Thread: Preferred answer length? Answer reuse value?

  1. #1
    Ticked and off
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    La-la land
    Posts
    1,728

    Preferred answer length? Answer reuse value?

    As you probably know, my answers tend to be long. I call them verbose, others call them unending walls of text.

    I'm not keen on answering to just the person who asked the original question. I write my answers in the hope that others, either interested in the subject, or encountering the same or similar problem, find it useful. This is a major factor making my answers long.

    Do you have an opinion as to what a preferred length of an answer is, in practice? Is a long wall of text a hindrance, even if it contains useful information?

    Certain questions seem to pop up at regular intervals, which might indicate that the Search option on this site is not used as often as it might; perhaps old threads are not read that often.

    (Moderators/webmaster: any statistics on search? Or on how often older threads are read -- especially those not visible by default thread view settings?)

    A devil's advocate might say that this indicates short and to the point answers would be optimal, because longer answers do not reach a wide enough audience to warrant any extended answers; limiting ourselves to the minimal domain defined by the original question would be preferable.
    Opinions?

  2. #2
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Angola
    Posts
    8,445
    Quote Originally Posted by Nominal Animal View Post
    As you probably know, my answers tend to be long. I call them verbose, others call them unending walls of text.
    I always find it offensive and tremendously rude when someone passes judgment, well-intentioned jokes aside, on the length of a post. And I can't avoid thinking poorly of that person as someone who obviously is too thick and devoid of intelligence to understand the value of the written word. In short, a dumb idiot. I also tend to think they are 15 years old and Justin Bieber fans, regardless.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nominal Animal View Post
    Do you have an opinion as to what a preferred length of an answer is, in practice?
    I don't care. If the reading is interesting, I'll read it to the end. I've read entire books that are far worse than many so-called walls of text on internet forums, mailing lists or newsgroups. If the reading isn't interesting, I'll just stop or skip entire sections while thinking no less of the person for having used so many words.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nominal Animal View Post
    (Moderators/webmaster: any statistics on search? Or on how often older threads are read -- especially those not visible by default thread view settings?)
    Who cares! You think too much. Just answer the damn questions.
    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  3. #3
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Angola
    Posts
    8,445
    I love it when people complain about "walls of text" when reading help or support sites like this one, and yet are willing to read 4 pages of useless verborrhea on how awesome the latest Windows 10 is.

    This world is going to end on fire. Good thing is that at the age of 46 I won't be around for much longer to burn with it.
    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  4. #4
    Unregistered User Yarin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    2,158
    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    I also tend to think they are 15 years old and Justin Bieber fans, regardless.
    Pft, we all know you're a secret Belieber.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    Good thing is that at the age of 46 I won't be around for much longer to burn with it.
    Mario, when is that great post you promised coming?

  5. #5
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Angola
    Posts
    8,445
    Quote Originally Posted by Yarin View Post
    Mario, when is that great post you promised coming?
    Laziness to do with anything but work has been getting the best of me for some time. There's nothing great about it, but in any case that's a bit overdue.
    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  6. #6
    Ticked and off
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    La-la land
    Posts
    1,728
    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    This world is going to end on fire. Good thing is that at the age of 46 I won't be around for much longer to burn with it.
    I'm 39. I'd rather not see the world burn, but there is not much we can do about it. Those that see the implications of current and past actions, are a minuscule minority, and their voices are drowned in the sea of eusocial baying of the hordes.

    I really do not want to live on this planet anymore.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yarin View Post
    Pft, we all know you're a secret Belieber.
    That made me threw up a little in my mouth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yarin View Post
    Mario, when is that great post you promised coming?
    Seconded! This is like waiting for snoofle to post another story at thedailywtf.com.

  7. #7
    Lurking whiteflags's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    9,612
    Nominal Animal, are you being bullied again?

    I try to write what I know. If I know a lot, then I write a lot. In my writing I do value conciseness, but not to the extent that I've seen some people go. I would say that if my answers go on for more than a few paragraphs, then I start to wonder if my writing is "tight" enough, and if I'm not just mentally wandering around. Oddly enough, some of my longest posts on here aren't on technical subjects. Maybe I picked the wrong field. I did want to be an author as a kid.

  8. #8
    Registered User MutantJohn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    2,665
    I think the most useless answers on a board like this is posting code that's hard to understand, especially for the person that's trying to be helped.

    Sometimes, Nominal, when I do read your answers and I'm reading them for understanding, the side details sometimes veer me off track but the good thing about that is that I have to stop and ask, "Wait, is this relevant to me directly?" and I guess that might be a good thing because it forces me to *gasp* stop and think about what you said.

    But by that same token, I could see other people just become discouraged and confused. There's probably a happy medium.

    And what's wrong with Justin Bieber?

    Also,
    I'd rather not see the world burn, but there is not much we can do about it. Those that see the implications of current and past actions, are a minuscule minority, and their voices are drowned in the sea of eusocial baying of the hordes.

    I really do not want to live on this planet anymore.
    Yeesh, dramatic enough? This is also a vague statement. You're implying an end-of-the-world scenario but that has different interpretations to different people.

  9. #9
    C++ Witch laserlight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    27,561
    Quote Originally Posted by cboard
    The message you have entered is too short. Please lengthen your message to at least 4 characters.
    I gather that the forum software prefers answers to be at least 4 characters in length...

    Anyway, in the end this is a forum community based around a couple of programming languages, not an answering service. The way I see it, some people might prefer to give replies that are to the point and only answer the question posed as-is, and that's fine. Other people might go off on a tangent and give lots of interesting information that might not be useful to the help seeker at that point, and that's fine too: perhaps it will be useful to someone else, or perhaps the help seeker might change tack and incorporate the new information. Likewise, different people will prefer different approaches to help rendered to them, and that's okay, but they need to remember that this is a community of members free to answer as they will, so they should receive to the extent that they are capable (and if they are truly incapable of receiving all advice, then perhaps this is a wrong forum for the help they are seeking, or in the case of beginners they might simply not be cut out for programming).
    Quote Originally Posted by Bjarne Stroustrup (2000-10-14)
    I get maybe two dozen requests for help with some sort of programming or design problem every day. Most have more sense than to send me hundreds of lines of code. If they do, I ask them to find the smallest example that exhibits the problem and send me that. Mostly, they then find the error themselves. "Finding the smallest program that demonstrates the error" is a powerful debugging tool.
    Look up a C++ Reference and learn How To Ask Questions The Smart Way

  10. #10
    Ticked and off
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    La-la land
    Posts
    1,728
    Quote Originally Posted by whiteflags View Post
    Nominal Animal, are you being bullied again?
    No, it's just a subject I keep coming back to.

    Quote Originally Posted by MutantJohn View Post
    the side details sometimes veer me off track
    I know exactly what you mean. It's a difficult trade-off: keeping to the issues at hand would focus the discussion better, but including the side details may help avoid common mistakes, or even open up ideas on new solution paths. At least that's why I tend to keep most of them. (Not all, though! I do do quite a bit of trimming, usually.)

    Quote Originally Posted by MutantJohn View Post
    Yeesh, dramatic enough?
    Universe 25.

    (It has nothing to do with comics, games, art, or literature. It's actual scientific research. Go look it up for yourself.)

    Quote Originally Posted by laserlight View Post
    I gather that the forum software prefers answers to be at least 4 characters in length...
    Hmm, that means "No." is not a suitable answer.

    Quote Originally Posted by laserlight View Post
    or in the case of beginners they might simply not be cut out for programming
    It's hard to see when the person in question is just trying to exploit others for their own gain, or whether they are really just not cut out for programming. I tend to favour the first option, and suggest they go for a business career or politics instead.

  11. #11
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Angola
    Posts
    8,445
    Quote Originally Posted by Nominal Animal View Post
    It's hard to see when the person in question is just trying to exploit others for their own gain, or whether they are really just not cut out for programming. I tend to favour the first option
    Considering the state of the software industry today, your money should be on the second option.
    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  12. #12
    misoturbutc Hodor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    1,743
    I like your detailed responses, and if the subject interests me I will read the whole post. I just hope your effort is not wasted on the I-do-not-need-to-understand-I-have-google type people. That said, I would expect that (surely) some people don't mind reading detailed responses; maybe not those still using TurboC but they're not the only ones reading the forum

  13. #13
    Registered User Alpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    877
    !(
    Quote Originally Posted by Nominal Animal
    Hmm, that means "No." is not a suitable answer. http://im.cprogramming.com/images/smilies/wink.png
    );

    [/:P]
    WndProc = (2[b] || !(2[b])) ? SufferNobly : TakeArms;

  14. #14
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Angola
    Posts
    8,445
    Of course, I have a few things to say about needlessly long threads.
    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

Popular pages Recent additions subscribe to a feed

Similar Threads

  1. plz answer
    By Radwa in forum C Programming
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 05-12-2013, 02:06 PM
  2. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 08-13-2012, 03:19 AM
  3. Help with comparing answer to math problem and user's answer
    By Jake Garbelotti in forum C Programming
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-20-2012, 10:12 PM
  4. have 5 min to answer
    By juststartedC in forum C Programming
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 10-11-2007, 05:26 PM
  5. Preferred subjective length of TV programs
    By Flarelocke in forum A Brief History of Cprogramming.com
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-19-2001, 04:10 AM