Sometimes a user just needs a single command line answer. To be most efficient (The mantra of the SE community) it would make sense just to give them a single command to run rather than appending frivolous language to the end of what would be a very concise answer.

Maybe questions tagged with the command-line tag can omit this rule?

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I tend to disagree - its often useful to talk a little bit more about why the command works, than what the command is. Decomposing and explaining the command adds a lot.

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  • But, taking the question literally often times the user doesn't care about why the command does what it does but rather "I just need some output from the system, how do I do it?" Example: superuser.com/questions/697461/… Note the useless text included before the answer, or rather the comment. – Scandalist Jan 6 '14 at 3:31
  • Not a great question - there's little to no research effort there. A better way to do that as an answer would be 'You can use df -h with the h flag doing human readble formatting' – Journeyman Geek Jan 6 '14 at 4:22
  • Its a great answer. and the more upvotes there are for the answer the more relevant it is. – Scandalist Jan 6 '14 at 4:49
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    superuser.com/a/697507/10165 This is how I'd answer it. It makes it much more useful for other people looking for an answer to the same question (and if someone DID have a reliable way to detect an external hdd, I want to know about it ;p) – Journeyman Geek Jan 6 '14 at 5:24

Having a good answer which is less than the minimum length is rare*, but when it happens you can add random information which is not displayed by using HTML comments.

(<!-- My extra comment here -->)

*: I think I ran into it two or three times since I got a SE account, which averages to once per half year or once per 600 answers.

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