My question is about the accepted answer to this question Former manager is asking for documentation I prepared as his employee.

Personally, I think there is a better answer given by IdrinkAndIknowThings, but that being said I still voted for it, liked it personally, and do not see it as wrong with it. Others had a different view so it got me thinking.

Am I missing something with the accepted answer? Sometimes, isn't short and sweet also correct and acceptable?

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    It could do with a better explanation, but that's Kilisi's style, short and to the point. Gnat is right pointing out that it doesn't really shed much light on why you should do what Kilisi says, however I don't think the answer would be deleted anytime soon. Question to you, why do you think people find something wrong with the answer? Did it hit a review queue? – Draken Sep 1 '17 at 13:15
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    Askers don't always tag the 'correct' answers. Heck, some askers aren't even interested in the answers, they type for the sheer love of hearing themselves type. Some askers confuse popularity with correctness, so just tag the top answer regardless of whether they agree (or have even read) it. – user44108 Sep 1 '17 at 13:49
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    @Pete That is sad and probably true. I vote for the best answer IMHO, I don't care how many votes it has. ( whether on mine or other questions ) – Neo Sep 1 '17 at 13:51
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    @Draken My problem with gnat's comments was not that he wasn't correct in the general case, but that he seemed to be petitioning for the deletion of that particular answer, when that was unwarranted. – called2voyage Sep 1 '17 at 16:09
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    I sure hope that an answer with over 100 votes would not get deleted. That seems a bit cray cray to me.... – Neo Sep 1 '17 at 16:12
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    I think Gnat has a point in general, but not in this case. My one liners are made for emphasis and because I'm not into fluff that detracts from the only correct path. However I'm fine with the answer being deleted if the mods want to. I have already assisted the OP and that's what I'm here for. – Kilisi Mod Sep 1 '17 at 17:44
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    @called2voyage my problem with your comment here is it's a blatant lie. Here is what I wrote and moderators (who can see deleted comments) can confirm that: "Consider editing it into a better shape, to meet How to Answer guidelines" – gnat Sep 1 '17 at 22:34
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    @gnat It is not a blatant lie. I said seemed to be. That was the impression I got. I'm sorry if I was wrong. Tell me this. If he hadn't edited it, would you think it worthy of deletion? I would not. – called2voyage Sep 1 '17 at 22:36
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    @Draken yes, originally some user flagged it as "too short", which triggered the discussion why should it be closed, given it gave a good advice but could be more elaborated. – DarkCygnus Mod Sep 2 '17 at 0:22
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    If we really want a complete answers that would be "politely refer him to your manager, he is the one that own the project now". I don't see anything else that need to be said. – Walfrat Sep 5 '17 at 7:15
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    @Walfrat - Yeah that explains why... It is possible to do it in a single line.... guess the OP was just being lazy or intentionally faunting his ability to get away with breaking the rules. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Sep 6 '17 at 21:07
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    since discussed post has recently got mod notice you may want to reconsider which answer to accept here – gnat Sep 11 '17 at 6:28
  • sure, my comment was only a heads up (it isn't very important anyway, "a fine social contract":) – gnat Sep 11 '17 at 17:15
  • @gnat I see, thanks! – Neo Sep 11 '17 at 17:16

What is wrong with the answer to this question?

Nothing. The solution was axiomatic, any addition to the answer was unnecessary. There were no pro's and multiple cons many of them already listed by the OP.

Any complaints about the answer were solely made for the sake of complaining and the main reason given was so weak as to be unworthy of attention.

In general though a longer answer outlining the reasoning would be preferable. In this case it would basically have been reiteration of the OP's reasoning and therefore just detracted from the answers impact for no gain.

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    Comments removed. That's quite enough sniping and bickering. – Monica Cellio Sep 10 '17 at 21:59

In short, Answers need supporting explanation, not just one-liners.

From the Help Center (emphasis mine):

Read the question carefully. What, specifically, is the question asking for? Make sure your answer provides that – or a viable alternative. The answer can be “don’t do that”, but it should also include “try this instead”. Any answer that gets the asker going in the right direction is helpful, but do try to mention any limitations, assumptions or simplifications in your answer. Brevity is acceptable, but fuller explanations are better.

And from our Back it Up Guideline here and here:

Please note that answers should be backed up either with a reference, or experiences that happened to you personally. You should always include in your answer information about why you think your answer is correct.

One (now deleted) comment on Kilisi's post got a lot of attention:

since meta comments under the answer were cleaned up, here is my copy of comment you referred: 'without an explanation, this answer may become useless in case if someone else posts an opposite opinion. For example, if someone posts a claim like "Don't refer him to your manager. Much positive is in this for you.", how would this answer help reader to pick of two opposing opinions? Consider editing it into a better shape, to meet How to Answer guidelines' (and this is example screen shot I also referred in there) - gnat

The reversal is a little forced IMO - a better counter is probably "Go ahead and send it to him. You have nothing to lose." In any case, his point still remains. If someone else came and posted a contradictory answer, there would be no way for users to reason which answer is better. The argument is always made that the votes will decide for you, but that doesn't help if not many people vote, or if the answers are controversial and both garner similar number of votes.

This site shouldn't be just about answering single questions, but also about giving users a better understanding of how to approach future scenarios. Another user may come along and have a similar but slightly different situation. With no explanation, they can't really understand why one answer is better than another and know how to apply that reasoning to their own situation. Then, they will ask their own question and have it closed as a duplicate because it was already asked and answered, just not in a way that is useful to anyone else.

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    In general I agree, and this answer get's a vote. I still think that there are some cases ( few I grant you ) where a short answer, even a one line answer, works. – Neo Sep 1 '17 at 15:19
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    "If someone else came and posted a contradictory answer, there would be no way for users to reason which answer is better." I strongly disagree on that point. As I argued in the comments on Kilisi's post before they were deleted, in this specific case the reasoning was already embedded in the OP. – called2voyage Sep 1 '17 at 16:11
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    So, regarding the "too short" flag, how should it have been handled? Mark as Ok but encourage the author even though he may not explain further? Or vote to close, even it has several upvotes? (Although the votes do not except it from being noticeably short) – DarkCygnus Mod Sep 1 '17 at 17:58
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    @GrayCygnus In my mind this answer is clearly an acceptable edge case. – Neo Sep 1 '17 at 18:50
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    A good summary of why we prefer seeing long answers. An answer that said exactly what Kilisi said but that actually went into detail on why that's the right course of action would be excellent. It's interesting how none of the other answers actually do that. That being said, since Kilisi gives a clear answer and a minimal explanation of why that's the right call, even if it's just two short sentences, for me this doesn't seem to meet the requirements for a VLQ flag and certainly not an NAA flag. It's so easy it arguably doesn't deserve the top spot on that question but that's HNQ for you. – Lilienthal Mod Sep 2 '17 at 21:10
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    @gnat Hah. I didn't actually, it just put me over the 600 character limit so I took it out. But that's indeed it: "you have nothing to gain" with an implied "you have a lot to lose" does seem like at least a minimal explanation. It could certainly do with more detail but I guess it was enough for the OP to work out his course of action. – Lilienthal Mod Sep 3 '17 at 16:12
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    @Lilienthal given your reference to answer being accepted I think you may be interested in how Stack Exchange founder evaluated it here: "accepted answers are a fine social contract, but not a good data point for question or answer quality..." – gnat Sep 3 '17 at 19:14
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    @Lilienthal - It is dissappointing to see a mod accepting of an answer like this. One of the reasons we voted for you guys was when we asked the questions about this type of answer was that you said it was not acceptable. Popular answers do not make good answers. Answer that are not well explained are not helpful to anyone. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Sep 5 '17 at 16:31
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    @IDrinkandIKnowThings I'm not sure why you think I'm "accepting" of the answer in question. I maintain that, in my mind, it doesn't meet the very strict criteria for the NAA and VLQ flags. I also think it's an answer of limited usefulness that could be much improved with a lot more detail. A moderator is an exception handler and not an arbiter of correctness. If you think the answer is not helpful you should downvote it. Since it only got 5 downvotes so far I think it's safe to assume that the majority opinion at least condones it. – Lilienthal Mod Sep 5 '17 at 20:50
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    your reliance on majority opinion makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable @Lilienthal. Consider giving a read to The Trouble With Popularity, "it's too addictive and too easy, and in the absence of any moderation, the community would do nothing but add and upvote the easy, fun stuff. This is why community moderators have real power; they need that power to intervene, educate, and refocus the community's exuberance on more substantive content..." – gnat Sep 5 '17 at 21:41
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    I'm not sure why you're both coming after me so hard on this. As far as I'm concerned a mod should keep the community opinion in mind when taking action and avoid making overly subjective judgement calls like this here. If I had actually removed the well-received answer I would be dealing with a dozen people rightly complaining about mod overreach. Whatever I answered on the election questionnaire would be an abstract view of my stance on NAA/VLQ and the typical disclaimer there is that each situation is different and should be handled independently. – Lilienthal Mod Sep 6 '17 at 7:02
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    I have explained my opinion on this answer at length and while you are free to disagree with me, I am done defending myself for it. If you have an issue with the actions of the moderator team then I encourage you to raise those in a more constructive manner. – Lilienthal Mod Sep 6 '17 at 7:02
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    @gnat I assure you I'm not mixing anything up. I'm referring to the downvote count, the comments on this meta and the positive vote count before the question hit HNQ. If anything you seem to be confusing your personal opinion with "this is what the community should think". If you're done implying that I'm incompetent or out of sync with SE values by linking things I may find "interesting", perhaps consider that we simply have different opinions and that we abandoned any semblance of a constructive discussion several days ago. – Lilienthal Mod Sep 6 '17 at 11:52
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    @IDrink it's a pity nobody thought of a post notice early on. The first flag pointing out its brevity came on Sep 4 when the damage had already been done. I first saw the answer yesterday (holiday weekend here). Before you cast aspersions on how the mod team has "failed" the community, try to consider other factors including what the community itself can do. Why does such a bad answer have only five downvotes? Where was the constructive discussion about improving it? Why did it pass the low-quality review? Did people try to fix it or just complain deep in meta comments that few will see? – Monica Cellio Sep 6 '17 at 16:18
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    @MonicaCellio - Why bother flagging these, they just get declined, I have 8 declines from last week alone on comments that were either removed or changed by mods. Mods are supposed to step in when something like this is broken. Yes we know that the community would allow this to turn into a discussion forum on their own. We need the mods to step up and take action to prevent this. The community follows your lead, not ours. If the mods say no this is not OK the community will back that. But silence is consent to the masses. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Sep 6 '17 at 16:23

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