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We've all been there, after hours or days struggling with a problem the solution finally presents itself. We rejoice an add the answer to the stackoverflow question that we posted so that if anyone else runs into they won't have to suffer like we did.

Oh but wait... what's this... that didn't fix it. Ah now we see the problem. Ok so we'll post that answer.

Finally someone comes along and puts us out of our misery and actually gives the answer that helps yay!

So the first two do indeed directly answer the question so you can't flag it as "not an answer". Multiple answers on a question are permitted so nothing wrong there. Still this doesn't seem to "make the internet better"

So what do I do when I see this? Flag the question? Flag the not-really-an-answer answers? Nothing at all? If I do flag it what flag do I use?

Here's some more examples

tIdHttpServer - EidConnClosed before sending a reply to POST

Please help with smarty template error

Checking inside of the div tag with innerhtml in javascript?

Changing click to skip gallery to sliding photo gallery?

moving data between processes

listview null values

How to Automatically Create ImageMaps of Grey Maps from Wikipedia?

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Just to clarify - are we talking about what to do when encountering someone else's mutliple self-answers, or our own? –  Paul Bellora Sep 14 '11 at 4:22
    
Sorry I was trying to be cute. I meant what do we do when we encounter this –  Some Helpful Commenter Sep 14 '11 at 5:00
    
Lol, I figured, it's just the transition between 3rd and 4th paragraphs is hilariously smooth. It would be a funny question - How do I clean up messes that I myself create? –  Paul Bellora Sep 14 '11 at 5:06

2 Answers 2

Just glancing through your examples, in the case where the answer is something like

FOUND IT: code

EDIT: never mind, this doesn't work

Then this seems like it could be Not an Answer, but arguably should just be downvoted instead, which should clue in the OP to delete it on their own. As for answers that do provide helpful information, but don't by themselves solve, there are many posts like these by non-OP's across SO, so it doesn't seem correct or worthwhile to flag them.

I think the first reasonable option is actually leaving comments under the answers, nudging the OP to "consider moving this to an update to your question" etc. - especially if the post is recent.

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So what do I do when I see this? Flag the question? Flag the not-really-an-answer answers? Nothing at all? If I do flag it what flag do I use?

If you can figure out which was the answer that worked, then move all the other non-answers to the accepted answer with wording indicating:

This is what I tried:

- Solution A: Fails at x
- Solution B: Fails at y
- Solution C: Fails at z

And then flag any of the non-answers and describe saying that answer x,y,z ( with links to them) are non answers and have been moved.

This is what generally we do at Super User and it works well - and I have specifically mentioned to flag only once, else the pile-on of flags just obscures the answer.

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