10

User A posts a terrible question. User B comes and give a good answer to that question, but before starting the proper answer he says:

First off, your question was downvoted for the lack of details in your question. When you ask a question on StackOverflow you are asked to "Provide details. Share your research." which you did neither. See more here on How to Ask: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/how-to-ask. This makes for a better community and others will be more likely to respond.

[Here goes the answer to the question]

or

...

(The next time you have a performance question like this, JSPerf can be very helpful.)

[Here goes the answer to the question]

And there are other answers like these...

Is this a good practice? Is it encouraged? What should I do about answers like these?

16

No, it is not a good practice, and it is not encouraged.

The audience for answers is the entire Internet. Casual viewers are looking for answers to their questions, not meta commentary. They don't need to see meta conversations; that kind of content is useless to them. Putting such information in answers gives the false impression that we're some sort of communication network, like Facebook, Twitter or email, and that's not what we're about.

In short, answers are for answers, not anything else.

2
  • ...and how to correct this practice? Just remove that part from answer and put it in a comment? – Ionică Bizău Feb 5 '14 at 6:37
  • 5
    Just edit it out of the answer. – user102937 Feb 5 '14 at 6:38
12

Those are different. The first starts with a comment on the question. Edit it out. If similar comments exist, you're done. If none do, you may want to add one with your own wording.

The second is more a comment on the answer. It says that the answer was determined either directly by using tool X, or from years of experience using tool X. It supports the overall goal of the answer to help solve the asker's problem and (this is key) is advice you would give in another medium. If you asked me for help in person, I wouldn't advise you to improve your spelling, right? Though I have been known to tell people to "take a big breath" or "no need to panic" before helping. But "tool X really helps in these cases" isn't meta talk. It can stay.

1
  • Very good point. I agree. The first one made me to decide to ask this question. – Ionică Bizău Feb 5 '14 at 20:35

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