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I saw that part of the answers reported in the "low quality posts" are answers that report a command line code, or snippets for a bash script, and some of those answers are up-voted from more than two users, and something they are accepted.

While I understand that the quality of an answer doesn't depend from the number of up-votes it receive, I also think that the community already decided that those answers are acceptable. (Differently, I imagine the community would have voted such questions into oblivion.) The "low quality" algorithm should probably consider that, or the "low quality posts" tab should not show those posts that match some criteria, such as:

  • the post has not been edited in the last X days
  • the post has not been down-voted in the last X days
  • the post has been seen X times

While those criteria could generally apply for any post that is shown in the "low quality posts" tab, I think that with answers containing just code there is few that can be done.

  • I cannot add an explanation about why the code works, as I would add something the author of the answer didn't write.
  • Adding a simple sentence, such as "You can try the following." doesn't make sense, as it is not actually adding anything useful to the answer.
  • Down-voting an answer simply because it contains just code doesn't seem the right thing to do; it could be down-voted if the answer is not correct, but that is what could be done in any case, when an answer is wrong.
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    I disagree that such posts are acceptable. You can almost always explain to the OP what he did wrong and how he can avoid it in the future. Furthermore, you can point him to resources where he can look up the required information in the future. So no, it is a low quality post – Ivo Flipse Mar 3 '12 at 17:29
  • I didn't say that such posts are acceptable, and I agree that an answer explaining the code is much preferable. I personally explain the code I am writing, when I answer on Drupal Answers. What I wrote is what I noticed: Those post are not being down-voted, nor did the OP add an explanation after a comment suggested doing so. – kiamlaluno Mar 3 '12 at 17:41
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We should be doing our best to avoid letting users pass with "Here's some code, go figure" answers. These should all still reside in the "low quality" queue, and actually, we should be more active as a community in improving them.

I know some users score quite a lot from one-paragraph answers that contain code, but completely fail to explain what it does, even if especially if it's a bash one-liner.

In most cases where a one-liner does the job, it should be easy to give the OP more context to work with. For example, not everyone knows what parameter expansion can do in a shell, or what quoting really does and when it's important. Or when your script will break on files with spaces in them.

There are countless examples of those low quality answers that could do so much better in helping people actually learn something, and not just spoon-feeding them with ready meals.


Perfect recent example.

Another good example of what can be done is this. First revision:

… more than 200 upvotes later:

Even if it's just three characters of code.

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