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I wrote a brief answer to this question, and almost immediately got a message attached to the answer, saying

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer: please explain why you're recommending it as a solution. Answers that don't explain anything will be deleted. See Good Subjective, Bad Subjective for more information.

I didn't have the time right then to write a paragraph explaining what sudo does, so rather than have a moderator delete my answer, I deleted it myself. Some twenty minutes later, another equally short and non-explanatory answer appeared and was accepted.

This episode is no big deal to me – it only took me moments to write my answer, and if someone else gets a few points of reputation for answering the question, I couldn't care less. But I am puzzled and curious: The message seems like a canned message. Does the software post such messages automatically, or does some moderator push a button to make it happen? Also, I don't see the relevance of the Good Subjective, Bad Subjective article to a criticism concerning either shortness or lack of explanations. Whatever might be wrong with my answer, subjective is not it!

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Your answer was flagged as being "low quality". In responding to the flag as a moderator, I disagreed that it was low quality (it was correct and on-target), but it did have plenty of room for improvement, so I responded to the flag by attaching the post notification inviting more explanation. The flag was automated. My response was human, but it was from a rather limited set of menu choices. While "subjective" is indeed not the issue at hand, the article linked does have some suggestions about how to improve upon short posts.

In the future, you don't need to think of that as an invitation to delete your post. If you or someone else come back and expand your answer, that is a wonderful thing. If no one does over the course of a few months, we will try to come back and either delete or improve such posts, but there really is a window here, and while you are welcome to improve the post yourself, it isn't all up to you. If you start a good answer, someone else can extend it. If you delete it, it is no longer there for the community to build on.

The language of the standard notification is perhaps more threatening than I'd like it to be, but we moderators can't change it; it's standardized system-wide.

I thought your answer was a great start; I attached the post notification to encourage either you or someone else to improve on it by explaining more.

I'm sorry this situation worked out the way it did. I was trying to send the message "good start, but we'd love to see more here."

  • (The five paragraph response is I suppose my way of trying to make up for responding to the flag on your post with five clicks on varous buttons and menus) – Daniel Jun 18 '12 at 19:56
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    Thanks for the explanation, and the advice as well. – Harald Hanche-Olsen Jun 18 '12 at 20:21
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I would like to make an official post to support brevity in answers. There is nothing wrong with a short answer if it helps the user. In fact, I think concise answers should be preferred. Unnecessarily long answers waste a user's time.

This is standard practice on Stack Overflow, where the most highly voted answers are almost always concise:

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