What is encouraging contributors to write long answers when the same thing can be explained in two to three lines?

following is the question asked in Biology
What is the first phase of mitosis is called?

The simple answer is Prophase.

Now contributors are there explaining what mitosis is?, which was not even asked and it has already been answered here.

2 Answers
May 3, 2017


Each answer on Socratic should be concise as possible, but the reason for the answer is to help a student who needs a basic understanding of the overall concepts involved.


From what I have experienced on Socratic there must be thousands of answers to an unending plethora of questions
each with a slightly different approach to any given subject.

To properly answer some of these questions at the appropriate level, consideration of the audience is very important. I find it wise to look up the inquirer to gain an insight into their needs before delving into rhetoric that may overpower their requests.

Complicated questions will often elicit long, complicated answers.
Other questions can be answered briefly. But brief answers may only be copied without an understanding of the underlying principals, so nothing has been learned.

Some answers may get repetitive, but every new answer brings a fresh look at the subject. And every time a student receives his own answer to his own question, he becomes special, and another star is added to the universe of knowledge.

May 12, 2017


To explain the subject clearly and try to teach more than only the answer.


Both questions you have put as an example have been answered by me, with almost the same answer that I once wrote.

Of course, one could simply answer "prophase" on the question "what is the first phase of mitosis is called?", but I have the feeling that Socratic has been built to explain things to students rather than just giving them the answer. If they would only want the answer, why wouldn't they put that question in Google?

Every contributor has its own style of providing answers. For me, I try to summarise the answer as short as possible in the "Answer:" field and give more information about the subject below in "Explanation:". When answering questions, I try to give them on their level of knowledge the full answer, not leaving out parts that may be obvious to others. Besides that, I try to think of myself in high school (which is not so long ago) or in some other situation: if I would have the same question, what would be the best answer I could get?

For me in Highschool, they taught us about everything including details, but sometimes not making the big picture clear for me. I tend to make lists and step by step plans for myself to understand the subject better and don't feel lost on an exam. Therefore I try to implement these parts in the answer, so the students have a better overview of things.

I've got the feeling that most users don't search first if a question has been asked already, but directly open up a new question.
I could have for example just stated "prophase" and linked to the page on which I listed the mitosis stages, but I think that students are more triggered to read the full answer and learn if they are posted on their question since these answers feel more special to them.

The one that posted the question "what is the first phase of mitosis is called?" might now have a clearer idea of the process mitosis just because I did not write "prophase". And if they just want the explanation, one can just read the first line of the answer.

(This, of course, doesn't say that on the question "1+1=?" contributors should write about the history of mathematics...)