Is the culture of dsp.stackexchange.com such that you're not supposed to give short answers? My occasional short answers have usually received negative votes. Can we bring into question the sensibility of such culture? What if the answer truly is really simple, like here: Can the magnitude of DFT of a triangular wave be max for at 0?

Now the verbally accepted (short) answer is a comment, so Community will make sure that the question haunts us forever.


2 Answers 2


Well, I probably should have left that as an answer rather than a comment. I tend to just comment if I'm in a hurry and don't have time to compose a more complete answer. Though, for that question, I don't think a more complete answer helps much.

Also, I tend to err on staying out of most questions. I prefer the non-mod members answering, so that more recent members can accumulate rep.

In general, short answers don't necessarily help the OP understand where their misunderstanding / error is. I know @Olli is a good contributor here and has a great background in DSP, but many people asking questions here don't. Those without the background find it harder to "connect the dots"; those with the background only see one dot, and not the smaller steps required to get there.

To answer directly:

Should short answers be comments or answers?

I believe short answers should be answers!

And I promise to try to keep to that in the future. :-)

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the compliment. I admit that it is easy to fail to "add more dots". Nice that you converted the comment to an answer! $\endgroup$ Oct 10, 2016 at 15:51

Part of the problem resides in the culture of downvoting. Oddly, such cultural behaviors are quite different across different SE sites. Even if one does not understand a short answer, I see no reason for downvoting it. In that case, comments are just great to improve the short answer if needed.

As much as a short answer might not be what the OP needed at the time of asking, I believe that when the OP comes back later, or for all readers, a nice short answer is a good complement to longer ones.

To make it short: I believe that, in an ideal world, most comments could be removed without harm after they have been taken into accounts. Comments are scaffolds, to help build a house of questions and answers. Long and detailed answers can be seen as foundations, walls or roofs. A short answer can be stairs, a window, perhaps a piece of decoration, and has its own merit.

Short answers might even be a pretty sketch of the whole building, more informative than the complete blueprint.

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    $\begingroup$ I accepted Peter's answer, but this was also good answer, with good points. $\endgroup$ Oct 13, 2016 at 18:09
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    $\begingroup$ @Olli Niemitalo I understand wisdom and compliments rule :) $\endgroup$ Oct 13, 2016 at 18:11

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