Without citing specific examples, I've encountered questions and answers (comments, personally, are less bothersome) that are convoluted or incredibly lengthy (where the length does not provide further clarification).

Should site users, contributors and administrators strive for brevity (without sacrificing clarity)? This is slightly different from marking a question or answer "unclear".

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    Citing specific examples may be helpful here. In general useless fluff is obviously stupid, but too often people leave things out without realizing how they can be useful. – Double AA Nov 12 '15 at 11:13


In my opinion, pretty much all non-fiction writing, including here, should follow my academic mentor's response when he was asked how long he was expecting papers with for his classes to be: just long enough to clearly and completely respond to the assignment's requirements.

The FAQ links in msh210's answer provide general "requirements" for good questions and answers, with the requirements for a good answer, obviously, also depending on what, in particular, the question is asking for. In addition, the following previous Meta posts elaborate on what Mi Yodeya expects in terms of clarity and completeness:

The longer a question or answer is, the more work it is for members of the community to evaluate, improve, or respond to it. Therefore, once the requirements are met, the shorter, the better.

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    One can interpret the Mishnah as already having stated this: Shamma'i would say, "[...] say little and do much [...]" (Avot 1:15). – Lee Nov 12 '15 at 15:27
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    I think this answer is dangerous as more it is more common (IMO) for posters to end up leaving things out to keep it simple (think of those one line questions where the body just repeats the title) than add in too much. Please don't skimp on actually providing us context, motivation, sources, etc. in your post. That is NOT fluff by any standard. I think this answer should better emphasize the importance of not missing the "completely" part of your advice. – Double AA Nov 12 '15 at 17:42
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    @DoubleAA, I believe that some of our content suffers from too little necessary information, and some suffers from too much extraneous information. (And some suffers both ways.) We have plenty of content on Meta, some of which I've now linked in this answer, that provides guidance on making content sufficiently clear and complete. The question at hand is whether there is also a value to keeping things concise. My answer to this question is yes, and I feel that it's sufficient to incorporate the competing values by reference. – Isaac Moses Nov 12 '15 at 18:34
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    Related: scottsigler.com/podcast/alive-episode-21-q-a 1:14:37 - 1:23:12 – Isaac Moses Nov 13 '15 at 10:43
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    Relevant Dr. Seuss quote: "The writer who breeds more words than he needs is making a chore for the reader who reads. That's why my belief is the briefer the brief is, the greater the sigh of the reader's relief is." – Fred Nov 25 '15 at 18:21

This is just my opinion, not any kind of official statement.

There are a number of factors that go into a good post. Some of these are delineated at https://judaism.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask and https://judaism.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic and https://judaism.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-answer. Some others, here on Meta, are linked to from Isaac Moses's answer here.

Among those factors is clarity. A typical reader of a post should understand the post; for an answer, the asker should. Ideally, even an atypical reader should. There's more detail on this on a number of the help pages and Meta posts, above.

Sometimes adding stuff to a post improves clarity. Sometimes it reduces clarity. Sometimes, one needs to remove some stuff and add other stuff in order to achieve maximal clarity. And then, sometimes, adding stuff reduces clarity but should be done anyway in order to make the post rate higher on one of the other quality measures I allude to above.

(I imagine it's extremely rare that adding something to a post will neither improve nor reduce the post's quality.)

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