I have some experience on other StackExchange sites, but on this site I apparently don't really understand it yet. I guess it's because the SE sites I'm used to are mainly technical, which means the scope for questions and answers is clearer.

Yesterday I posted an answer, but it got deleted for being not "specific" enough, the moderator said it didn't directly address the question. I reread my own answer and compared it to the other answers, and I did notice that, unlike the other answers, I first provided some general information before moving on to applying it to the asker's specific situation. Is that not how this site works? But another answer I posted, which had a similar approach, got an upvote and was not deleted.

As I don't really get it, I'm worried that I may make the same mistake again. When is a answer too general and what makes it specific?

1 Answer 1


SE is a question and answer site; people accustomed to forums often have a harder time understanding the different approach here. Don't worry, it's a very common occurrence.

The OP's (original poster) had specific questions. These are what an answer should concentrate on. General information isn't an acceptable answer if it doesn't address the question(s) asked.

The OP basically gave a lot of background, then asked three questions:

...how do I best protect Emily not only from bullies outside the home, but from the bullying she's experiencing from my girlfriend? ...should [I] be taking steps to become Emily's legal guardian, [and if so] How do I discuss this with her and what are the benefits of legal guardianship in this situation?

Your 'answer' started off discussing genital mutilation, and carries on a discussion of comments, which is fine in chat, but not on the main site. You discussed the mom's approach to the child's dressing, and what a better approach to that would be.

All this is fine in chat, but I hope you can see, it really doesn't address the main questions asked by the OP.

If you look in the sidebar, you'll see other meta questions about answers. Those are all helpful reads. To distill into a very short answer, our most general rules are 1) answer the question(s) asked, and 2) if you disagree with the OP ("You're wrong!"), best to just skip answering the question altogether.

I hope that helps.

  • Hmm... didn't it answer how to protect her from the bullying of his girlfriend?
    – jobukkit
    Oct 7, 2016 at 16:52
  • @JopV. - Not that I can easily see. You addressed: genital mutilation, GF's dangerous obsession with haircuts and clothing, puberty blockers, and started it off with "I mentioned some of this in the chat already, but I just thought I'd post a complete answer". If you actually addressed the questions, it got lost in the asides. I did not delete the answer, so another moderator shared my opinion as expressed above. I would have deleted it, but moderation on threads where a mod has already answered can have the appearance of impropriety, so I didn't touch it. Oct 7, 2016 at 17:45
  • "push for the mother to let her child look however s/he wants" was the main point I was trying to make (which I hadn't said in the chat). But apparently that's too little for an answer, alright.
    – jobukkit
    Oct 7, 2016 at 20:04
  • 1
    @JopV. - Actually, that's a fine answer (fleshed out a bit); it's the rest of the stuff you addressed that resulted in your answer being deleted. Please feel free to post it as an answer. Oct 8, 2016 at 15:14
  • 3
    Ah, so the problem was that I attempted to give so much background that I ended up drowning out my main point. Thanks, I'll try to formulate a new post.
    – jobukkit
    Oct 8, 2016 at 20:25

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