Note: if I directly point you out, please don't take it personal

I've noticed for some time now that while I've been cleaning up, that there are quite a few active, higher rep users, that are posting what is to be considered low quality answers (or in reality short answers). For example:

And many many more....

My question is this. While technically correct, these answers are very short, and typcially not helpful to the community most times, while the other times, it's an indicator of a terrible question. Should we edit, flag, close the question, comment the answer? I have been mainly ignoring them, but feel that there are plenty enough that we should probably address this issue.

  • 2
    As an aside, third from last is not constructive.
    – soandos
    Commented Jul 13, 2012 at 3:07
  • 6
    You know, not to knock on anyone personally, but some people with tons of rep have tons of rep because they post a whole lot of short, quick, easy answers. Carpet bomb and hope you get some success.
    – nhinkle
    Commented Jul 13, 2012 at 3:14
  • @nhinkle I've seen this as well, and that's what I'm asking here. Do we just let them be and stop new users from doing so? Or do we clean this up as we go along? Commented Jul 13, 2012 at 3:15
  • 10
    Treat it the same you would as if they didn't have such a high reputation.
    – nhinkle
    Commented Jul 13, 2012 at 3:16
  • 2
    This query is useful for users wanting to audit their own posts. Commented Jul 13, 2012 at 15:42
  • Sometimes a short answer is all you need. Eg. how would you suggest that the open read only answer be made better?
    – Richard
    Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 13:39
  • @Richard those are IMO few and far between and even with yours it's possible to expand to the others that he requested, thus giving you a little more room to add. Nonetheless, there are going to be a few rare question like that one where a simple short answer is sufficient. Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 13:54
  • @KronoS In my experience (mostly on Stack Overflow rather than here) there are lots of questions where the answer is short. Any expansion is just pointless verbosity. Which is why, in my previous comment, I ask for specifics not generalities.
    – Richard
    Commented Jul 15, 2012 at 21:39
  • @Richard I didn't realize that you were looking for specifics. In that case, I agree that the short is answer is about the best that can be given. Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 2:56
  • 3
    If the question can be answered with a simple yes or no, its probably not a good question to begin with
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 6:56
  • @DarthAndroid Thanks for linking to the query.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Commented Jul 21, 2012 at 7:02
  • Thanks, too, from me for the query. I found some shoddy answers of my own which I've either deleted or improved.
    – user3463
    Commented Jul 28, 2012 at 4:22

2 Answers 2


Two solutions come to mind:

  • If the question is crap, deal with it like we would do with any other. Vote to close or delete right away. If there really are high rep users who repeatedly answer bad questions with their one line of code, then let the deletion be a sign for them — don't answer crap questions! If you want to conserve your reputation and have your content stay around, you'll also have to make sure the question won't be deleted.

  • If the question itself is fine, post a comment on the answer, asking them to expand it. High rep users should really know better, and even one line of code can be explained. Yes, it can cough … and most high-rep users are active enough to see your comment and add a little more detail once they're asked to.

All in all, I think our goal is clear. Users who have a lot of reputation should lead the community by example – and part of this involves posting great answers where possible. Now, this obviously isn't always doable, especially for cases where the answer is "no, you can't", but I think you can always manage not to land in the "low quality" queue. Now, you won't be notified of that automatically, but if someone is asking you to improve your post because it was marked low quality, why not take that as an opportunity to make this site better?

I'm not sure we've ever done something about these kinds of high-rep users who constantly post "low quality" answers — and I'm sure some examples come to mind — but that would be something better discussed privately and not here, on Meta.

To summarize, I'd suggest to continue acting on a case-by-case basis. Leave a comment if possible and see if that results in better answers. There's not much else I can think of.

  • Just as a FYI, this was NOT meant to point out any single user. I would never do that publicly here on Meta, but rather in a more private setting (chat, or email if possible and after consulting a moderator). This was mainly to A. bring awareness to those high rep users that may do this, and B. determine a plan of action that I can reference in case there is any blow back due to my actions. Commented Jul 13, 2012 at 3:13
  • Yeah, got you there — like I said, if there are "repeated offenders", then that's something different. I guess your question was more about the occasional low quality posts that tend to show up once in a while.
    – slhck
    Commented Jul 13, 2012 at 3:15
  • Only twice (only once recently for an answer posted over a year ago) have I been asked to expand the answer I gave. With my rep, I definitely felt embarrassed I used to think that was acceptable, but I would agree that we need to post better answers all the time. As for not being on the Low Quality review page... Is it possible to learn what the checker uses so we can make sure we don't land on there BEFORE the answer gets posted? Commented Jul 13, 2012 at 7:35
  • 5
    Mostly these are rather old answers. Perhaps those hig-rep-users where new to the site then... Anyhow, I think we should treat them the same as any other answer, flag for removal or edit if salvageable.
    – Nifle
    Commented Jul 13, 2012 at 8:14
  • @Luke No, I don't think so — unless you check the low quality queue yourself. The thing is: Some quality filters are deactivated at a certain point of reputation level, so basically, I can write as many low quality answers as I want.
    – slhck
    Commented Jul 13, 2012 at 11:08

I suggest the following auto comments for low quality answers that are still worth keeping:

High Rep Low Quality:


As a highly valued Super User, I suggest you revisit this answer and add more detail.


###High Rep Low Quality
As a highly valued Super User, I suggest you revisit this answer and [add more detail](https://meta.superuser.com/questions/5177/what-do-we-do-with-low-quality-answers-from-high-rep-users).

Low Rep Low Quality:


Welcome to Super User! I suggest you add more detail to this question so that it can be more useful to future users. For example you could .


###Low Rep Low Quality
Welcome to Super User! I suggest you [add more detail](https://meta.superuser.com/questions/5177/what-do-we-do-with-low-quality-answers-from-high-rep-users) to this question so that it can be more useful to future users.  For example you could <MaterialForImprovement>.

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