7

I just received the moderation privilege and reviewed this new answer to an old thread as not adding anything to the accepted answer, hence, not worth the resurrection.

What stumbles me though is the comment I got from @jules, stating that it is worthwhile to keep such an answer, since it provides a summary of the lengthy and detailled original answer.

Is this view shared by the community? I always had the impression that thorough, backed and deeply insightful answers are what we are after - even (or especially) if that means you have to read a page of text. The accepted answer in particular is well structured and making use of section headers even. It certainly isn't on the too long list for me either.

Note that I do understand the value of a TL;DR in the accepted answer and I would welcome that. I am just not convinced, that having another answer, which is merely a summary of an existing answer, is worthwhile - or is it?

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15

OK, I did read the answers, and I concur with Thomas. If all you're doing is summarizing an existing answer but not adding any new information, I don't consider that added value. Such answers will fall to the bottom of the stack, and nobody will see them anyway. If an answer really needs to be summarized, the place to put that is in the answer itself.

Frankly, I don't have much sympathy for folks who ask for an answer to be clarified, get detailed clarification in the answer, but who then can't be bothered to read the answer because it's longer than a tweet.

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  • sounds like you think that discussed answer should be voted down and delete – gnat Aug 2 '16 at 15:46
  • I didn't really address the answer specifically. Reading the answers didn't change my overall opinion of the "summarization" practice. – Robert Harvey Aug 2 '16 at 15:49
3

I didn't read the existing answers, so I'm going to speak generally.

If a new answer to an old, answered question doesn't add anything new, it's not a good answer. There are times when, after the passage of time, a new answer can be relevant and useful, though. Minimally, each answer should add value to the question, either through a new perspective or by adding (or clarifying) information. Simply rehashing existing answers is not appropriate.

As far as detail, more detail is better. The rule here is that an answer should stand on its own, without requiring the reader to visit links to other places.

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  • That's all nice and well, but kind of misses my point. Let me rephrase it: does an extra TL;DR summary answer add value? It's sort of a clarification, yet it's not adding anything new. So you're saying it's not a good answer, but it still satisfies the minimum for being appropriate. – Frank Aug 2 '16 at 14:17
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    @Frank If an answer just summarizes one or more other answers, then no, it's not adding anything new. That's a definition of a summary: "brief statement or restatement of main points". – Thomas Owens Aug 2 '16 at 14:19
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    @Frank "If a new answer to an old, answered question doesn't add anything new, it's not a good answer." An answer that summarizes another does not add anything new. It is not a good answer. Instead, the summary should be edited into the original answer. – user22815 Aug 8 '16 at 22:31
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    If the original answer is correct, but hard to understand, and one adds a new answer that has a superior presentation, is easier to follow, has clearer structure and makes the information much more accessible, then imho its a good answer even if the content in it isn't really new. You usually can't edit an old question that extensively. But I agree, adding only a tl;dr: answer does not add anything and it should be downvoted. – Polygnome Aug 10 '16 at 21:07

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