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There have been times when I answer a question, in some cases, I'll be urged, by some commenter, that I haven't provided enough information or I should include something else.

In other cases, I'll be chastised for having too much information, even while relevant.

I have always erred on the side that it's better have too much information, rather than too little. Because of that, I'll answer OPs question, while trying to provide some insight as to if their method is "good". If it isn't, I'll try to offer some extra info as to what else they should consider instead of what they are trying to force. Sometimes, I'll even list some reasons why if so merited.

In both cases when I decide to include this extra insightful bit or not, I have been told I need more or less information by people and it is slightly confusing as to exactly how much I should give.

Obviously I need to answer OPs question, but when should I give insight into their design that stems from their question but isn't necessarily the question.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Point to a few cases. Without that we can only talk in generalities without any calibration. At this point, I can't tell if you are getting upset over nothing, were unfairly treated, or you really did ramble on too much. Everyone's idea of "too much" is different, so without concrete examples, this whold discussion is pointless. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Aug 10 '14 at 21:57
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Always err on the side of too much rather than too little information. Remember, the information you post here isn't just for the benefit of the person asking the question; it's also for the benefit of future visitors who have the same (or a similar) question. An answer that's too narrowly focused won't help them.

But make sure that the information is directly relevant to the question and its context, and don't go off into material that's only tangentially related to the topic at hand. Information isn't useful to people if their eyes glaze over halfway through and they never finish reading it. Make your points, but keep them concise.

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A newby here but hopefully I can add a bit of what I feel is the prevailing atmosphere here.

Personally I would agree with David Tweed who is a regular here but would add the two following points.

Ignore personal identification with negative criticism as it does not mean a thing in the big picture once you have some points anyway.

Then also remember that SE is not intended to be a chatty forum for kids late with their homework, it is intended to be a serious place for recording the collected wisdom of uncountable (wo)man hours of personal experience in (many) diverse fields.

Witty answers like this appear to be frowned upon a bit. However your tactic of fleshing out your topical answer seems right and I will do the same when I have information to share.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I came back to this question years later and was reading this answer thinking wow, neat answer, should up-vote and realised it was my own answer. Still relevant too. \$\endgroup\$ – KalleMP Apr 28 '16 at 22:58

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