I happened to answer a question, and at the time of this writing, it has gotten 74 upvotes. Much more than my second best answer.

Now, don't take me wrong. I like getting an answer upvoted, because it means I did a good job. I just want to know what was good about it, so I can do it again.

In my opinion, my answer is:

  • Too long
  • Not very helpful. The original question was tagged with "libgdx", a library my answer doesn't mention even once (this is supported by the fact that the asker has not accepted the answer)
  • Based on lots of opinions and with no references. Somebody should add a few dozen [citation needed]s in my answer.
  • Inaccurate. As visible on the comments, there are lots of corner cases I'm not covering, and I know that most of the stuff I said is never that perfect in practice.
  • Unnecessary. What I said is much better covered at thousands of websites and books, with much better precision. A single google search shows much better answers than what I wrote.
  • Not constructive. It's not technically an answer, and the knowledge I used to answer it is very shallow. I don't think I'm adding anything to the entire knowledge of the human race with this answer.
  • Poorly written. English is not my native language, and it clearly shows on my answer. There are so many grammar and composition errors even in its current shape that I would like to edit it again, but by doing so, the question would get bumped, which is something I'd rather avoid.

Yet for some reason people seemed to like it, and now it's one of the highest voted answers in the entire site.

I originally wrote the answer in frustration that none of the current answers were very accurate, so my answer was more of a rant against the other answers, than an honest answer to the originally very poor question which I actually downvoted. The reasons for writing that answer were not good, and I think the answer itself was not good either.

Yet for some reason, people seemed to like it. Why? I have no idea. I prefer answers in which my personal experiences add value to both the question and the answer, like this one or this one. They're by far not perfect answers, but much more in line with what I understand this site is about.

I'm missing something in my appraisal of my answers, because I don't really believe my answer to the texture question deserves more than a few upvotes. So I turn to you guys.

Did you like the answer? if so, why? I'm really at a lost here.

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94 upvotes out of more than 2,700 views is barely 3% of viewers. Remember, a question that collects more traffic will generate more total votes. The other two answers you point out have less than 900 views combined, which at the same 3% rate would suggest 27 upvotes; at time of writing they have 14 votes combined, about a 1.5% rate. –  Pieter Geerkens Mar 2 '13 at 1:17
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5 Answers 5

  1. gamedev has a huge beginner slant, where a lot of viewers perhaps may never have thought of what resources a texture takes up, and "which is more efficient" seems like a reasonable question. In this case, while I think the question is pretty bad, it's actually doing something useful because you taught a core concept.
  2. People who know better can't help upvoting any answer that starts ""efficiency" [is a] commonly misused term" because MOST EFFICIENT WAY ARRRGH
  3. I imagine the question made it to the "hot list" in the bar and drew people in to vote from the other network sites. "Which image format is more memory-efficient" is perfect linkbait title for attracting clicks from people just browsing for interesting questions.
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It probably hit Reddit or something too. –  mmyers Jan 31 '13 at 17:20
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It's sad that our "linkbait" questions are generally low quality ones... –  Nicol Bolas Jan 31 '13 at 17:50
    
@NicolBolas I think that's true for a lot of fields. The top-voted questions on Math.SE are extremely basic or not-even-math compared to say, the 'newest' page. –  Jimmy Jan 31 '13 at 17:59
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I like your answer a lot. It's a really good broad overview of all the relevant issues, and is written in a way that makes it accessible to non-experts. It's precisely the sort of information that StackExchange was designed to gather and archive forever to help future visitors, and to make the Internet a more useful place for everyone.

I agree that the answer doesn't precisely match the question, but frankly, the question wasn't great. And if I had to choose, I'd much rather preserve your answer than the question it's posted on. I've been tempted to heavily edit the question in order to make it a better place to hold the answer you gave.

Because frankly, your answer is far more valuable to the site and to the community than the question ever was.

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"I've been tempted to heavily edit the question in order to make it a better place to hold the answer you gave." So why don't you? –  Nicol Bolas Feb 2 '13 at 1:30
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@NicolBolas I have a general sense that editing questions in order to make them better match one of their answers is maybe a slippery-slope action. I'm really tempted to do it in this instance, but.. I do wonder whether long-term it sets a bad precedent. Or maybe I just worry too much. :) –  Trevor Powell Feb 2 '13 at 7:19
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I've noticed lengthy answers tend to get a lot of upvotes no matter the actual content.

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It got tweeted on the GD.SE Twitter account. https://twitter.com/#!/StackGameDev/status/296196620100464640

I expect that brings a lot of passing traffic.

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I believe that happens to any question that gets at least one positive vote. –  Byte56 Feb 25 '13 at 21:24
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The anwser is very complete on the subject. You can see a lot of people bookmarked the question for future reference, but what they actualy bookmarked was your answer (at least was my case).

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