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Let's presume an answer does a good job answering the question and meets the requirement of showing its work. Here is part of the current guideline for showing work:

It's OK to a degree for an answer to include personal anecdotes and other tangents, where this adds flavour and character, so long as the main line of an answer is supported, connecting the dots starting from the text. It's also ok to include opinions so long as they are relevant and labelled as your opinion or belief. Opinions and tangents should be garnishes, not the entire meal. If a post is essentially an opinion-based argument or testimony, it doesn't fit and will need to be removed or edited.

Let's suppose the answer meets the following criteria:

  1. Answers the question
  2. Connects the dots starting from the text
  3. Is not essentially an opinion-based argument or testimony (at least half of the post is relevant to actually answering the question and does so according to site guidelines)

But let's also assume that the opinions given in the answer are not relevant to the question (they are unnecessary).

The guideline isn't clear which carries more weight or if this is a 'all-or-nothing' type of deal. The main purpose of the guideline is to 'show the work,' which this answer would. However, there is still a lot of unnecessary content that is not relevant to the answer.

According to the current policy and the criteria that are not met, is it true that such an answer "doesn't fit and will need to be removed or edited?" Or can it stand (albeit, with my downvote) because of the criteria it does meet? How should this be handled?

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Here is another example. See revision 2 vs rev 3. –  Gone Quiet Jan 7 at 17:53
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marked as duplicate by Daи Jan 7 at 3:38

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3 Answers

The question must be edited to remove the unnecessary content.

It is a requirement for the post to be edited to remove extraneous content. This improves the answer. However, this means that if the author refused to accept the edit, the answer would have to be deleted (or somehow locked to prevent further edits1).


1 I don't even know if that is possible.

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The superfluous content should remain so long as the question is answered and work was shown.

Extraneous content is part of the author's voice. Granted, it would be better to have a more focused answer without lots of extra stuff to wade through, but this isn't enough reason to edit a question, much less delete it. The OP should be encouraged to focus the content in comments, and site participants are free to downvote the answer for having too much unnecessary content.

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Technically this meets this requirement, but it was deleted by the community as "too little answer, too much opinion". And this was, fortunately, fixed by the author but would have had to be addressed otherwise. (There are many more examples.) Votes for this answer are votes in support of leaving answers like those alone. I think that harms the site. –  Gone Quiet Jan 7 at 14:57
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The extraneous opinion must be converted to a short footnote

The extraneous content must be relegated to a footnote. If the unnecessary content is too large, it must be summarized; a post should be at least 75% relevant answer. This preserves the author's original voice but makes the superfluous content less distracting to readers.

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