When I answer a question, I try to answer so that anyone who might not know about the situation will be able to follow along, even though the OP might think it's overkill.

Questions like What bow should I use to maximize my ranged damage? are hard to answer anyway, and while it might not answer the question specifically, the answer provides enough information to other users to hopefully answer their own queries.

Other questions like How can a 2 handed dagger stun lock a havel monster to death? are far easier to answer and sometimes a simple "Yes, it's legit" would suffice, explaining why is (I believe) important too.

And then there are some questions like Why don't I attack every time I press the LMB? may already have an answer, but other issues may also come into play that weren't originally pointed out. Providing answers like this IMO just make it easier for people to find solutions.

So I'm not really asking if this practice is allowed (basically anything that isn't spam or abuse is), but is it worth it? Should I strive to continue the same service or is it just wasted?

  • 1
    I don't think it's wasted, I learned something new from your minecraft answer (F3 + B combination). If you provide a good extended answer you'll get more upvotes, crappy oneliner answers will get less upvotes.
    – Arperum
    Aug 20, 2014 at 7:17
  • Since I asked one of the questions you referenced (the first one), I would like to point out that my question asked how to optimize a single statistic across a very small range of options. We get these kinds of questions all the time. For example this Minecraft question asks about optimizing armor protection values, and it has a complete answer. Your answer to my question, on the other hand, provides neither the choice among about 7 that optimizes DPS, nor sufficient information to determine it. From my POV, that is not at all useful. Aug 20, 2014 at 23:44
  • If you ever think your answer is overkill just compare it to (gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/178726/…) I think you will realise that you cant go any more overboard and if you have it is probs too far @ben
    – Flaunting
    Aug 21, 2014 at 8:13

1 Answer 1


I've provided a lot of answers, and I've gotten a lot of votes. I tend to prefer to provide relevant context in my answers. I'm also a fan of creating an answer that stands alone and completely explains a particular subject asked about in the question.

As far as whether it's worth it or not, that one's hard to say. I enjoy answering questions, so it's worth it to me. I think it helps me hone my skills as a communicator, and demonstrates my (hopefully infectious) enthusiasm for a subject to others. The system doesn't do a great job of always incenting detailed answers, despite the fact that the goal of the system is to incent great answers to interesting questions.

However, there are a few things I've learned that I can share.

Don't bury the lead. If you know the answer and can answer the question in a single line or a short paragraph, do that first. Then provide context and resources. If you don't, you're going to get a lot of "this doesn't answer the question" comments, even if you think you did. For the "tl;dr" crowd, it's important to establish the answer in the simplest terms possible as early as possible. (Did you see how I did that in this meta? The answer to your question is at the top before I got all wordy. :) Also note that I'm providing headers in bold to each of these so that skimmers can get the benefit of what I'm saying without reading every word.)

Effort invested is not directly proportional to reward. If you're doing this to get upvotes, it's hit or miss. Providing a really detailed answer doesn't earn upvotes by itself. Upvotes are more a factor of how many people look at a question page. I've got a lot of answers where I think I provided a high-quality, complete, well researched answer to a tricky question and gotten far fewer upvotes than on pretty obvious questions where I provided a one-liner. Answers to click-baity questions and to questions for popular games trump well researched answers on obscure or forgotten questions 9 times out of 10.

Watch out for nitpicks. The more detail you provide, the greater the chances you're going to say something that could be controversial or touch on but not completely cover a complex topic. Other people will descend on your answer and point these things out, because people enjoy being right-er on the internet. I've learned to spot these angles before I submit, and either call out that I'm glossing over a topic, or note that I'm using a sweeping generalization due to time/space/topic constraints.

  • 2
    Actually, it's "more correct", not "right-er". :P
    – au revoir
    Aug 20, 2014 at 14:20
  • 5
    @JasonBerkan You are absolutely correct! Thank you so much for pointing out a trivial, meaningless quasi-mistake in my well researched, thoughtful, painstakingly composed answer. You deserve so much credit for being smarter than everyone else involved, you handsome, hilarious, intelligent, perfect human being you! :P (P.S. SHUT UP I AM NOT BITTER.)
    – agent86
    Aug 20, 2014 at 15:56
  • 2
    It was too perfect a setup to ignore...
    – au revoir
    Aug 20, 2014 at 16:09
  • 5
    @JasonBerkan if nobody had nit-picked my answer I was just going to assume you guys had all been eaten by aliens and replaced with body doubles.
    – agent86
    Aug 20, 2014 at 16:26
  • 1
    Took your advice on this one - gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/178124/…
    – Ben
    Aug 20, 2014 at 23:52

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