I lightly chastised someone yesterday for posting something too big and long, and then I go and do the same thing, just without the pictures. What do you think, is it better to present a cohesive whole or break things into modular pieces, which can each voted up/down on their own merit, but possibly break or hide their integration with the others?

Did I make a mistake, in one or both instances?

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In the chastisement, I now wonder whether I was expressing just my own personal view, of not liking step by step tutorials with big pictures, rather than a general community guideline. –  matt wilkie Oct 27 '10 at 19:12
    
That is probably the longest answer I've ever seen on any StackExchange (including SO) site. Wow. It's a lot to slog through, but also very informational. –  Michael Todd Oct 27 '10 at 22:59

3 Answers 3

One of the reasons I prefer Stack over other Q&A sites is that it does not have arbitrary limits on answer lengths or images. If someone's question requires an in-depth, illustrated answer, we should allow users to answer the question. If the answer doesn't actually help, it will get voted down.

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Good point, the primary goal is to arrive at good answers, everything else is fine tuning, and the voting system here works. Thanks for the reminder. –  matt wilkie Oct 30 '10 at 7:48

I think is good that the moderators are active and starting a discussion on the subject is even better. So keep up the good work.

Long or short posts? Well I think it depends on the question asked. Sometimes you need to explain in detail and sometimes code or screenshoots is best way to do it, making the answer even longer. At least that's the case when answering developer questions.

Your point that a long answer could block other correct answers from being voted up is correct and mayby we should limit how many or how big pictures that can be added. Although in this case that was not my intent, I did not want to leave my own question unanswered when others could benifit from my findings.

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Right, having a solid answer at all far outweighs any problems with format or presentation (which may only exist in the mind of the perceiver, and a limited number at that). Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. –  matt wilkie Oct 30 '10 at 7:51

I think that long answers should be allowed as long as they stick to answering the question. Saying that, I'll say that your answer wasn't too long (it answered the question perefectly and so did Mathias's question ( to a passerby like me it did seem too long because of the pictures, but As it answered the question and was useful, I don't see any harm in it).

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