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I came across this question and so far the answer with only three letters "Yes" received 50+ upvotes. The answer contains no details, shows no research effort and cites nothing; but it is well received!

In general, is it okay to give an answer a question with only "Yes" or "No" with no further details supporting the conclusion?

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    $\begingroup$ In general, No. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Oct 11 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ @DanielFischer, so what do you say about the well-received answer I mentioned? $\endgroup$ – Zuriel Oct 11 at 21:34
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    $\begingroup$ Presumably it's an exception and not the rule; considering it was from 2013 as well, I imagine standards were lower back then. Personally out of a textbook recommendation sort of post, I would expect at least a little on the merits and failings of the text. Perhaps in comparison to other noteworthy textbooks as well. $\endgroup$ – Eevee Trainer Oct 11 at 21:37
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    $\begingroup$ I don't like it. Although I agree with the answer, to make it a useful answer some reasons should be provided. But, as Eevee Trainer said, times were different then. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Oct 11 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the comments! I was just curious why a few years ago so many people liked the answer. $\endgroup$ – Zuriel Oct 11 at 21:55
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    $\begingroup$ It's a community wiki answer. Anyone who is bothered by how it serves our current community is free to edit it. (Although the accepted answer to that question is already filled with detail and I have to confess the brevity did make me smile.) $\endgroup$ – Matthew Daly Oct 12 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ Older question asking about the same issue: Are answers that have no explanations useful. $\endgroup$ – user1729 Oct 14 at 11:25
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    $\begingroup$ Any thread discussing short answer must have a link to this gem. A single letter answer earning 887 upvotes, 59 downvotes and a bounty! $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 14 at 18:31
  • $\begingroup$ In the concrete example, any Yes or No might in large part be opinion-based anyway $\endgroup$ – Hagen von Eitzen Oct 22 at 21:59
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N‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌o.

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    $\begingroup$ As soon as I saw this question on Hot Meta Posts, I knew someone else had already given this answer. $\endgroup$ – Robert Soupe Oct 18 at 5:46
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    $\begingroup$ Epimenides is making an appearance on math.SE. $\endgroup$ – Cheerful Parsnip Oct 20 at 19:15
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An answer post should contain information that allows, or at least that helps, to validate the point that is made, and lends credibility to the answer. A simple "yes" or "no" does not do this. Therefore, such answers are in general not welcome.

I stress that the information should be in the actual answer; credibility inherited from the prestige of the user providing the answer or from the vote-count are usually not good enough.

For the specific case, one could argue in its favor that it was possibly posted in the spirit of a poll. That said, I think it would have worked better as a comment.

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    $\begingroup$ The same applies to most solution-verification and proof-verification questions. Most answers to such are, IMO, only comments. Particularly when the verification comes out clean. This is actually a serious problem to all such verification questions. Possibly to the extent that we would be better off not allowing them at all. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 14 at 12:45
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    $\begingroup$ @Jyrki Often such PV threads are dupes so if they add no mathematical value to the site they can be closed and deleted. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Oct 22 at 17:07
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I think that many upvotes for a one-word answer says more about Serge Lang's writing than the word itself does.

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Yes, it is OK to give such an answer. It is also OK to downvote that answer. (Or upvote)

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  • $\begingroup$ But the example I gave was mostly upvoted. $\endgroup$ – Zuriel Oct 13 at 18:10
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Quite often, the OP will have come up with a proof of a result and needs to be assured of its correctness. The corresponding question is “Is my proof correct?”. If it is so, then the logically appropriate answer is simply yes.

The reason that no further justification is needed in the answer is that the OP has already provided the justification, in the proof, which she demonstrably understands and believes by virtue of having written it.

Nevertheless, just yes appears meagre. It invites doubt: “Who is this person presuming to arbitrate on the correctness of my proof?”. Unless the answerer can boast a stellar reputation score, some additional remarks to demonstrate the answerer's scrutiny and understanding of the proof would be welcome—for example, comments suggesting some stylistic improvements in the structure of the argument.

If the proof is wrong, then in any case a bald no is quite inadequate: The answerer needs to explain where the crucial mistake lies.

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