In response to this question, the following moderator post notice was added:

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

This prompted me to post a question to Meta about why automated responses to short questions should trigger such a message about answers.

As it turns out, this is not something that is automated, but something that is manually applied by a moderator. (And the text of which is questioned here.)

This leaves me asking: Why was this post notice left in response to this question? Are moderators not able to change the text of such messages? (In this case, answer should have been changed to question.) But perhaps more to the point, why was the original question deemed to be too short and, therefore, worthy of this (misleading) post text?

If the question wasn't clear, shouldn't there have been a more relevant comment made, or shouldn't it have been closed as "unclear what you're asking" instead?

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    It is indeed odd that a mod saw this question and applied that post notice rather than closing it for not giving an example sentence of how they want to use the phrase. Jul 5, 2019 at 1:15

1 Answer 1


No, moderators cannot change the text of the notice, although I believe that the Community Management team can if our community decides we prefer another wording. But that’s never per-posting; it’s site-wide.

I added it in the wan hope that it might guide answerers to write a real answer — instead of the typical single-word non-answers devoid of context or reasoning or the least bit of original content that such questions routinely get stuck with.

As this one had already started to attract. Those are not answers because we are not a thesaurus. Answers here are expected to be more substantive than ones which a thesaurus or dictionary alone would provide.

If that is all a question is soliciting, then it should be closed.

  • Strange. I assumed the post notice to be a criticism of the length of the question itself, albeit using incorrect wording. I never would have interpreted it as an instruction to those people answering the question. I may not be representative of the majority, but, if anybody else follows my assumption (in particular the original poster), I'd be surprised if it's taken otherwise. Jul 5, 2019 at 2:14
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    I've used it in the same way before. The message does explicitly say "We're looking for answers..."
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jul 5, 2019 at 6:13
  • @JasonBassford I've got the notice over a year ago. It's certainly not new and it's pretty clearly addressing answers, with hint that the existing answer doesn't suffice.
    – JJJ
    Jul 5, 2019 at 9:44
  • @jjj Exactly. It's addressing answers. Which is what makes it so bizarre being applied to a question, where it sounds like a criticism of the question with the wrong wording. (We're looking for long questions . . .) But I feel as if I'm just repeating myself now. Jul 5, 2019 at 10:44
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    @JasonBassford You're right: it's addressing answers. And it's applied to a question as a general notice to anyone who reads the question and would like to supply an answer. It provides guidance on what that answer should look like. Certainly once a few good answers have been garnered, there's scope to remove it from the question in the hope that other answers will take the hint from prior submissions.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jul 5, 2019 at 12:43

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