17

No. Of course it's not always necessary. If you can come to a sensible, well-reasoned conclusion simply by arguing directly from the text, that's absolutely fine - in fact that's the 'purest' form of literary analysis. If you have some outside quotes, e.g. from other analyses of the same text, or from interviews with the author, then those are great too, ...


15

Judge on ideas, not status I don't think the opinion of a critic makes all that much difference as to whether an answer is valid or not; the only real factor that differentiates them from others is their experience, which doesn't necessarily mean their view is more 'correct' than any other. If you can prove what you're saying with some evidence from the ...


13

Unanswerable questions are not bad. In fact, if you can prove a question is unanswerable, that's gonna make for an awesome answer. And if you can't prove it, well, then we're just guessing it's unanswerable. So if a question's answer is "no", and you can prove it, great. If the question can't be answered and you can show why, that's a great answer too. If ...


11

The optimal answer, on many Stack Exchange sites, is written by an expert - or, to avoid having to define that word, a person who is very well acquainted with the subject and specific material at hand. They're likely trained in the discipline, and so, all other things equal, they're more likely to be right in their answer. I'd argue that we should actually ...


8

Answers should offer reasonable support, explaining "how" and "why" wherever possible. What that means changes depending on the claims being made. If you're drawing your answer strictly from the text (see "close reading"), then your claims should be supported through the text. Claims about the author need to be supported through letters, biographies, ...


6

Standback's answer is excellent on the general principle, but I thought it was worth paying some more specific attention to the issue you raise, and perhaps even looking at some examples. What do we do if works in a shared universe contradict each other? If a question is asked to which such contradictions are relevant, then discuss them in the answer. A ...


5

Firstly, what do we mean by "low quality answers"? Obviously this needs to be clarified, because "low quality" without context can be a highly subjective evaluation. In the context of this meta post, you seem to mean unexplained answers. I'll call them that rather than "low quality" answers below, just for clarity and to make sure we're all on the same page. ...


5

Explain how your answer matches the question as stated. Any story-ID question is going to include some data points about the story. Don't just say "this is the book you're looking for"; show how each of those data points (or as many as you can) match the book you've found. Ideally you could do this using citations, e.g. quote and link to an online ...


4

It seems to me that explaining the statuses of the different works, drawing attention to support or to contradictions, would be part of a good answer. There's too much nuance here for a breakdown of seniority and significance -- it will change from series to series, and from question to question. Good answers should give as many significant sources as exist,...


3

As Rand al'Thor opened his answer, the real question here is "what is a bad answer"? Of course we should be deleting bad answers: Zyerah makes an excellent point that "this isn't reddit". So: what do we delete? This is where we run into trouble compared with other SE sites. For computing or maths based sites there is often a definitive "correct" answer ...


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