20

Every single person has his or her own style of writing, however, every now and then you run into an (mostly) answer with issues beyond styling. The poster seems to have a completely wrong concept in mind on how to answer a question. His or her personal live passes by, mother in law, cat , dog and who knows what.

However,

Somewhere in the story, an answer is hidden as an easter egg, sometimes even an appropriate answer, but you have to be desperate to take the effort to find it. Editing would simply reduce the story by 90%, which could be considered to be a lack of respect. In most cases, I skip, leaving the decision to someone else.

What is the general idea on what to do with this kind of posts?

  • 8
    Any examples at hand? I generally find stories in questions, very rarely in case of answers.. – Aditya Apr 20 '14 at 21:28
  • @Aditya I'll try to look it up, problem is that skipped posts are not listed. I had an answer that outsized my screen, with actually an answer in it. – Jacob Vlijm Apr 20 '14 at 21:30
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    No problem, just ping me whenever you come across such a post... Obviously edit it, I would look at the revision.. :-) – Aditya Apr 20 '14 at 21:33
  • Without an example this can hardly be answered. More information is generally better than less information if the information is relevant. – don.joey Apr 21 '14 at 9:09
  • Not really long but long-winded: askubuntu.com/a/452341/117103, does that match what you meant? – guntbert Apr 21 '14 at 19:33
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    @guntbert This is a brillant one! everytime you think: aha, this information is leading to the solution, but no, wait... This answer could take two lines. It could be worse however. Up to the cable "clue", his verbosity could be explained as illustrative to his struggle (although inappropriate in a Q&A situation). I searched today to find my ultimate example I faced a few weeks ago. It was really totally irrelevant, the man simply wanted to tell his story. The answer came as a bonus for those who did not give up on the way. – Jacob Vlijm Apr 21 '14 at 19:51
  • Nice example! I would then ask.. Why did you tryd changing cable and then would need whole story :) He is learning presentation skills with real life examples. Thats atorytelling or advertisment tacktics. And you can believe or not but its true. I went myself and you can do yourself too- theres a thing called Toastmasters globally where you travel learn presenting to each other on any topic. Its quite interesting if you know what i mean. :D – Kangarooo Apr 21 '14 at 22:24
  • The last paragraph of this one (if it is not edited yet) is a nice example (apart from the formatting issues): askubuntu.com/questions/459133/my-installation-doesnt-work. I actually cancelled editing. – Jacob Vlijm May 1 '14 at 20:11
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Trim them down. Ask Ubuntu (and Stack Exchange) wants questions and answers without distractions. Like a FAQ. If you see too much noise unrelated to the solution of the question, just remove it.

10

The danger with answering an abstract issue like this is it gives (or revokes) a licence to butcher verbose posts regardless of actual quality.

A post can be both long and clear and the best possible post often isn't the shortest or most direct. A great post will spend time explaining itself. But if you feel the core answer is lost, rearranging can often fix it without losing detail.

But if you focus on clarity, you'll probably be doing the right thing.

  • I totally agree! I definitely intend to respect the poster. In the example I have in mind though, the poster gave "his" computer history from the past 20 years, explaining why he took what decision, which was totally irrelevant to the answer he did give between the lines. I felt I needed to "butcher" it to make it readable, but thought the poster would probaly not recognize it if I did. – Jacob Vlijm Apr 20 '14 at 21:44
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    @JacobVlijm the keyword here is "irrelevant". If it's relevant and clear then it's meant to stay. – Braiam Apr 20 '14 at 23:10
  • Sometime package can be broken on irrelevant package dependecy. FTW. Like for example world is wide and round if you look from different places. From cosmos its not wide but round. Here needed is just precise exact package or answer relative to question and not the whole world. :D – Kangarooo Apr 21 '14 at 22:27

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