Here aeismail comments:

One-line answers aren't allowed per our FAQ's. You should either expand your answer, or it'll have to be converted to a comment

Is it true? I have skimmed through the FAQ, and it doesn't seem like there is such a restriction. Besides that, that answer looks ok to me - it's synthetic, to the point, and clear enough to stand as it is. Maybe we should rather change the FAQ? What is your opinion on this?

3 Answers 3


It's a bad answer because it doesn't explain why it's a good answer. The whole point of SE sites is to offer advice on a large number of topics, and to educate their visitors. Pedagogically speaking, one almost always learns more if the answer explains the thought process. Hence, the need for answers that are more than on-liners.

  • Good point. What about the "it's not in the FAQ" part? Should we add it? Apr 28, 2013 at 8:14
  • 1
    As Charles suggests below, if it's not, it should be!
    – aeismail
    Apr 28, 2013 at 17:23
  • For the answer in question, I think the thought process is obvious once you see the answer, therefore I think the answer is okay.
    – StrongBad
    Apr 29, 2013 at 7:01

I think that if one-liners are not explicitly forbidden in the FAQ, then we should forbid them explicitly. The only case where a one-liner could be allowed is when there is a single, objective answer to the question, that fits exactly in one line.

For instance, if one asks "what does MIT stand for", then a one line answer "MIT stands for Massachusetts Institute of Technology" would be acceptable. That being said, such a question (and probably all questions that could accept one-line answer) could be easily answered by a Google search ...

  • 2
    Well put. In some cases (as in other SE sites) a one-liner might be the answer but I really doubt we'll have such questions that will fit necessary qualities here on AC.SE
    – posdef
    Apr 27, 2013 at 20:43

The how to answer FAQ says nothing about one line answers in general. It only indirectly mentions one line answers in regards to links. Pure link based answers are to be discouraged for the reasons given (also they add little value for the SE search index hit rate).

The system also may prevents answers which are too short (although I cannot remember for sure). I think in general one line answers are likely to be of limited value, I don't think we need to prevent them.

For the answer in question, I think the answer speaks for itself. Explaining why unknown program members is a bad sign just seems silly. I think it is fine as a one line answer. It might have been better as a comment...

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