34 votes

Answers in comments

Option 3: Answers may be made in comments where the question is off-topic but we still wish to help the asker. This seems to be standard practice; we try to be helpful.
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  • 94.6k
21 votes
Accepted

Is Urban Dictionary an acceptable source?

UD is a source that is written by amateurs, and rated by amateurs. I've used it from time to time, but it's best when supplemented with other examples. As for whether or not the UD is an "acceptable"...
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  • 57.9k
20 votes

Answers in comments

Option 6: Partial answers may appear in comments and may be used by anyone who wishes to post a complete answer, with the understanding that mods may still delete the comments at a whim, without ...
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  • 37.6k
18 votes

Is Urban Dictionary an acceptable source?

Urban Dictionary can be a resource for slang phrases that are not in traditional dictionaries. However, it is not at all an authoritative source, since it is mainly an entertainment site. For ...
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  • 73.3k
13 votes

Answers in comments

I hope it will be helpful if I list the main problems with comment answers. Any proposed solution can be evaluated against them to see how it holds up. Someone has helpfully numbered these problems ...
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  • 27.7k
12 votes

Should we discourage the use of argot such as AmE, BrE, ELU, ...?

ELU is for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts -- in other words, specialists. Specialists have their own jargon, and they use it routinely to communicate clearly and ...
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  • 27.7k
9 votes
Accepted

Can a newly constructed word answer a single word request?

A question asking for people to coin a word is out of scope for this site. A coinage in an answer might be in scope, depending on how well-reasoned it is. If the answer is a coinage which follows ...
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  • 27.7k
8 votes
Accepted

If the answer I was going to submit has already been submitted what should I do?

In the big picture, answers that merely repeat existing answers aren't good for EL&U. Intentionally duplicating someone else's answer and relying on a higher site reputation score to poach votes ...
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  • 151k
8 votes

What to do with yes/no questions?

One-word answers are definitely not acceptable. (In fact, the software doesn't even allow them). A question that is formulated in a way that seems to call for a one-word answer may need some ...
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  • 73.3k
8 votes

Answers in comments

I upvoted Andrew Leach's "Option 3" answer, but I wanted to go into more detail about the comment-deletion policy that I think makes the most sense. I think there is a difference between the "...
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  • 73.3k
7 votes
Accepted

Comment(s) or Speculative Answer?

If you've come up with an answer, even a partial answer, it's better as an answer so it can be peer reviewed. If it isn't really even a partial answer, but it would help the asker do more research, ...
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  • 27.7k
7 votes

Should we discourage the use of argot such as AmE, BrE, ELU, ...?

(Don't know what this adds to @MetaEd's excellent answer, but here goes.) I really don't think this is a problem (at least it's never been raised in meta before.) Some background might help to ...
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6 votes

Is Urban Dictionary an acceptable source?

UD is a great source. A quick scan of the definitions give you a reliable definition of the term. Moreover, it also provides variant definitions, and the up/downvotes give you an idea of how many ...
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  • 2,036
6 votes

In relation to answers in the answer section, what is a "complete answer"?

At some point after I had collected several thousand points (I'm not sure how), I suddenly started to get in trouble for writing skimpy answers. Some individuals were not nice when pointing this out ...
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5 votes

Should we compile synonymous answers?

Taking an idea from another answer to make a better answer would be good as Meta-Ed mentioned, but it should also be noted that we disallow exact duplicate answers. While an answer that compiles other ...
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  • 4,481
5 votes

What advice would you offer to a new EL&U user perplexed by the first downvote of an Answer they wrote?

I'm not the downvoter, but I will wager a guess that perhaps they felt that your answer was too brief and didn't provide any background or explanation, particularly when compared with CopperKettle's ...
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  • 58.5k
4 votes

If the answer I was going to submit has already been submitted what should I do?

If your answer is not bringing something new to the table, then you aren't doing anybody any favors by attempting to siphon off some rep. When I see duplicate answers, I will only upvote the one ...
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  • 58.5k
3 votes

What advice would you offer to a new EL&U user perplexed by the first downvote of an Answer they wrote?

I appreciate the sincerity of your question here and of your desire to contribute useful answers to EL&U. As you note in your comment to Hellion's answer the official EL&U guideline for ...
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  • 151k
3 votes

If the answer I was going to submit has already been submitted what should I do?

When I see near identical answers posted, I will leave a comment and direct the answerer to the post that contains the same answer. If the answerer does not edit his or her post, (obviously I wait a ...
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  • 85.4k
3 votes

Should we compile synonymous answers?

If you decide to take an idea from another answer, that’s acceptable as long as you properly credit all work by others that you include in your post. There’s detailed information in the site help ...
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  • 27.7k
3 votes

Answers in comments

Here is one (admittedly contrived, legalistic) argument that can be used to excuse the practice of answering some questions in comments. Suppose that somebody, in good faith, asks a reasonable ...
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  • 6,298
2 votes

In relation to answers in the answer section, what is a "complete answer"?

Sometimes I feel like an alternative answer, that has far more information than a comment war[r]ants, helps a question while not being "the best" answer. I would refrain from voting down a lesser ...
2 votes

Is Urban Dictionary an acceptable source?

I am very interested in the meanings and origins of words and phrases—and yet I think that I've used Urban Dictionary as a reference source in my answers exactly once, in response to the question What ...
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  • 151k
2 votes

Is Urban Dictionary an acceptable source?

Urban Dictionary is like Wikipedia - super cool for certain words or certain kinds of research, but very unreliable and flaky. Some of the definitions are brilliant and witty, others utterly stupid. ...
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1 vote

Is Urban Dictionary an acceptable source?

Although I do not take Urban Dictionary too seriously, it certainly is a great resource for non native speakers, specially when trying to understand slang phrases.
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Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible