As a new user on this site, drawn in by a post on ELU meta, I am surprised to find so many very long answers. This Q is related to "Just the facts, ma'am." OR Reining in answers, but is not a duplicate.

Are long answers truly unavoidable here because of the high opinion content of the answers? Or do they reflect the culture?

  • 1
    Not to be cheeky, but what you consider a long answer? For instance, I'm not a particularly concise person, so most of the answers here seem quite short to me. Welcome to Interpersonal Skills Stack Exchange, by the way!
    – HDE 226868
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 0:48
  • 1
    @HDE 226868 Not to point a finger at you, but your answer to interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/269/… seemed on the long side to me. And yours is one of the shorter answers I've read. My hypothesis is that this site focuses more on politeness than efficiency or efficacy, and telling people how to be polite, especially in the face of persistent people, takes more time than telling them how to be efficient and effective without being ruder than necessary. (But this is the view of someone who signed in a little over an hour ago.)
    – user1760
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 1:07
  • I think your first impressions were right - and I agree with your assessment of my answer there.
    – HDE 226868
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 1:10

3 Answers 3


Welcome to the community!

The culture's not set yet, it's evolving, erm.. baby grooting it's way, covfefeying into existence.

Long and in-depth answers are definitely the best answers for the Stack Exchange model

I for one often have very limited time to read, and normally read the short answers first, and then check out the rest if I'm curious to know more.

I hope some users will choose to write more clear and concise answers catering to people like me.

I don't support incomplete, hastily written ones, even though it may have a lot of words in it.

  • It is harder to write a concise answer here than on ELU, because of the lack of references. A reference with a link on ELU and a brief summary can cover a lot of territory, which must be spelled out here.
    – user1760
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 20:10
  • @ab2 Yeah. It will be a challenge. :)
    – NVZ
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 20:10
  • Well, this is debatable but I am quite convinced myself, @ab2: some of the longest answers in the Stack Exchange network are actually found at EL and U! Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 18:02
  • True, but they are outliers, not the norm.
    – user1760
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 18:04

Well, welcome!

The longer answers are part of a function of the information we expect from every answer. If your answer to a question is "Climb up a Hill, and then roll down the hill" - that's not good enough.

You need to explain a few things:

  • Why your answer works
  • How you know this answer works (your evidence to support it, such as similar prior experiences)

Some answers may want to include cultural or societal background for the reasoning of their answers, others will specify the exceptions in when and when not to do what is described in the answer... and so on.

Since most answers are covering a lot, there will be a lot of text. It's part of our efforts to ensure a high quality site. There have been a few questions on meta that you may find helpful:

  • 5
    See? Even this answer gets long.
    – User 27
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 1:42
  • @WitanapDanu Hahaha...
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 1:50
  • Notice I'm living in the glass house across the street. My answer to you volunteer question wasn't exactly terse.
    – User 27
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 1:52
  • 2
    Yes, while I really love answers backed by experience (I love stories!!!) and research (sometimes...), I do hope that they get properly formatted and punctuated, and have proper line breaks. I can't stand long paragraphs too much!
    – Vylix
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 14:02
  • 2
    @Vylix Haha same! I can't deal with walls of text flooding our answers :P
    – Zizouz212
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 17:37

The content of the site pretty much dictates what kinds of answers you find here. Social relations are complex and nuanced, and the kinds of dilemmas that people present here don't lend themselves to simple, short, "factual" answers.

In fact, the answers here often seem to me to be too short and breezy.

To each his own, I guess.

  • I like your answer and it's the only answer which I read on this page because your answer is short and to the point. Sometimes it is not necessary to use many words. And I think if something can be said in few words then don't use many words - it just takes longer to read it but brings no advantage.
    – user8838
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 4:12

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