A typical answer on some stackexchange sites including this looks like this. The first half is not directed to the asker at all since I gave to understand in my question that I mostly know how SHA1 works.

It looks like the answerer does not speak directly to me.

  1. It's unpersonal.
  2. English is not my native language. While I more or less can slowly read and understand math/crypto text, it's a little hard to me to look fast over a text and find places interesting for me. Reading the whole text to find 1 small paragraph answer to my question is too much overhead, don't you find?

So why it's so common?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Well the spirit of a Q/A site is not just to help the one asking the question but to help everyone who's going to hit the website with the same (or a similar) question. So answers tend to be impersonal because of that - they are not directed specifically at you but at everyone who might be reading them in the future. As for the other part, if you feel the first part of Reid's answer was too off-topic, you can drop a comment to ask him to highlight the on-topic part and place the rest of the answer as an addendum (or delete it altogether)? $\endgroup$
    – Thomas
    Jun 1, 2013 at 9:14
  • $\begingroup$ It was not offtopic, but the half was not directed to me at all, this half was first and not separated from the real answer. Answers like this is like text written with shit on a wall - you can read it, but it's unpleasantly. Q/A still means the answer is directed to the asker, right? One can e.g. hide the parts directed to others behind a spoiler. I think, the answer to the asker shold be in the first place. $\endgroup$ Jun 1, 2013 at 11:17
  • $\begingroup$ Funny, I am just trying to write more answers in third person to get less personal. I think this adds to the professional look of the site(s). The last thing you want is a crypto site that is "chatty". $\endgroup$
    – Maarten Bodewes Mod
    Jun 24, 2013 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ Slightly surprised to see a 'close-vote' for too opinion based on meta :O Voted to leave open since the whole point of this place is for discussion! $\endgroup$ Jan 10, 2014 at 22:52


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