I noticed that in some cases, there are answers that are not answers.

The question is asking what is the difference between two modules that have the same purpose, while the answer is reporting to consider another module. Clearly, it is not an answer because it doesn't report any difference between the modules. It could be a comment, but not an answer.

The question is asking if the submitted form is rebuilt before the user is redirected; the answer reports to use drupal_goto() to redirect a form, which is not necessary as Drupal will call the function using $form_state['redirect']. It is not even the answer to the question, as it doesn't say if the form is being rebuild before to redirect the user to another page.

Both the answers don't answer the question, which is how to avoid somebody is able to understand that a site is running Drupal. An answer that says that securing a site by obscuring doesn't add security should be a comment; an answer would be that it is not possible to obscure the fact a site is using Drupal, as the accepted answer does.

The question is not how to create a clone of api.drupal.org. What posted is something related to the question, but the question is quite different. Saying to somebody that is looking for alternatives to api.drupal.org to use, for example, when drupal.org is not accessible, as when happened to me once, when I was not able to connect to drupal.org without using a proxy, that he can create a clone of api.drupal.org doesn't answer the question. It could also be the user is using already Drupal 7, and in that case the suggestion to create a clone of api.drupal.org would not be useful if, as I remember, the main module used for api.drupal.org doesn't have a version for Drupal 7.

There are other answers that, to a question about the setting page of module A, or how to do something with module A, replies with "Use module B." or "Consider using module C."

Are we being too permissive on the kind of answers being posted?
Drupal answers, as any SE site, is not a forum; what posted as answer should be an answer. If what posted as answer really answers to the question, and then adds a comment such as "I suggest you not using that module." or "I suggest you not doing what you are trying to achieve." then it is fine. If then what the OP is asking it is not possible to achieve, then the answer should report that is not possible to do what the OP is asking, and then adding it is not suggested to try to achieve what described in the question; in that case, the answer could report the reason why is not suggested to do what the OP is trying to do. As alternative, the part suggesting not to do what the OP wants to do could be placed in a comment.

2 Answers 2


I think there are cases where we are to permissive with the answers. However I also think that there are times where answers can add to the question without answering it.

There are some questions in the format

How do I do X using Y?

Where Y is not at all suitable for doing X. While it may be possible to do. So someone could do a very long winded complex answer about how you can do X using Y. However what a new user faced with problem X will see is an answer using Y, which is not what they will need.

I think that an answer which says both, that Y is not a good solution for X (and why), and that this can be resolved much better using Z is acceptable, desirable even.

Answers which say, "don't use Y" or "use Z" are not so useful and probably should be comments.

Stack overflow podcast 68 covered this a little. "sometimes people should question the premise of your question"

  • If you are telling me that something I am asking is not possible, then you are answering me already; if then you suggest an alternative that would be fine too. Suggesting I use a module when I am asking about the difference between two modules is not an answer.
    – apaderno Mod
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 12:17
  • Yes of course. If you are asking specifically about the difference between two modules then being told of another is not an answer. Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 12:57
  • Are you positive, kiamlaluno, that a person asking that question would not appreciate being pointed to a third module? I can see a situation in which I am wondering between two modules, and don't even know about the existence of a third one, in which I would appreciate if somebody pointed me in that direction. I just want to point out that a site like this would be so much less utilized if it had too few answers vs. too many. Commented May 30, 2012 at 15:34

Are we being too permissive on the kind of answers being posted?

It's a community with open participation. We are always going to get all kinds of answers. But it's up to the community to accept, up- or down-vote, and meta-moderate.

In short, if the answer is "yes", I don't see how we can fix it.

We could put stronger definition as to what counts as an answer in the FAQ, but again, it would be up to the community to enforce it.

  • When you see an answer that is not answering the question, you can flag it and report it is not an answer. Of course, flagging it as not an answer doesn't mean to flag a wrong answer; it means to flag an answer that answers another question, as in the case I ask the difference between modules A and B, and somebody answer me saying to use module C. Another case of not an answer is when the OP who wrote the question and that write an answer instead of updating its question with more details. An SE site is not a forum; any changes to the question goes in the question text, not as answer.
    – apaderno Mod
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 13:45
  • Also, a user who reads a question and writes, for example, "I have the same problem but with a different theme. How can I fix it?" is not writing an answer. It is writing a comment, or a completely different question. SE sites are not forums, and an answer has to be an answer to the question.
    – apaderno Mod
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 13:49
  • I agree with everything you say. How does the situation get fixed? The culture of the site would have to change, where there were a critical mass of people downvoting or reporting non-answers.
    – user1359
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 13:54
  • The only way to get it fixed is to flag answers that are not answers. That is not different from any other SE sites; it's not that users of an SE site can decide to leave an answer that should be a comment, or a completely different question. The community of an SE site is left to its decisions, if those decisions are not in contrast with some directives that comes from TPTB; if Jeff Atwood notices that an SE site is being used as if it were a forum, he will come to say "Hey! You are doing it wrong."
    – apaderno Mod
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 14:18

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