Let assume the scenario is someone posted question in SO and left it and come back after 1 hour.

He found that one answer is straight forward and correct answer but with no explantion and another answer is 20 minutes after the previous answer and content is based on the previous answer but it almost explained everything.

So, my question is, the one posted the question SHOULD accept the straight with no explanation or the one has explanation but answer based on the first one?

3 Answers 3


How/what you vote/accept is completely up to you. However, in the scenario given, I would recommend the thorough answer be accepted. This may do a few things:

  1. Help improve the experience for future visitors with the same problem so they find the detailed answer quicker
  2. Improve the SE community by giving those who put in more effort in their answers more incentive/reason to put time into quality answers.
  3. Teach you and others the idea behind the correct answer so the same mistakes aren't made in future, similar situations

Code-only answers, which it sounds like you are describing with your "straight with no explanation" answer are often times not good quality in that they give users a "fish" without teaching them how to get that "fish".

The most important thing about this site, IMHO, isn't just to get answers but to learn what we are doing wrong and how. So we want to encourage users to give detailed explanations as to why their answers are correct.

But, again, it is completely up to you how you vote/accept.

  • Looks like we had the same idea. +1 Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 20:43
  • how about give a straight away answer and update the answer based on the understanding or requirement of the one asked question? Or we always need to well explain our answer for the future one so that the future one can understand? say frankly, it is time-consuming.
    – V-SHY
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 20:46
  • 2
    I think we should give at least some detail to the answer, not just code. It doesn't have to be 3 paragraphs long (and honestly, often doesn't need to be very long). But putting in a little effort to explain, at least in some detail, will make the site better. Even answers I give where it is simply changing a property in a layout for an Android Activity I still give at least a little information as to why it works and why what the OP was doing didn't. The site isn't just to help one person but to build answers that will help many.
    – codeMagic
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 20:50
  • 1
    I agree with @codeMagic, at least some detail. It doesn't even have to be in paragraph form. Just commenting your code can work wonders. Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 20:54

Accept whichever one you felt was most helpful.

  • If you found the additional explanation helpful, you may accept an answer for that reason.

  • If you felt that a straightforward and concise answer to be the most helpful, because you are uninterested in a detailed explanation, you might choose that one.

  • If you are in a hurry and an expedient answer is what is most helpful to you, you may accept an answer for that reason.

  • If one answer was easier for you to understand than the others, whether this be the longer or shorter answer, you might select that easier to understand answer.

  • Not to mention that if the long answer is detailed and well written, votes will probably make it appear before the other 'unmarked' answers.
    – Tonio
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 20:42
  • @Tonio That depends, maybe, maybe not. Longer isn't always better.
    – Servy
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 20:45
  • @Servy Of course, that's what I meant by 'if the long answer is detailed and well written'.
    – Tonio
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 20:48
  • @Tonio It depends on more than that. Perhaps it contains a lot of detailed and well written information, but it just wasn't helpful for you. For example, if my problem is just that I want to Frob a Foo, and Foo has a method called Frob, I don't need someone to go into a detailed explanation about what it means to Frob a Foo, I may already know that, I just need someone to tell me that there's a Frob method that does exactly what I'm asking. It all comes down to whether the additional explanation adds value. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't.
    – Servy
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 20:51
  • Well, what I mean is that the most helpful answer should be marked as the answer for the thread, but that any answer that provide the same info and then some should be rewarded by a +1 as long as it's accurate, well articulated and not off topic. It's funny, from my point of view we're saying the same thing.
    – Tonio
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 20:55
  • will you create new answer if you found a correct answer on the list but does not have any explantion? or you will just try to edit the post?
    – V-SHY
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 21:15
  • @V-SHY If I feel that it is important to have an explanation for this particular question, and that an answer without one is not a good answer, I would post my own answer. If I didn't see a compelling need, I'd either do nothing, or possibly comment. Editing entirely new content into another answer would be an inappropriate use of the editing system. Edits are there to help the reader more effectively process the existing content, not to create new content. I would roll back an edit that edited a detailed explanation into another person's post.
    – Servy
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 21:28

Personally, I would accept the more detailed answer. It provides more value to yourself and future readers. An answer that works, but with no explanation, will leave you stuck in the same situation at a later date. An explanation will help you avoid the problem in the future. An up-vote to the speedy one wouldn't be out of place, though.

Explanations don't have to be long-winded, we shouldn't expect a book to be written to answer a question. However, even just commenting your code can go a long way towards making the solution clearer to those that are struggling to begin with.

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