I am learning about how feature-request questions (on meta sites) differ from "normal" questions. Part of my understanding is that:
- For normal questions, votes reflect (primarily) the quality of the question.
- By comparison, for feature request questions, votes reflect (primarily) voting for or against the requested feature.
This understanding is based on experience (making mistakes, unfortunately) and some existing SE references, such as:
- The feature-request tag wiki.
- How does Meta Stack Exchange work?
- And, in particular, What do votes mean on Meta?…
With how feature request questions appear to work, one might be led to believe that answers are not required, and that "accepting" an answer is even less relevant than with normal questions. Rather, votes for and against (and possibly comments) are being invited.
It seems that the purpose of votes on a feature request is reasonably well understood. What, however, is the meaning or purpose of answers to feature request questions? Or, in another way of asking it, how does the purpose of an answer to a feature request question differ from the purpose of a comment on a feature request question?
The following answers are related, but don't seem to address the core of this question (i.e. What is the purpose of the answer?):
- What is the process for getting an answer to a feature request?
- What is the process of a feature-request?
- Do I need to accept an answer on a feature-request question?
- Are [feature-request] tagged questions treated differently from other questions by SE?
- If votes works differently on meta sites how does that of accepting answers work?
The (currently) most popular (net upvoted) feature-request questions, in various states, and some comments about each:
- (no moderator tag), 29 comments, 12 answers, none accepted Don't throw away all votes when a user is deleted The purpose of these answers appear to be to express pro and con arguments too lengthy to fit in a comment. At least one has a bounty on it.
- (status-completed), 14 comments, 21 answers, one accepted Can we have the ability to retract a close vote before it closes? The purpose of many of the answers to this question, likely pre-dating its "completed" status, appear to be arguments for or against the feature that were too lengthy or sophisticated to be expressed within a comment.
- (status-declined), 8 comments, 19 answers, none accepted Show all of my question/answers to me even if they are deleted The purpose of at least some of the answers to this question seem to be arguments against the declined status.
This investigation of highly popular feature-request questions suggests that one major purpose of answers to feature-request questions may be to express pro or con arguments that are too lengthy or sophisticated to fit within a comment.
It also suggests a secondary, but similar, purpose… which may be to disagree with a feature-request being marked as "status-declined".
Are these the primary purposes? Are there additional purposes?
(This question has deliberately not been tagged as a feature-request, so as to not risk suggesting that it is a feature-request. Rather, it is about feature-requests. If more experience SE members find this concern unwarranted, feel free to edit as seen fit.)