I was wondering in what circumstances are short final answers allowed. There are some case where I am left astonished of how such answers follow MSE's guidelines.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Well, it is precisely these type of answers which one should avoid posting. They are not really useful (compare with answers at end of math texts in school). $\endgroup$
    – Paramanand Singh Mod
    Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 17:38
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ Don't forget one of the shortest answers ever given at MSE: math.stackexchange.com/questions/74347/… $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ @BarryCipra Oh man how have I never seen this one before? That's incredible LOL. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 19:01
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ It's worth noting that all of the answers you link (and indeed all of that user's activity) are rather old - nothing newer than 2015. How guidelines are interpreted and applied can change over time, and what was once acceptable in the past may not be acceptable currently. (Not to say that there was universal acclaim for this user's contributions in the past - there are a fair number of comments on those answers asking for a bit more explanation, and many have a fair number of downvotes indicating some measure of disapproval.) $\endgroup$
    – KReiser
    Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 20:18
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Related $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 20:27
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ We have no concrete policy on answer length. Answers should be long enough to be useful, ideally self-contained. The feedback mechanism is the upvoting and downvoting from the community. There have certainly been many well-regarded very short answers, and many poorly-regarded short answers (and similarly for long answers). $\endgroup$
    – davidlowryduda Mod
    Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 20:39
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ One rule of thumb is if an answer is violating the Enforcement of Quality Standards, then it is best to flag it for that reason, and perhaps downvote the answer. Again, as earlier comments indicate, posts before 20015, even 2018, (KReiser, Paramand Singh), were posted when their was ambiguity it what was expected from answerers, but are not currently acceptable. Pay attention to dates of answers. Currently, as I suggested, use the link to determine the legitimacy of an answer. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Commented Jun 16, 2021 at 22:41

1 Answer 1


Generally answers should be "useful" and answer the question as asked. If the final result does answer the question as asked yet not as intended this is a problem with the question.

If a question asks for a derivation and the answer does not give one "it is not an answer" and can be flagged as such.

If however a final answer does answer the question as asked it is in principle fine as answer. If it is "useful" can then be a matter of opinion and expressed by votes.

  • $\begingroup$ What about this answer and this? $\endgroup$
    – user730361
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 11:18

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .