense. To your points: the alternative is to allow some sort of markup in the question body (perhaps everything after a marker comment of some sort, or an element of its own) that would specify the answer template for that individual question, as opposed to maintaining a collection of canned templates. My thought for the answer templates went more towards sites like Meta (as opposed to main sites) for guiding the results of a discussion. – Adam Maras Aug 19 '13 at 22:48
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    @AdamMaras I don't mean to come off as I'm just here to shut down your ideas, but unfortunately I don't think that'd work either. For one, it'd give the asker a lot of control over what kind of answers they could receive. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but in at least some cases I expect it'd be useless or misused, since folks don't always know what they need or aren't very receptive to the reality of whatever situation they may want to discuss. Or when a new user came in to ask a question, they wouldn't know the special syntax. Even on meta, closing as a duplicate is a solid way to go. – Adam Lear Aug 19 '13 at 22:51
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    Fair enough on all points. – Adam Maras Aug 19 '13 at 22:52
  • Well, I don't see any valid reason to use an answer template except in the Open Source Advertising thread. But still intresting to know. – Johannes Kuhn Dec 13 '13 at 8:18

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