When answering a question, contributors should explain the underlying concepts required to understand the answer. How far back should the contributor go when explaining these concepts vs linking to them?

1 Answer
Mar 11, 2015

Generally, I think a good practice is giving a brief summary of the concept and a link to the Socratic topic page or another good resource for that concept.

I also try to take a few things into account:

  • How central is this concept to the question?
    Easier questions are sometimes simple applications of a concept. If a question largely centers around basic understanding of a concept, go ahead and spend some time explaining it!
  • How long is my answer?
    Answers that are too long can become inscrutable to students – Most answers should be just a few (3-6) brief paragraphs.
  • How advanced is a student asking this question?
    The more advanced a question is, the less detail you need to go into for very basic concepts.

Generally, a link to a Socratic topic page or another good resource helps ensure that students never reach any learning dead ends.