What is most important in a good answer at Stack Exchange Biology? Comprehensiveness and completeness ("long") or concise and to-the-point ("short"). I tend to like the last category, but it happens every now and then that I notice that short answers tend to be down-voted as being comments. E.g., a (fictional) question like "Do fishes with lungs exist?" and answered with "Yes, lung fishes (citation)" would be an excellent answer in my opinion, but I suspect this opinion is not shared by everyone.

PS: I hope this is not a duplicate; PS2: I'm new here so I might be missing the point. Thanks.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Just for the sake of it and as reference I'm linking to Help pages: How do I write a good answer?. Your Q is still worth discussing though. $\endgroup$ Oct 31, 2014 at 9:04
  • $\begingroup$ I'd call the concise example there a good answer, however I think a lot of the short ones do miss the point, fail to explain properly, or don't have enough supporting information. $\endgroup$
    – rg255
    Oct 31, 2014 at 13:49

1 Answer 1


Thats an interesting question - and I think that there is no definite answer, as this depends on the question and the background of the people asking. There is a part of the help section, which also adresses this question.

I think answers should be complete and have some references which someone, who is interested in a deeper view of the topic can follow. However, I think an answer should be understandable and give the answer on the bio.sx site, so you don't have to follow the references to understand it. And I also think it should not only be cited directly from an external source but written in your own words.

How to answer is sometimes difficult, since some people have only very basic knowledge of biology, so that the answer needs to take this into account. And even if such questions seem trivial in the first place (when you studied the subject and are an expert) they are still worth answering them seriously.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks old @Chris. I leave the question as unanswered for now to stimulate discussion. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – AliceD Mod
    Oct 31, 2014 at 9:29
  • $\begingroup$ @ChrisStronks Fine for me - these are only my thoughts about it. Others may see this different. $\endgroup$
    – Chris Mod
    Oct 31, 2014 at 9:31

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .