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Questions tagged [answers]

This tag is for questions about answers: how to answer, whether specific answers are appropriate, and so forth.

1302
votes
50answers
38k views

Fastest Gun in the West Problem

I feel like there's a problem with Stack Overflow, as the number of people prowling it increases. Each question's answers are sorted by descending score and then by descending time of posting. This ...
966
votes
1answer
393k views

How does accepting an answer work?

How does accepting an answer work? When should I do it? Why can't I accept my own answers right away? Which answer should I accept? For more information, see "What should I do when someone answers ...
283
votes
37answers
8k views

How do we encourage edits to obsolete/out of date answers?

As the network ages and we have answers that are 7+ years old, we run into situations where changes in technology, etc. result in a once great answer becoming out-of-date, obsolete, or somewhat ...
238
votes
9answers
4k views

Mark answer as favorite/star [duplicate]

Often times I am not interested in the question so much as I am the answer. Unfortunately, the only site option for bookmarking an optimal answer is to bookmark the question. This leaves you having to ...
161
votes
5answers
26k views

Etiquette for answering your own question

Often you have a question, you can't find the answer on Stack Overflow so you search for it (or think a bit more). Having found the answer you'd like to keep a record so you can find it again later. ...
153
votes
3answers
2k views

Subscribing to questions and comments that don't belong to you

There has been some discussion about getting notified on comments to questions or answers that don't belong to you, and the long-standing wish to be able to keep track of new answers or developments ...
149
votes
19answers
5k views

Accepting answer without upvoting?

Is there ever a case where you would want to accept an answer, but not upvote it? I can't think of a single situation where this would be the case.. So would it not make sense to have the "Accept" ...
146
votes
12answers
6k views

Is “Don't do it” a valid answer?

If someone asks how to do XYZ, and you think doing XYZ at all is a Bad Idea™, is it valid to post an answer saying so? You aren't answering the question, but instead, arguing the question's validity. ...
131
votes
13answers
12k views

Limits for self-promotion in answers

It's been covered before that posting links to your own website is ok, but should there be a line drawn? There were several spam flags today for Ira Baxter's recent posts, presumably because they all ...
126
votes
10answers
6k views

Why do some people answer in comments?

Why do some people post comments that are actually answers to the question? Wouldn't posting an answer be better?
104
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the official etiquette on answering a question twice?

When is it okay to post two answers to one question?
100
votes
14answers
3k views

Is it okay to copy-paste answers from other questions?

This one leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, but I defer to others as to whether it is appropriate or not. In this question, I wrote an answer to a question based on my experiences; it was upvoted ...
99
votes
7answers
691 views

Notify us when the question has been edited after posting an answer

Consider this situation. I post a legitimate and correct answer to a question and receive a few upvotes. Then the OP realizes that's not what they wanted to ask, and significantly rewrites the ...
98
votes
2answers
3k views

How was this answer posted after this question was closed?

Question: lot of .exe folders are created on my windows7 Answer: try that... The question was closed at 11:57:57 (according to the hover-over-"x-mins-ago" bar) and the answer was posted at 12:16:35. ...
98
votes
6answers
1k views

Allow author of accepted answer to delete it in certain circumstances

I made a mistake today. I answered a question incorrectly. (A C# question, no less. My head is truly hanging in shame.) Unfortunately, by the time this was pointed out, the answer had already been ...
96
votes
15answers
3k views

Closing Etiquette: Why Do Some Answer *and* Close?

I've noticed quite a few cases (here's a recent one) where people not only vote to close a question, but then also answer said question. At best this is just silly, and at worst it is totally ...
89
votes
6answers
556 views

Display the original question beneath the answer edit form

Often when I edit one of my answers, it's because I want to better address the original question. The only problem is that I can't see the original question while I'm editing my answer! I'd love to ...
87
votes
7answers
2k views

Is there any way to favorite/bookmark an answer?

Lots of questions are very generic, "share an experience" kinds of questions. In these cases, I am quite often interested in specific answers that may not have gotten that many upvotes. These ...
79
votes
11answers
3k views

Is It Time for a Duel System on Stack Overflow?

I was thinking over the weekend if there was a way to "correct" answers that were hastily marked as correct, or otherwise just plain wrong. It then occurred to me that time can also invalidate "...
79
votes
12answers
4k views

Do you delete your own answer when it's a duplicate?

When I post an answer to a brand new question I usually find that someone else has submitted that same answer just moments before. (Matt Hamilton, usually ;-) ) What I've started to do lately is (I ...
77
votes
1answer
5k views

What is an acceptable answer?

I answered a question and my answer was: (pick one) Deleted Converted to a comment Added to my question as an edit Why was this? Why was my answer not acceptable? What is the definition of an ...
76
votes
14answers
878 views

Do you ever not upvote a question that you answer?

Whenever I submit an answer (a real answer, not some @someone comment) I upvote the question. I generally do this because if the question is good enough to take time to answer it, it's good enough to ...
75
votes
8answers
3k views

Life isn't fair [duplicate]

Recently I answered two questions on SO: The first is a completely trivial answer to a really basic question (kind of "read the manual and follow the one liner example there"). On the other hand, my ...
74
votes
7answers
2k views

Should one downvote answers to off-topic questions?

It annoys me when people post answers to obviously off-topic questions like this one, especially after those questions have already received several close votes. Migrations seem to happen rather ...
73
votes
5answers
28k views

How do I write a good answer to a question?

Are there guidelines for what constitutes a good answer? Let's discuss. Perhaps, we can come up with some ideas for the FAQ. Building off Should the official FAQ include information on how to ...
73
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I properly use the “Not an Answer” flag?

What is the "Not an Answer" flag and what is its purpose? When should I use this flag? When should I not use this flag? But I'm still not sure if I'm using the flag correctly... An answer is "Not an ...
73
votes
2answers
794 views

Notify question OP (and those who marked it a favourite) if an answer has been modified

Seriously, I had not noticed e.g. Jeff's edit here had he not also retagged my question.
70
votes
8answers
2k views

How to deal with obsolete answers?

I was thinking about this issue from time to time but I didn't know whether it really exists or just an speculation on my side until today when I woke up [!], I saw a very old answer of mine which was ...
65
votes
4answers
997 views

Should moderators be able to convert answers into comments?

Example of where it would be useful Another example Clearly, that was the result of an inexperienced user. If a question gets a bunch of replies, then the "comment" could easily get lost in the ...
64
votes
4answers
4k views

Should I flag answers which contain only a link as “not an answer”? [duplicate]

More than often I get a lot of itch when I see an answer which contains only a link. For example this one. Check this link, it will solve your query.. http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/...
60
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there any benefit to allowing code-only answers while blocking code-only questions? [closed]

There have been several discussions regarding code-only answers (answers that contain only code blocks with no textual explanation whatsoever): Down Vote "code only" answers? Explaining ...
59
votes
15answers
858 views

Is accepting an answer discouraging more answers?

Sometimes I read a question that has an accepted answer, and I feel I won't add any value if I answer. Should one wait to accept an answer in order not to discourage a potentially better answer?
59
votes
8answers
1k views

Bring back the 'oldest' sort order for answers

Please bring back the oldest sort order for answers, I think we can deal with four different types of sort order. It's helpful if you don't want to have to tool-tip every post to see which got posted ...
57
votes
13answers
3k views

Why do some people only post answers, and not questions?

Why do some people not ask questions on SO? If it is only for reputation (which basically boosts their CV), they could instead do some investigations in spheres that interest them. So what's the point ...
57
votes
11answers
2k views

Questions with lots of “Thank you” answers

"Thank you" answers are generally not very useful, especially if they appear in masses. Some questions are attracting especially many of them and should probably be cleaned up by a moderator. A data-...
55
votes
7answers
2k views

Accept Multiple Answers or Split Bounty among Several Users

Often more than one person contributes to the community coming up with the final accepted answer to a question. However, it is only possible to accept a single answer. Restricting to one final answer ...
54
votes
4answers
679 views

Notification when my answer is unaccepted?

I just lost some reputation, presumably because someone changed their selected answer from mine to someone else's. Can these losses of reputation be noted on my reputation page similar to the other ...
51
votes
11answers
3k views

How do I mention my own products in answers? [duplicate]

Twice now I've seen questions on Stack Overflow where one of my company's products might provide an answer to the question. One was a slightly vague connection about object-relational mapping, but ...
51
votes
6answers
806 views

Please take care when flagging answers as “low quality.”

When flagging an answer as "low quality" you see some explanatory text that reads: This answer has serious formatting or content issues and might not be salvageable. An effort should be made to ...
51
votes
2answers
1k views

Flag Answer, duplicate

When flagging an answer there doesn't seem to be an option for duplicates. Is there an etiquette for this, or nothing in place? If there is nothing in place can I suggest a flag as duplicate option. ...
51
votes
1answer
503 views

Answer button vs. answering directly

Until yesterday, when looking at a question on SO, the answer area looked like this: But today I was mildly confused that now there is a button instead which prevents me from directly answering the ...
50
votes
3answers
404 views

Add an alert when answering a question that has at least a close vote as duplicate

I have one feature-request with the objective of having duplicate questions with no answers: To (try to) avoid people answering duplicate questions, add an alert that says the question has a probable ...
49
votes
15answers
1k views

How to give some boost to some really good answers that arrive late?

It happens sometimes to receive or see a very good answer that arrives very late and that would deserve more upvotes. What can be done to give a boost to them? I would happily spend some of my ...
47
votes
11answers
863 views

Convert non-answers into new questions?

We see a lot of occasions where a new user posts an answer when in fact they should be asking a question; for example here or here. Given that: we want to make life as comfortable as possible for ...
45
votes
7answers
990 views

An elegant solution for “answer-stealing” edits?

I have noticed several times that when answering a question, someone who wrote an earlier answer will edit their answer by adding the content of my answer to theirs (as an alternate solution, or to ...
45
votes
5answers
10k views

Answer or comment: what's the etiquette?

I very often see comments about a question posted as answers, e.g., "format it this way" or "why don't you post it over here". I think this practice clogs up the answers and the comment feature is ...
44
votes
9answers
8k views

How can I get answers fast?

How do I ask a question so that it can get a quick response? I see some of the questions are very old and still not answered, but some others get a very quick response. Return to FAQ index
43
votes
12answers
2k views

What has happened to the sorting of answers on Stack Overflow? [duplicate]

Has the sorting of answers on Stack Overflow been changed? Because I've realised that the answers aren't sorted by Votes -> Time anymore, and they are sorted in a different way. It appears the ...
43
votes
2answers
558 views

30 answers ought to be enough for anybody

There is one mechanism currently that discourages too many answers on one question, and that is the autocommunitywikification after 30 (on some sites only 15) answers. This is an ugly and ineffective ...
42
votes
5answers
35k views

Explaining entirely code-based answers [closed]

I see a lot of answers where a user just provides the code that accomplishes what the asker wanted. I don't think this is really the purpose of Stack Overflow, because people come here to become ...