Hot answers tagged

27

If you have a good answer to a question that's no longer there, it would be a great pity to leave things as they are, rather than have the benefit of your effort available to be easily found. This is a problem that does come up a fair bit; generally once a good answer to a decent question that was posted appears, the poster should normally do no more than "...


27

When a person in 2017 is looking at an answer that may have been written in 2010 (say), it's not that person's responsibility to try to figure out if the answer might have been correct at some time many years previously. Either the answer is correct right now or it isn't. The correct actions when faced with an incorrect answer are already laid out by ...


26

As noted in our about page (our about page has changed since this was written--it's more useful now, but don't be confused if the following description seems out of place; edited again: the link goes to an archived version of the page as it was when the answer was first written), Cross-Validated is understood, by design, to overlap somewhat with other types ...


26

In short: I think that the bottom-line is that in terms of correlations, there is not a clear effect. It differs per user, and if we would scale the number of equations by the size of the post then actually the post scores become lower for more equations. To see if there are causal effects one might still do some alternative experiments, but the ...


24

Sure. Just quote them and give the source: john.doe@example.com answered my question in a private e-mail, I'm posting his answer below: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut ...


20

Users failing to respond to good answers by accepting one is annoying, there's no doubt of that. I've seen some wonderful answers go unrecognized by the poster of the question and the lack of response (either accepting or explaining why there are outstanding issues that would stand in the way of it) often strikes me as selfishness in the face of an answerer'...


18

I'll frame this more widely in these terms: people here may readily disagree with (a) someone else's upvote or (b) the OP's acceptance of an answer. Clearing (b) out of the way: An OP's acceptance of an answer is their exercise of their privilege. In principle, they are free to accept an answer they find helpful and need pay absolutely no attention to the ...


18

The basic policy is clear enough -- don't answer in comments, answer in answers. Some SE sites are very strict and simply remove anything in comments that looks like an answer. Others run a bit looser. If someone does answer in comments and you expand it into an answer, then as long as you give credit where you rely substantially on someone else's text, ...


18

Votes on this site are highly noisy and so over-analyzing one-offs like this is a waste of energy in my opinion (especially because the criteria for what deserves an up/downvote are completely individual specific). I don't hear you complaining about upvotes on ancient posts that may or may not still be relevant. Just from my own posts, I can see that ...


18

Some users on this site feel compelled to provide input on things they don't understand and this sounds like a more nuanced version of that...Obviously you can vote however you want but, since you asked... If you are sincerely unsure about whether or not the answer is correct, I don't know why you'd upvote it: that adds noise to the system and could mislead ...


18

I come down strongly in favour of providing quick-and-dirty answers, given two conditions: i) the question is not a bad one (in which case, close and/or downvote), and ii) the alternative is giving no feedback of any kind (comments asking for clarification are therefore an exception). As for why Q&D answers are worth providing: Someone out there needs ...


18

Welcome to the site! Expertise is always welcome here, and it's to be expected that many people with such expertise will also use it to develop commercial products. However, it does violate a community norm to link and discuss your product unless there's a good reason to; it tends to come across as spammy. I see that you mentioned it in about half of your ...


17

Like Richard Hardy (above), I think that attempts to answer the question should be done as "answers", not comments. This lets people up- (or down-)vote the proposed solution, provides a place for comments on the proposed solution (vs. the question), and makes the "Unanswered" tab work correctly. Putting answers, even short ones, as comments breaks all of the ...


16

I share many of the reasons for answering questions with the others given here - especially that of keeping sharp. But I'll add an extra one that actually got me started on this site in the first place. I'm not the world's greatest programmer, and found Stack Overflow to be a wonderful resource for answering my questions. I felt it was right to "give ...


16

We sometimes encourage negligent posters to review how the site works and, in particular, to accept good answers if they can. This is a task that high-reputation community members often take on. When you politely address this general behavior it does the site some good. A large number of the requests to accept an answer that I have seen come from people ...


16

One problem with looking at the total number of answers to look at whether a few users answer most questions is it doesn't tell you whether someone is answering questions now. Someone may have a thousand answers but not have answered a question in years. (Yes, this may mean that the "few users" issue is even fewer than you suppose) So I'd look at something ...


16

As someone who knows little about statistics I try to contribute here on Meta to repay what I learn on the main site. Looking only on your newest answer: I did not learn much from it. It is just pointing towards external references, failing to be a self-contained answer. You mention a paper of yours, but do not provide a reference; how should anyone know ...


16

See Etiquette for answering old questions addressed in comments?. I don't think anything changes just because a bounty's at stake. (If someone's really keen to win that bounty they needn't give anything away in comments before they're ready to write an answer.)


16

While the canonical "StackExchange/StackOverflow" approach seems to be to allow downvotes, edits and new answers and hope the new good ones eventually float to the top, I think that in practice the best thing to do is make a new question (if possible, worded to be in as canonical form as possible), and enure it gets at least one decent answer. Then close the ...


15

@whuber's stamina is admirable, but I have to endorse @NickCox's suggestion: You just have to hang in there, contribute answers to questions that don't need clarification (etc.) until you get to 50. The other option is to build the lack of clarity into your answer. Recognize that many askers here don't know enough to use the right terms or include the ...


15

Yes; I also think it's reasonable to ask even if they don't comment—ask them to accept an answer or explain why it doesn't help them. But we do get a lot of users who appear once to ask a question & don't come back again once they get an answer. [@whuber's answer includes caveats I hadn't considered (in fact I haven't noticed such bad behaviour on ...


15

I think there are several (confounding) factors here. The biggest, by far, is the number of views a thread gets. If no one views a given thread, there are obviously no opportunities for people to vote. Moreover, every view isn't necessarily another actual opportunity for people to vote anyway; many of the views may come from the same people (who may have ...


15

I'd agree that there is at best a weak positive correlation. But what is effort? It's not just the effort that went into an individual answer. The effort of following the forum over a few years needs to enter the accounting. So effort is obvious short-term effort $+$ whatever long-term effort is pertinent. Over time on the forum, you learn at least ...


15

I sometimes answer questions and vote to close them at the same time. I don't see any problem with that. What I would do is leave a comment to the OP explaining that the question is off topic and why. I may point them towards another resource (stack overflow, the r-help listserv, our meta thread with software links, etc.) as well. I don't necessarily ...


15

Note that answers should explain why they're correct; they should give the arguments in any references not simply offer a link or reference (even when a question is a request for a reference, it should explain the reason for the recommendation). Very short answers often fail to explain anything and quite a few amount to little more than pointing elsewhere. ...


15

If code is the full answer to a question, then the question is off-topic. When the code illustrates or implements a statistical answer, such as a procedure or algorithm offered in response to a question about statistics or machine learning, then it is almost always warmly welcomed.


14

As well as, or instead of, taking any of the actions @NickCox has discussed, we can flag or vote to close the common questions as duplicates (preferably soon after they're asked), thus ensuring they're linked to a good answer.


14

I've generated graphs that more directly answer your question here. That was over two years ago, but you could update with newer data if you want. Two years ago we were in the middle of the pack. The Math and Mathematica site were more dominated by a smaller number of users, and theoretical computer science is the most even. Also see this question about ...


14

TL;DR - Sometimes, short answers are comprehensive answers. I believe that if a question can be completely answered briefly, then a brief answer is fine. I also believe that the purpose of stats.SE is to provide a long-term repository of statistics$^*$ knowledge. I don't think that there is necessarily any tension between these two points. Sometimes, ...


13

I'll note that the post you point to is (i) not all that long (ii) already well upvoted (including by me; indeed given the active voters and the active meta participants have a big overlap, that's probably true of several people participating in the discussion) so I think you can take the broader community response as positive already. But for my two ...


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