In this question, the OP asks "How could I create a randomly-variable-length list of instances (objects) of this class Teacher without using any list comprehension (maybe from vectorization or broadcasting?)".

My answer focuses on the part of his question that specifies "without any list comprehension", as that seems to be the crux of his problem.

@Steve disagrees with that, and we had a conversation on the comments on that.

The question for Meta is: what should be valued, a more complete answer, or one that is less complex?

This Meta question seems to favor complete, as it would probably suit the OP best.

However, as a general user of the site (ie, while browsing, not asking or answering), I'd rather have answers that go straight to the main point of the question.

That's not to say they should be short. There are some answers that look like an essay, and they are great, as they detail the answer. There are also many answers that add something like 'by the way, I think you could improve your code in this secondary aspect', and that's fine too.

For this specific question, there is even a further second question that is not covered by my answer, but my question here for Meta is more generic: In general, should we

  • strive for covering every point on a question, even if it adds complexity to the answers, or
  • strive for simplicity and sticking to a point, even if secondary points of the question go unanswered?
  • See also: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/7656/… - the first paragraph can be a short summary, and subsequent text can draw out and prove all the details; the last paragraph could explain why this answer is better or why it's more complete and didn't leave out an important point (as another shorter answer did). – Rob Dec 15 '20 at 0:06
  • Thanks, @Rob. The most upvoted answer to that question does not help, I think. The second has this: "Answer the question and highlight side-issues", which might go either way – caxcaxcoatl Dec 15 '20 at 0:11
  • The least upvoted states "Keep to the point; the answer should be as brief as possible for a complete answer. Don't write about other things than what the question asked for." :) – caxcaxcoatl Dec 15 '20 at 0:12
  • By the way, I'm quite surprised my post is generating one down vote every 3 visits. Anyone downvoting it might care explaining what's wrong? Did I fail some etiquette rule here? I do think it is a valid question; I don't see any other questions looking at the same problem, and this seems to be the right forum for that discussion. Where am I wrong? – caxcaxcoatl Dec 15 '20 at 0:19
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    If you want to talk about your specific question you might want to be on MSO rather than here. Different sites may have different practices on the broadness of questions. – Robert Longson Dec 15 '20 at 0:22
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    There can be an answer that is direct to the main point with no further explanation or clarification, and another answer that is complete in detail addressing the main and secondary points, and another answer challenging the main point's relevance by promoting secondary or unmentioned points to be in focus, and another answer that provides background to understanding the main point and implicitly allowing the question to be answered as a member of a class of questions based on it. All can be and often are good answers. You're getting downvotes because you present two false dichotomies at once. – Nij Dec 15 '20 at 0:33
  • @RobertLongson, thanks; I should probably have put my question there. This entry is not specific about the question I linked, as I said, but certainly SO may have different views than other sites on the network. – caxcaxcoatl Dec 15 '20 at 1:22
  • @Nij, I think your comment is a valid answer to my question. Though I have not asked what a good answer should be like (there are other entries for that), I read your comment as 'we're not homogeneous; different people will strive and look for different things on this site', and I think that is a valid point, and one I had not considered before. – caxcaxcoatl Dec 15 '20 at 1:27
  • On the downvotes, though, @Nij, I read them as: your question is not valid for this site, and that is what I was confused at. Non-valid for me is something that is off-topic, offensive and so on. A question which is based on a bad premise, though, sounds like a valid starting point for a discussion, and that's how I believe you saw mine. Again, I'm trying to understand my way on Meta; perhaps I have a few more bad premises there. – caxcaxcoatl Dec 15 '20 at 1:34

Ideally, there should be only one clear question per question, and any answers should address that clear question using a clear answer.

When there is scope for answering more than one question within a question it often leads to the convoluted Q&A that you describe.


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