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For questions about answers on the main site. Consider using the accepted-answer tag if the question is about an answer that has been accepted.

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100 votes
4 answers
5k views

Dealing with answers in comments.

I have noticed, of late, people providing answers/copious hints to the question in comments instead of actually adding an answer on their own. Other people might choose not to answer, as the ...
Aryabhata's user avatar
  • 82.6k
78 votes
2 answers
2k views

Does the reputation system encourage easy answers and low quality questions?

First of all, I need to say that I do not intend to start a controversial topic challenging the community. I'm trying to find a solution and understand the nature of MSE better to see whether it's the ...
stressed out's user avatar
  • 8,200
63 votes
4 answers
2k views

Curious about exceptionally timely answers

As an avid lurker, I truly enjoy the expertise offered by this site and I think it is remarkable that most questions have thoughtful, in-depth answers relatively quickly. It really is quite amazing ...
Hayden's user avatar
  • 306
52 votes
4 answers
2k views

Someone with more rep than you is wrong?

What is the correct and polite thing to do when someone who has more than 100 times your reputation has posted an answer you feel is incorrect? Someone who doubles your output per year in one week? ...
bobbym's user avatar
  • 2,556
52 votes
2 answers
1k views

negative comments on trivial answers

I often see questions completely answered in comments. Sometimes these are elaborate comments or even sequences of comments; in that case I suggest to the commenter that they should post their comment ...
joriki's user avatar
  • 239k
51 votes
6 answers
6k views

Are answers that have no explanations useful?

As those of you who have been participants in the integration debates over the last few days (see here, for example) may know, we have been essentially debating over the nature of the content we ...
Ron Gordon's user avatar
  • 139k
51 votes
2 answers
2k views

Editing comments to remove references to gender

This morning I discovered that an old answer of mine to a question about real life application of Linear Algebra had been transformed into a comment. I admit that the answer was not too serious: I ...
Andrea Mori's user avatar
  • 27.2k
50 votes
5 answers
2k views

When should I stop answering to OP

I am pretty new in this community and honestly do not know if this question is too out of place here, please let me know and I will delete it. When I try to give an answer to something that looks ...
caverac's user avatar
  • 19.4k
45 votes
0 answers
1k views

Why does the community seem to encourage technical cleverness over the actual answer to a question?

First post on meta, so here goes nothing. Earlier today, I answered the question linked below: Evaluating $\int_0^1 \frac{3x}{\sqrt{4-3x}} dx$ I believe it is a good question. The user had a ...
The Count's user avatar
  • 3,630
44 votes
1 answer
875 views

Misleading Answers = Poor answers

I have been reading the posts about what defines a poor question, and I am impressed at the level of intensity of feeling in that regard, and rightly so. But there's something on my mind: while we ...
Ron Gordon's user avatar
  • 139k
42 votes
2 answers
2k views

What if askers don't know what they don't know?

I recently answered this question about vector space isomorphisms. The question is somewhat unfocused, but it seems clear to me that this is because the asker is struggling with the concepts involved ...
Sambo's user avatar
  • 6,491
41 votes
1 answer
2k views

My question gets a perfect answer which deserves a bounty (or some kind of recognition). What can I do about it?

This Stack Exchange site is a very welcoming place to all kinds of questions. People usually do their best to help (not like Stack Overflow) and I would like to pay something back to the community. ...
SlowerPhoton's user avatar
40 votes
2 answers
3k views

Joke answer to a joke question?

I came across this question recently. This guy was literally asking what is $1+1$. I knew this was a joke question so I returned the joke by answering $42^{0}+42^{0}$. I thought that this is not ...
AvZ's user avatar
  • 1,701
38 votes
4 answers
2k views

Should we rate limit answerers?

I was reading this post where Jyrki writes: I have come to think that answers that clearly required less than ten minutes of processing from the part of the answerer should be just left unposted. ...
user avatar
38 votes
1 answer
943 views

Statistics on upvoting

Has there recently been statistically less upvoting than usual? I know I should answer questions for the love of it and not care about rep, but I've been sort of discouraged as of late. Out of my ...
Matt's user avatar
  • 7,408
38 votes
2 answers
1k views

Answering "is my approach correct" with a different proof

On this site it is common to see questions where OP asks if their approach or their solution to a problem is correct. Often, people answer these questions by providing their own entirely different ...
Federico Poloni's user avatar
37 votes
8 answers
3k views

Answers composed entirely mechanically, e.g. by computer algebra systems

Some users post many entirely machine-composed answers, e.g. integrals computed by Maple (e.g one user has over 150 such answers). Should such "answers" be CW? Should they be comments? ...
Bill Dubuque's user avatar
34 votes
6 answers
2k views

Downvoting Complete Solutions

I recently had an answer to this homework question downvoted twice because I provided a complete solution. Has a consensus been reached about how to treat homework problems? If not, is this an ...
Austin Mohr's user avatar
  • 25.7k
34 votes
6 answers
869 views

Is it bad to edit your own answer several times?

I often need to edit my answers several times to fix errors or maybe to answer more directly the questions asked. But each time I edit my answer, the post will get a bit higher in the top questions ...
Steffen Plunder's user avatar
34 votes
1 answer
2k views

Someone's answer is completely copied and pasted from my answer, and their answer got accepted.

Someone's answer to a question is completely copied and pasted from my answer (except they didn't use Mathjax), and their answer got accepted. I don't mind, but I just think it's strange behavior, for ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 24.3k
32 votes
7 answers
1k views

Is it acceptable to leave hints as answers?

Question: Is it acceptable to leave a hint as an answer? For the purposes of this question, let me attempt to define a "hint": A hint is a short, generally terse, comment which does not provide ...
Xander Henderson's user avatar
32 votes
0 answers
411 views

modularizing answers

Sometimes in answering a question I need to derive an intermediate result that might be of interest in its own right. It seems to me that in such a case it's best to post a separate question asking ...
joriki's user avatar
  • 239k
31 votes
3 answers
2k views

Can I try to tell experienced users not to answer bad questions?

I have recently started using the website and I am trying to do my best with moderation. I flag questions very often, I edit posts when they can be improved, I have written a few of those "What have ...
Silvia Ghinassi's user avatar
31 votes
1 answer
1k views

Answers in a language other than English

I would appreciate if someone could clarify what the policy and etiquette are about using languages other than English on MSE, or point me to an authoritative resource on the subject. What prompted ...
dxiv's user avatar
  • 76.7k
31 votes
1 answer
1k views

Since when does this site require registration to post answers?

I remember the discussion which led to allowing only registered users to ask questions: Let's require registration to ask a question. (It was marked status-completed in October 2016.) IIRC, ...
Martin Sleziak's user avatar
29 votes
4 answers
2k views

How good is an answer without any explanation? And how far should an explanation go?

Often times I will see hints posted as answers to a question get up voted a lot and sometimes marked as the best answer, but sometimes the answer is not so intuitive, especially to someone ...
Simply Beautiful Art's user avatar
29 votes
1 answer
818 views

If we close "duplicate questions" why do we allow "duplicate answers" on a single question.

I have noticed many folks jumping to answer a single question in the exact same manner. i.e. I ask, "What's two plus two?" (Check out my questions, I'm pretty dumb.) An hour later, Bob answers "4, ...
rocksNwaves's user avatar
28 votes
2 answers
1k views

Length of time to wait before accepting an answer

Is there any established etiquette as far as accepting answers? In particular, if there is a correct answer posted, are there any guidelines for how long one should wait before accepting? Similarly, ...
guy's user avatar
  • 4,390
28 votes
1 answer
1k views

Should I answer exactly what the user ask or solve the problem?

Ref: https://math.stackexchange.com/q/3166216 I am sorry, I am new to Meta, so I don't exactly know the proper formatting rules here. I am having a doubt regarding answering a question which I have ...
Someone's user avatar
  • 2,885
28 votes
1 answer
1k views

Which question on MSE has the most failed attempts?

Half an hour ago, someone posted another answer to the question How does one prove the matrix inequality $\det\left(6(A^3+B^3+C^3)+I_n\right)\ge5^n\det(A^2+B^2+C^2)$? If this answer turns out to be ...
user1551's user avatar
  • 141k
27 votes
4 answers
1k views

Do hints belong in answers or comments?

If the OP doesn't indicate whether they'd prefer a hint, a sketch, or a full answer, and you'd like to leave just a hint, should it be an answer or a comment? Should one option be encouraged? If so, ...
Chris Culter's user avatar
27 votes
1 answer
1k views

How long is too long of an answer?

I recently answered my own question here and decided to lay out most of the mathematical procedure I took to solve the problem. My only concern is that this answer seems very long and I was wondering ...
Gyoo's user avatar
  • 409
26 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why do people answer the question in the comment section?

I am wondering why many answers are posted in the comment section of the question? Why not post as an answer?
C.T.'s user avatar
  • 187
26 votes
2 answers
948 views

Someone edited my answer. Now it is wrong.

There has been an edit to an old answer of mine and it was approved by other two users. Now the answer is wrong, obviously. What should I do? I'm not happy about this at all. How can it be that some ...
azimut's user avatar
  • 23k
26 votes
4 answers
1k views

Treatment of comment-answered questions: what is the current policy as of February 2023?

I have noticed that quite a few questions tend to be answered in the comments. This was apparently observed $12$ years ago to a similar extent. These questions (unsurprisingly) tend to be on the ...
Clyde Kertzer's user avatar
26 votes
2 answers
691 views

What should our goal be in answering questions?

If my search has failed me and this has been covered in some form, let me know and I'll delete this. The post which is motivating my question is this post, where the OP had reduced a problem they are ...
Alex Mathers's user avatar
  • 18.6k
25 votes
2 answers
839 views

Is this an answer only site for people who just started here?

I'm a new user. I don't understand why I can't tell users what is wrong with their work. You can only do that when you have reached reputation=50? I also don't understand anymore what is meant by ...
randomgirl's user avatar
  • 3,257
25 votes
4 answers
1k views

Deduction in rep for downvoting

If I downvote someone's answer with detail in the comment as to why, then why is my reputation deducted ( by -1). I am helping the community. Reputation is hard to earn, and if it's deducted every ...
Shobhit's user avatar
  • 6,922
25 votes
2 answers
932 views

Is sometimes keeping wrong answer reasonable?

My memory might be fooling me, but I believe I have seen comments or discussions an meta regarding this matter. I am unable to find it now, so I will ask about your opinion. If I answer some question ...
Martin Sleziak's user avatar
24 votes
11 answers
1k views

Why do simple answers get more positive feedback?

Consider these answers (vectors, inequality) on one hand and these (Coupon Collector's problem, angles, arithmetic-geometric series sum, and even alternative CRT approach) on the other. Why do ...
Alexey Burdin's user avatar
24 votes
1 answer
469 views

Should I delete my question or answer my question?

I am pretty new to this forum and I was wondering what the proper custom would be in my situation. I posted a question a few days ago and last night, after some fiddling with the problem some more I ...
user2154420's user avatar
  • 1,441
24 votes
3 answers
934 views

Was I right to answer this question this thoroughly?

I'm looking at this question. I gave the answer that was accepted. Please bear in mind that, when I answered this question, it was a different edit. In particular, there were more parts to the ...
Theo Bendit's user avatar
  • 51.6k
24 votes
1 answer
1k views

Found an incorrect yet accepted and upvoted answer

This answer claims that eigenvalues of a matrix are preserved under elementary row operations. It has two upvotes and it is an accepted answer. I came across it while searching related topics on ...
Nothing special's user avatar
23 votes
2 answers
996 views

Common problem: OP deletes question immediately upon receiving answer

I saw a question on this site and solved it and took a very long time to answer it after a lot of typing, and as soon as the asker saw the solution he/she deleted their question immediately. Is this ...
IAmArjunSirStudent's user avatar
23 votes
1 answer
539 views

Could editors please ask before deleting answers.?

I gave about an hour ago a one-line answer to this question, stating that a finitely generated algebra over a field is noetherian, and that a previous answer (by me, among others) had shown that the ...
Georges Elencwajg's user avatar
22 votes
2 answers
2k views

Someone "Copying" your answer after you post it

I was answering this question; after my answer posted, this user edited his/her answer to make it almost identical to mine, but just rearranged the statements $(1)$ and $(2)$ in different order. ...
Ethan's user avatar
  • 5,303
22 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is it acceptable to answer a poor quality question?

I recently came across this question posted by a new user which has no context and shows no effort. I left a comment suggesting the user show their work and add context. I also down voted the question ...
Travis's user avatar
  • 3,396
22 votes
5 answers
1k views

Is it OK to answer a question with a higher level of mathematics than I expect the OP to know?

I saw this post, and I am pretty sure that it comes from a setting of a first year student. I wanted to answer this question by using Galois theory (though an overkill I think its more elegant since ...
Belgi's user avatar
  • 23.2k
22 votes
4 answers
1k views

What do I do if I got two equally good answers for a question that say basically the same thing, and I don't know which one to accept?

Here is the post for context: Is "today is Presidents' Day" a proposition, propositional function, or neither? Both the answers are really great and thorough, and they basically say the ...
blakedylanmusic's user avatar
22 votes
1 answer
1k views

A strange hurry to get an answer

In several months since I have been re-registered, I have observed that some users are in an unusual hurry to receive a response. I was asking myself these days if some users ask a question at an exam ...
Sebastiano's user avatar
  • 7,757

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