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I developed an answer to an algorithm question. But, though it remains very informal, this answer is already four or five pages long, because it is very technical. Does it make sense to post it? Should I limit my answer to a very sketchy description?

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    $\begingroup$ To my knowledge, the only post that had this happen was the reference answer on P/NP by Kaveh. I have written some long answers myself but never touched that limit. If you truly need that much room, the question may have a serious scoping problem. (Which, in a way, is true for the reference questions where we went for broader scope on purpose.) $\endgroup$ – Raphael Sep 18 '14 at 9:29
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    $\begingroup$ Depending on the originality of the presented material, it may sometimes be prudent to publish it on arXiv and post only a summary here. I consider these answers by Realz Slaw an example for this. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Sep 18 '14 at 9:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Raphael cs.stackexchange.com/questions/16850/is-dominosa-np-hard/… as well. It's not always possible to judge how hard a question is a priori. $\endgroup$ – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Sep 18 '14 at 9:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Gilles True. That question was reasonably scoped; it just turned out to need a long answer. That's okay and not the scenario my "may" was alluding to. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Sep 18 '14 at 9:37
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The maximum length of a post is 30000 characters (in the Markdown source).

You can browse the longest answers on a site on the Data Explorer to see examples of long answers. The data explorer only provides the rendered HTML, not the Markdown source, so there will be a (usually small) discrepancy.

Please keep your answer as complete as possible. Thank you for writing a detailed, technical answer.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. Is the size determined by StackExchange.realtime.subscribeToQuestion('419', '29709'); in the HTML source? I went to the page you give, but what it computed were rather short answers with a negative size ... whatever that means !! Did I misuse it, or did I misunderstand you? $\endgroup$ – babou Sep 18 '14 at 8:43
  • $\begingroup$ @babou Sorry, I only checked the title of that query. For some reason, it's displaying the shortest answers! I've now linked to a query that actually displays the longest answers (by rendered HTML, not by Markdown source, because SEDE doesn't have the source). $\endgroup$ – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Sep 18 '14 at 8:58
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    $\begingroup$ I'd like to add, please keep your answer as concise as possible. Detail is great, rambling is not. (@babou) $\endgroup$ – Raphael Sep 18 '14 at 9:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Raphael Rambling is bad but skipping useful information (such as proof steps) isn't. Clarity over concision. $\endgroup$ – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Sep 18 '14 at 9:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Gilles That's why I write "as possible". As long as necessary, as short as possible. (Typically, the second half of the "rule" is the harder one to achieve!) $\endgroup$ – Raphael Sep 18 '14 at 9:38
  • $\begingroup$ @Raphael I was expecting this point (conciseness) to crop up, and wondered whether I should mention it. I am aware that I tend to make longer answers, as I try, as much as possible to make didactic answers, and to emphasize what I consider fundamental structuring concepts. Do you feel I am rambling? $\endgroup$ – babou Sep 18 '14 at 12:49
  • $\begingroup$ @babou I don't think I have read any of your (long) answers in full yet, so I don't have an opinion on that. I just wanted to add this piece of advice (a wish?) here because more people may read "keep as complete as possible" in the future. (Which needs to be restricted further, I think, along the lines of "short of reproducing material readily available online or in standard textbooks".) $\endgroup$ – Raphael Sep 18 '14 at 12:52

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