I would like to know why my late answers are judged "off-topic"?

The last one even, Is there a tradition where eating something sweet before something savory is the norm?

where everyone said "yes, India" and I believe I gave a correct answer, ie the unic possible, regarding the cost of those aliments? If you study a few of medieval history, you know that those uses are formed in times when sugar was really expensive. We had honey from before roman times.

"Only after the Crusades did it begin to rival honey as a sweetener in Europe. The Spanish began cultivating sugarcane in the West Indies in 1506 (and in Cuba in 1523). The Portuguese first cultivated sugarcane in Brazil in 1532. ...Regardless of which century table sugar production was discovered, it was a luxury in much of the world until the 18th century. ... In the 18th century, the demand for table sugar boomed in Europe, and by the 19th century it had become a human necessity... Beginning in the late 18th century, the production of sugar became increasingly mechanized....During the same century, Europeans began experimenting with sugar production from other crops... However, the beet-sugar industry really took off during the Napoleonic Wars".


Then, what is wrong in my answer?

2 Answers 2


First of all, you received a downvote or two (which mean "this answer is not useful"), and a comment from rumtscho (and then me) essentially saying "we're not sure what you're trying to say with respect to the question". I stand by that: as far as I understand, your answer is explaining that sweet desserts were traditionally expensive, eaten only by rich people or on special occasions. But it's really hard to see what that has to do with the order we eat them in.

I know you edited to try to clarify, but it seems like you're spending all your time trying to justify the assertion that sugar was expensive. No one disagrees with that, but it's a leap from there to the idea of having a dessert course at the end of a meal. I think, based on what you bolded in your original answer, that you're trying to say dessert comes last so that you're less hungry and won't want to eat as much of it. That's plausible, but it's pretty difficult to understand from your answer - honestly, I figured it out by guessing that idea myself, then looking for something in your answer that sounded like it.

Your title implies that you're asking about more than just this question. I would say that in general, some others of your answers are of a similar nature. I know you're doing the best you can, but they are indeed often hard to understand, and I sometimes find myself re-reading them hunting for what you're actually trying to say about the question. They're getting flagged as "not an answer" sometimes, which I think is quite understandable - it really can be difficult to see what you're saying with respect to the actual question, not just related information. It may help you to think of trying to answer the actual question in a single sentence, your first sentence, and going from there.


Ok. I saw that this night the question has moved to Meta.

My answer in Beta has not been considered. But i don't understand why a downvote. My answer IS IN topic regarding the question. If the question is open, or, as I think, I answered before it was moved, not my fault.

Anyway I provide to move my answer. TY

  • I don't really understand this - by "answer in Beta" do you mean "question on Meta"? And... are you asking about the downvote on your question here? Or on your answer on the question you're talking about? While it's often polite to explain downvotes, it's definitely not mandatory - we'd rather people vote without explanation than not vote at all. There are a lot of reasons people can downvote - on meta, it can just mean they disagree with a question or answer; on the main site it usually means they find something not useful or incorrect.
    – Cascabel Mod
    Apr 24, 2013 at 17:58
  • If you hover over the downvote arrow it says: This answer is not useful. That's what it means. Someone who read your answer didn't think it was useful. That could be for many reasons other than being factually incorrect: unclear, hard to understand, poorly formatted, not relevant to the question, not detailed enough, or perhaps making important but unsubstantiated claims. I really don't know which, if any, of those apply to the answers you're receiving downvotes on, but as @Jefromi says, users are neither required nor expected to explain their votes; that is entirely at their discretion.
    – Aaronut
    Apr 25, 2013 at 2:12
  • 4
    Incidentally, I realize that there may be a minor language barrier here, but that is not so unusual. I think what's potentially being misunderstood here is not the questions or answers themselves but what we actually mean by "answers". This isn't a discussion forum where answers are "on topic" or "off topic" - it's a Q&A site where answers are supposed to answer the question. Side discussions might be interesting or topical, but they are nevertheless discouraged and often deleted.
    – Aaronut
    Apr 25, 2013 at 2:17
  • By the way, thank you for your kindness. And you all too. For your endurance. Viola. Apr 25, 2013 at 2:17
  • It is very difficult to me that side. I haven't difficulties in gardening, nor in Biologist, though i'm not a "technical biologist" but just an amateur zoologist and an attentive observer and a thinking person. Of course if the teme is very technical, I avoid to go into. But there are many question that stay "on horse" between amatorial observations and technical answers (reserved of course to people universitary and mastered. Apr 25, 2013 at 2:24
  • I do an exemple. biology.stackexchange.com/questions/7909/… Apr 25, 2013 at 2:26
  • I answered with an observation that someone judged interesting. Of course is not Bible and doesn't solve world problems. But why we cant -here- say our thoughts, though not so thecnical? And cooking should be one of matters more close to human though. And history. Instead, to me seems more strict. Apr 25, 2013 at 2:29
  • ok, surely you have reason, i don't dare to dispute it. That should be clear. So I hope. Right now I'm trying to answer old questions unanswered, in the three sections in which I am enrolled, to try to practice on how to respond. I hope to learn. And thanks again. Apr 25, 2013 at 2:38
  • 1
    You're comparing us to a beta site - and what's more, an extremely low-traffic beta site with very few high-rep users. We have roughly 20x that much traffic which means we have to work harder to keep the site on topic. Moreover, despite your answer there arguably not being appropriate for a scientific site (not being supported by any evidence or theoretical principles - and the accumulation of such content is known to make sites less attractive to actual researchers and professionals), at least you answered the question there; that is not the same as responding with discussion.
    – Aaronut
    Apr 27, 2013 at 1:31
  • 1
    The whole issue is whether or not something answers the question - it's as simple as that. It's not about whether something's technical or practical, and it's not about whether you're an expert or an amateur. It really is just "does this answer the question?" If something answers the question in some way, we'll leave it, and let voting decide how useful it is. (Note that if it doesn't usefully answer the question, people will still downvote it.) If it doesn't answer the question at all, we'll delete it.
    – Cascabel Mod
    May 3, 2013 at 5:03

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