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I just got into it with someone on BSE, and it lead me to a question about answers!

I do not work in a game/vfx studio but I do get paid to use Blender. So I do not know all the techniques that professionals use but I do know how to get a shot finished that can pass as high quality.

I posted an answer to help someone with a shader. I was then hounded by a long time BSE user about how my way was not the correct way and that I make it harder for people blah blah blah (Yet I was the only answer).

I assumed the upvote/downvote button was so the better answers can rise to the top, and the other answers can just be there so the OP has other options.

After going back and forth about my workflow this BSE user made me feel like its pointless to give answers unless they are 100% the "correct" way.

So that's why I am posting here. Although I know my way may not be the "best" way, should I still post answers even though I know a more experienced user will probably have a better way to do it?

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If you have a valid solution, you should always be welcome to post an answer.

The goal of StackExchange is to give people answers. This includes not only the original asker of the question, but everybody else who sees the question later. Even if your answer isn't the OP's perfect solution, it may be a better help to somebody else who comes along later.

This doesn't mean that all answers are created equal, but, that's what voting is for. You should be welcome to post a valid answer, and, if a better one comes along, it will probably be voted higher than yours and/or accepted. The system works.


There's the answer for your (generally applicable) question, but I'd like to address something specific to your case:

From the BSE Help Center, we learn that comments should be used for "constructive criticism that guides the author in improving the post" or "adding relevant but minor or transient information to a post".

It appears to me that the initial comment by the other user was intended as constructive criticism. It wasn't really received that way, though1, and your resulting conversation escalated to this comment by the other party:

Maybe it's just me, but I like to have my answers to be proper, not "something".

after which you were accused of being rude. My guess is that this is what prompted you to ask this question, with its emphasis of "professional" vs "what works".

In my opinion, one of the things that makes BSE great is the mix of professional and hobbyist users that we have here, and much of the time, there is more than one right answer to a question (each of those is a separate link). As stated above, there is sometimes a single "best" answer, but that doesn't invalidate all of the others.

Additionally, I think that your answer was more than just "something." It was a well-formatted, properly explained attempt at solving the question: the quality of content we want on this site. Just because your answer wasn't the "proper"2 way to do it doesn't make it bad3.


1 which is understandable, since applying it would have essentially meant changing your entire answer.
2 additionally, in this particular case, I don't think that there is a single "proper" way to do it.
3 "bad" answers are those that are "dangerously incorrect." I don't think that an answer that is not optimally efficient qualifies as "dangerously incorrect."

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You are mostly correct. Almost any answer (I can't say any because I've seen a lot of bad answers) is helpful. Your example here is most certainly in the helpful answer category. I'd say 9 times out of 10 it could be a "helpful answer". (Even if it was not helpful to the OP it can still be a helpful answer.)

Take this as an example. I search for some problem, find a promising question with the exact same issue, but alas no answer. Well that is not helpful.
Now if there were an answer there, anything, no matter how far from being the best or proper solution, at least I have something.

Yes we should always strive to make the very best posts we can. But do not let some perceived notion of not being the best stop you from posting an answer. You do not need to have the 100% correct way to post an answer. (Who's to say it's the way anyhow?) In nearly every case something is better then nothing.

However you erred in the comments. The back and forth quickly went south. You know what comments I'm referring to.

PS good move coming to the meta to see "who was right" and not continuing a flame war.

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Even not technically "100% correct" (but who's to judge that?) answers can still inspire people to think about the problem in a different way to that which a so-called "professional" might go about it.

There are many different ways of solving virtually any problem and different people in different situations will have different priorities and needs. Any alternative solution provides another perspective and is definitely worthwhile.

Keep posting - if someone disagrees they can always downvote or post their own answer.

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  • $\begingroup$ On a side note (aka things I'd like to see re the SE way of things) : The ability for a user to accept many answers, and prefer one, $\endgroup$ – batFINGER Jul 13 '18 at 11:46
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps - although I do like the simplicity of having a single accepted answer. For any other particularly special answers you could award a bounty in recognition (and this shows against the answer to flag it for all time). $\endgroup$ – Rich Sedman Jul 13 '18 at 12:48

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