Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

Where is the option to flag your question to indicate you are not interested in suggestions or workarounds?

share|improve this question
How does this help future visitors to the question? Why can't you ignore the answers that don't help you, for whatever reason? – Some Helpful Commenter Sep 12 '11 at 16:57
Because I want an answer to my question not a hundred suggestions of how I can work around the problem. When I ask for a hammer and someone says use the end of the screwdriver it's wasting my time. – 1.21 gigawatts Sep 12 '11 at 17:17
SO is not solely for you. Answers are intended to help people long after you've posted your question. This is pretty core to SO's mission. – Michael Petrotta Sep 12 '11 at 17:21
The community is very helpful. I'm glad for that. But I'm the people that you're talking about! I'm the one who has come to the site to find answers. And I've read through the replies and sometimes they are helpful and other times they are unhelpful. Sometimes the question is of the nature that you want the answer to the question. – 1.21 gigawatts Sep 12 '11 at 17:46
"I'm the people that you're talking about!" No. You are one of the people that we're talking about. – Jack Maney Sep 12 '11 at 17:48
Let me give you another example, if I need the formula for converting millimeters to inches it's not up for debate. There are people that don't know the equation who say things like "why do you need to use that system?" don't you know it's outdated? Some people will flippantly link to a online converter program without thinking. Why I'm using it or need it is none of their business (unless I choose to share it) and 2 if they aren't helping they're wasting my time which to me is precious. I want to cut down these type of answers. – 1.21 gigawatts Sep 12 '11 at 18:00
Don't try to install screws with a hammer then. – JNK Sep 12 '11 at 18:01
You have 32 answers for your 26 questions. That's < 2 per answer. It would seem pretty easy to ignore the answer you got that didn't help. If you're not happy with the answers you did get you might want to try the bounty system. – Some Helpful Commenter Sep 12 '11 at 18:11
The solving of a significant problem--in mathematics, in software development, or elsewhere--has many possible paths to a solution. If you persist in standing on a soap-box and preaching about The One True Way to solve whatever problem you're working on, then that's your prerogative. – Jack Maney Sep 12 '11 at 18:12
@1.21gigawatts: There's a huge difference between non-answers and people who are providing legitimate alternatives that meet your requirements. Also, your attitude on the subject will achieve nothing but to dissuade people from helping you. I understand your frustration, but sometimes you have to say "Thanks, but I have to do it the other way; it is beyond my control." Think honey, not vinegar. – Won't Sep 12 '11 at 18:12
@Jack - The first time I heard someone say they weren't interested in other helpful alternative answers or workarounds I was put off and offended. I thought they had an "attitude". I thought they didn't appreciate the time I had spent to help them. I don't expect you to understand but no one has offered to say, "hey let's try and see it from your perspective". It sounds selfish and inflexible. I'm saying that by the time I post here on SO I've exhausted all my resources (forums, web, blogs, etc) and because SO has a great number of people that know what I'm asking for. – 1.21 gigawatts Sep 12 '11 at 20:53
@Won't - I feel like everyone wants me to give this up because it is a "bad idea". Here is a legitimate post with a legitimate question. No workarounds will work since I'm using an XML parser. Instead of getting a yes or no answer I get someone telling me it's not the right way to do it. I get their "preference" or their college professors preference. They have no idea why I'm doing what I'm doing but they are telling me it's not the right way to do it. It turned into a philosophical discussion about it in the comments. – 1.21 gigawatts Sep 12 '11 at 21:07
@Won't - However I will take your advice and try going the polite route again if you acknowledge I'm frustrated by this thing. – 1.21 gigawatts Sep 12 '11 at 21:13
@1.21 I'm guessing the reason Amy gave you a workaround was because, as drkstr explained, what you were trying to do is impossible. I don't think anyone was giving you their college professor's preference; they were giving you a way to accomplish what you want to do. That's sort of the point to this site. – Adam Rackis Sep 12 '11 at 22:49

I'd say I'm sure this one will be declined.

Adding a simple

Please, I'm not looking for workarounds but solution to current problem. I know I could do it with XX, but I do not want to do so now.

is probably enough

share|improve this answer
I don't think you understand the frustration I have from this issue. When you say "why don't you add a comment to every single post" you are offering a helpful workaround to the issue but not really helping me. I already know I can do that. – 1.21 gigawatts Sep 12 '11 at 17:08
@1.21gigawatts: that's why you have to say "Are there any different ways to do this, except XX? – genesis Sep 12 '11 at 17:14
Let's say you asked me how to add a drop shadow dynamically to an image in an HTML page. Then I say why do you need it dynamically? Why can't you go into photoshop and add it there. And you say that your requirement is to apply it dynamically and that you don't know ahead of time what that image will be. Then let's say 5 more people respond with the same type of answers. Add to fact that you know it can be done but you don't have the exact code to make it work. Expand this same experience every time you post a question. Then add in deadlines. – 1.21 gigawatts Sep 12 '11 at 17:26
If you have a deadline, go hire somebody. Stack Overflow is not about deadlines, we're not here to make sure you keep your job. SO is about documenting questions and answers for you and all future users of the site. Using SO to find answers to mission-critical, time-sensitive problems is like citing Wikipedia for an academic paper. – meagar Sep 12 '11 at 17:29
@1.21 gigawatts: Maybe would be more suitable for your needs? – Jack Maney Sep 12 '11 at 17:30
I'm still frustrated even when there isn't a deadline. I would be really happy if there was a checkbox I could check for this. – 1.21 gigawatts Sep 12 '11 at 17:40
@1.21: there won't be. Start listening to what's being explained here. Embrace the SO model, even! – Michael Petrotta Sep 12 '11 at 17:42
@1.21gigawatts: as I said, I see no reason for that. Just do the thing I gave you in my answer – genesis Sep 12 '11 at 17:42
If we suppose that your suggestion is a good idea (it isn't), then how would you propose implementing it? Other than mandating moderator intervention (which I'm sure would just thrill the moderators to no end), the only other solution I can think of would involve a natural language processing algorithm that would scan the tags of the question, scan the answers, and try to semantically determine whether or not the answers were "workarounds". False positives and false negatives would be prettymuch inevitable, requiring a lot of moderator intervention anyways, which would lead to burnout. – Jack Maney Sep 12 '11 at 17:46
Thank you for your honesty :) It made me laugh at this. I know how this sounds like heresy. And how it's depriving future visitors of workarounds or alternative suggestions. But I don't expect moderators to enforce this. I'm sure they feel they will have to but I have zero expectation for this. All I want is to indicate to the reader that in this specific question it is not helpful to me to have suggestions or workarounds. All it needs to be is a note or text or something that indicates that. If I get workarounds after that's fine. What I'm going for is to cut down the majority. – 1.21 gigawatts Sep 12 '11 at 17:53
Well, you can always downvote answers that you find unhelpful. – Jack Maney Sep 12 '11 at 17:56
@JackManey: he can't. – genesis Sep 12 '11 at 17:58
Well, he can't here, but he can on SO. – Jack Maney Sep 12 '11 at 17:58
@JackManey: ah sorry. I have meant that you tell him to dowvnote me – genesis Sep 12 '11 at 19:17
@genesis: No worries. – Jack Maney Sep 12 '11 at 19:21

One of the biggest benefits of having a resource like StackOverflow is to document ways to fix a certain problem. You may not be interested in Workarounds or Suggestions but there may be future users that come upon your question who ARE interested in workarounds or other suggestions. That's the beauty of SO.

Further... the voting mechanisms of SO typically do a good job of weeding good suggestions and workarounds from bad. The real "waste of time" responses usually get deleted or booted. So, you're left with decent options that have been vetted by a community of knowledgeable folks.

share|improve this answer
"You may not be interested in workarounds..." well than how is SO helpful for me? If I want to know how to make a pepperoni pizza and people respond with how to make a sausage pizza how is that helpful to me? If I'm that visitor who later is searching SO for how to make a pepperoni pizza and I see a response on how to make a sausage pizza that doesn't help me. – 1.21 gigawatts Sep 12 '11 at 17:15
Perhaps you should consider that SO may be helpful for people other than you. – Jack Maney Sep 12 '11 at 17:21
I'm well aware of that. But there is a difference between a workaround and the correct answer. If there is a bug in the software and people post a workaround it may help other people apply that work around but it does not fix the root of problem. If you don't get to the root of a weed it keeps growing back. I have some questions that I need to know how to uproot. I would love to help the community but I would still like to have the option to decide for myself. – 1.21 gigawatts Sep 12 '11 at 17:31
What is "the" correct answer? TIMTOWTDI! – Jack Maney Sep 12 '11 at 17:33
Well, if you are doing math there is a correct answer and incorrect answer. If 2+2 ever equals anything other than 4 then I'll drop this issue. – 1.21 gigawatts Sep 12 '11 at 17:35
In the integers mod 3, 2+2==1. :D – Jack Maney Sep 12 '11 at 17:35
(rolls eyes) :) – 1.21 gigawatts Sep 12 '11 at 17:54

There's usually no reason to be so inflexible. As the Perl community says, TIMTOWTDI (there is more than one way to do it)!

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .