From the automatic review comment:

Post Answer button should be used only for complete answers to the question.

If an answer has a limitation, is it considered an incomplete answer and therefore should be deleted? Or is an answer that has a limitation a valid answer (i.e., should not be deleted)?

Examples of limitations:

  • only works in some environments (OS / lib version / etc.)
  • is slow / computationally inefficient
  • needs extra manual work
  • has a restrictive license
  • may cover more cases than what the OP wants
  • 2
    Limitations (or workarounds) don't automatically imply incompleteness? Can you give some comprehensive examples please? Commented Jul 10 at 19:12
  • 1
    Ok, specific examples please (best network wide). What you state is too generic. Commented Jul 10 at 20:03
  • @πάνταῥεῖ I don't want to make it specific to a few posts. The goal was to define what "complete answers" mean. Commented Jul 10 at 20:05
  • 1
    And how is covering more cases than what the OP wants a limitation? Isn't that quite the opposite, by all accounts?
    – Joachim
    Commented Jul 10 at 21:39
  • 1
    @Joachim eg OP wants a way to check if a some text exceeds the page margin, and answer is a way to check any margin overflow, not just page margin Commented Jul 10 at 21:40
  • So when an answer broadens the scope of the question, or generalizes it? The current wording is a little off, IMHO.
    – Joachim
    Commented Jul 10 at 21:46
  • @Joachim This can be viewed as a limitation eg if a method listing all margin overflows incurs more manual work for OP since they have to filter out which overflow is a page margin overflow. Commented Jul 10 at 21:51
  • Sorry, yes, I get your example, I'm just nitpicking about the wording of that list item in your post (i.e. "may cover more cases than what the OP wants") :)
    – Joachim
    Commented Jul 10 at 21:53
  • 1
    @Joachim got it, good point, thanks, agreed the phrasing could be improved. I couldn't think of a concise way to phrase it. Commented Jul 10 at 21:57

2 Answers 2


Limitations do not make an answer incomplete, they only set some bounds and context. I'm guessing that the vast majority of answers involve limitations whether or not they are expressed explicitly, whether they'd be rather common limits to encounter (software solutions that only work past a certain version) or quite uncommon (depending on laws of physics). It's useful to note limitations in an answer when they are likely to be encountered. Similarly, askers should be clear about their needs if they want solutions that work for a particular environment or pass certain computational limits.

If you're asking this question based on a review of your own recent self-answered question, well, self-answers seem to me like they are a special case. If you have a partial answer to your own question then that's important context to the original question and should be provided there. I would not have characterized this as an "answer with limitations" as you have here; I feel it's quite misleading to have done so without pointing out that this was the likely motivation for your question here.

We definitely do not want to encourage people to post their work towards an answer ("research effort") in the answer box rather than in the question body.

  • 2
    Comments explaining question scoping and writing to Franck have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, or in Meta Stack Exchange Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented Jul 10 at 20:03
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    I agree with the first paragraph, but I can't agree with the second. If an answer would be acceptable from another user, it should be acceptable from the asker. Workarounds or suboptimal solutions are still solutions, and it's reasonable to post them, even if you are really hoping that someone has a better one.
    – Ryan M
    Commented Jul 10 at 22:14

An answer simply being a partial answer or an answer to only part of a given question isn't necessarily a slam dunk reason to delete an answer, but under the right circumstances it certainly can be.

I wouldn't fault a reviewer from choosing the "incomplete answer" button on an answer that doesn't completely answer the question... that's what it's for.

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