Is there any way to create an exception for the minimum answer length for questions tagged "single-word request?" It seems wasteful and inconvenient and seems feasible from a coding perspective.
Simply link the word to its dictionary definition. Observe:
Ghoti. — 6 characters.
Ghoti. — 56 characters.
This pushes your answer over the 30-character limit and makes it considerably more helpful, as the OP might not know that word. In fact, that might be the very reason why he's asking for it in the first place. And even if he does recognize it, other/future readers might not.
Edit: the site engine has since been changed such that URLs no longer count towards reaching the character limit. What I recommend now is that you quote the relevant dictionary definitions.
(rare, humorous) Alternative spelling of fish
Of course the link should still be included as well, in fact now even more so than before, because otherwise it's not clear where your quote is from.
There should be no exception to cover such cases. The fact the request is for a single word doesn't mean the answer must be phrased using a single word.
I would expect an answer to a single-word request to describe why the proposed word suits the request.
And at the very least, you can always reply with "The word you are looking for is Goshealm," for example.
4+1 Well said. Answers should definitely be explained--why this word, possibly why not another, examples in context, etc.– simchonaSep 3, 2011 at 21:27
2If the single word is obviously correct based on its definition, then there is no need to explain why it fits. That's what a dictionary is for.– user12549Sep 6, 2011 at 1:34
2@user12549: then it should probably have been closed as general reference, right?– MitchSep 16, 2011 at 21:28
3After merging two questions, I have to rescue this comment of J.R.'s on a now-deleted answer that has been merged into this one: "This is only a personal opinion, but I never cared for answers beginning with 'The word you are looking for is...' Maybe I'm just reading it wrong, but it sounds like someone is announcing that they've solved the riddle, and maybe even that the other suggestions aren't as good. I'd prefer something more along the lines of, 'One word you might consider is Goshealm,' or, 'Golshealm might be the word you're looking for.' – J.R." Oct 12, 2012 at 17:58