This question is not a duplicate, it is not about right and wrong answers and questions, it is about whether an acronym for sloppy answers to good questions would be useful, and I propose one that seems reasonably polite, more than some well known acronym for the opposite case (RTFM for sloppy questions). This is obviously based on the assumption that there are also sloppy answers, not only sloppy questions.

More often than expected I see that questions like
"... how do I do x in Y ..."?
even when they are clearly and well specified get some replies that do NOT answer the question at all and go like:
"In Y doing x is bad style"
"Why would you want do to x?"
"Why are you using Y"?
"Tell me the story of your life so we can understand why you wrongly chose language/tool Y rather than Z that is more ..."

Such replies would be somehow acceptable if they came along with the requested answer, most of the times there is no answer, this is the case I am writing about (and about clear, well specified questions)

Such annoying non-answers seem nearly as frequent as sloppy questions.
For sloppy questions there is RTFM.
For this annoying non-answers I am not aware of useful acronyms, so I propose FATFQ, which seems not only appropriate but also rather "open" and kind, relative to this kind of non-answers:
it is not JATFQ or OATFQ (Just Ask.../ Only Ask ...) it is "First Ask The Fine Question", after that free to explain how right your tools and vision of the world are and how wrong the question is, but first, before the sermon, please answer the fine question, maybe by saying that you do not see any way to do x in Y.

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    I suppose you are talking about comments, not answers. If someone really writes a rude comment like Read The Fine Manual first please, you may flag it as such. Apr 2, 2018 at 13:00
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    Maybe they expect an X-Y problem and it is pretty frustrating to find out it is after you answered The Fine Question
    – rene
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:02
  • I talk about answers that do not (even try to) answer the question. I do not talk about rudeness or kindness.
    – user350947
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:02
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    @user778806 Can you link some examples into your questions please? I can't believe that such non-answers would survive very long. Apr 2, 2018 at 13:05
  • @rene Read what I wrote: is a question, well specified as I wrote, the context is sloppy answers, not sloppy question. What is expected is an answer, not someone who does not even try to answer but starts a (technical) sermon.
    – user350947
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:06
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    The commentors or the answerers beg to differ and often for good reasons. If you don't get the answers you want or expect, blame the question not those that spend their free time to provide their knowledge, experience and reasoning.
    – rene
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:10
  • @user778806 Sometimes a technical sermon is what the question needs. The user asking had to ask, which means they didn't have the needed expertise to solve the problem, so there might be solutions/problems they are not aware of. Also, the answer is supposed to help other users as well.
    – user204841
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:14
  • @gnat note that this question is to propose an acronym, not to discuss the right or wrong way to ask and answer
    – user350947
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:17
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    We don't need that acronym as the question where you want to apply shouldn't be answered.
    – rene
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:18
  • @Modus You are ignoring that I clearly set the scope "question clearly specified"
    – user350947
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:19
  • @rene are acronyms useless and should be condemned in online conversations? Or only acronyms for this case? (sloppy non-answers to good questions)
    – user350947
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:20
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    You keep hammering on good questions. Let me hammer back by repeating myself as well: It is pretty frustrating to find out after the fact that you have answered an unclear question. We don't need acronyms and specially we don't need the one you propose. Beyond that I believe such acronyms come to exist naturally, not because the acronym invention board approved them.
    – rene
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:23
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    @user778806 "more than some well known acronym for the opposite case (RTFM for sloppy quesions)" This would be considered rude, and flagged. Apr 2, 2018 at 13:26
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    @user778806 You were asked to clarify your question, and to link some example question and answers into your question that would support your point why we would need such acronym. Do you see what's gone wrong? Apr 2, 2018 at 13:46
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    In any case, FATFQ will not be useful for the same reason RTFM is not useful and should be flagged: it is rude.
    – user204841
    Apr 2, 2018 at 14:00

2 Answers 2


We don't need to invent acronyms for sloppy answers as much as we don't need RTFM for sloppy questions.

A sloppy answer deserves a down vote, nothing more, nothing less. If the answer is missing the point of the question and someone can fit in 500 characters what is wrong with the answer in the context of the question, by all means do so. Do not use -1 sloppy answer or any other (acronym) noise. If you're not prepared to engage with the OP, don't comment.

Vote and move on.

  • The tone of your post helps put your views in perspective.
    – user350947
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:46
  • Thanks. I always try to really get to the core of the issue at hand and then provide a competitive answer.
    – rene
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:48
  • what is a competitive answer?
    – user350947
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:55
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    an answer that is better then the existing answer(s)
    – rene
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:56
  • Done, I tend to agree more with the other but this is more in scope, the other speaks about comments and new users so bad questions or expectations, that I explicitly (and, I believe, clearly) excluded,
    – user350947
    Apr 2, 2018 at 14:23

All (newer) users suspect they write fine, well formulated and well specified questions, without caring about site policies, where it's well defined what constitutes a good question.

Also all (newer) users demand that their personal problems are solved in 1st place, without caring about their questions usefulness for future research.

As mentioned I believe you're talking about comments and not answers, since an answer like

"Why would you want do to x?"

won't survive very long at any site.

If someone asks such in a comment, they want you to clarify your question (which is the mere purpose of comments). So you simply should do that, and edit your question to make it clearer.

I don't see any problem with it, or the need for YAA (I leave it open to you to figure what this acronym should mean).

  • The scope has been clearly described, clear questions and sloppy answers. Discussing what is a goood question is another matter, rather complex and somehow subjective
    – user350947
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:32
  • @user778806 "Please FATFQ, ie within its scope" I did: I don't see any problem with it, or the need for YAA (I leave it open to you to figure what this acronym should mean). Apr 2, 2018 at 13:34
  • Yes, you are right, you aswered in scope, noticed it late as am doing other things, sorry about it. Let me mark your answer as useful.
    – user350947
    Apr 2, 2018 at 13:37