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As I spend more time in the review panel, I notice more and more users who ask questions and then answer and accept that answer, which is just some bogus reply that doesn't answer the question but simply states that the "problem has gone away" because they either used something else or did something irrelevant to the issue that happened to solve the question.

This question isn't the best example, but it is the one that got me thinking and therefore the one I can find: Visual Studio Debugger Issues - The answer states:

Well I never ended up finding any resolution to this issue. I got an SSD and reformatted, so the issue went away.

Should this be considered an answer, or should the question just be closed as too localized since they are no longer seeking an answer to the question?

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Very loosely related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/45714/… –  The Unhandled Exception Dec 7 '11 at 22:43

4 Answers 4

up vote 14 down vote accepted

That example is not an answer. If that sort of thing is the only answer to a question, the whole question can be closed as "too localized." If other people have taken the time to answer, we can just delete the non-answer.

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1  
So just delete the useless answer instead of closing it as too localized. Or make it a comment, better. Other users have had this problem too, as stated in the comments, it just hasn't been diagnosed yet. And won't be if nobody can answer anymore. –  Uphill Luge Dec 7 '11 at 20:49
    
@UphillLuge Fair enough. –  Bill the Lizard Dec 7 '11 at 20:51

If the answer just says "the problem has gone away" or something similar on the lines of "I am not using [X] anymore and I am not anymore interested on the solution" then the question is a possible candidate to the questions closed as "too localized." Saying that the problem has gone away is not helpful at all for the future readers, who are left hoping that for some miracle the same thing happens to them.

I can understand users are now worried to have consequences for deleting their own questions, but those questions are not useful at all.

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This is definitely an interesting challenge to the cardinal rule that accepting an answer is entirely subjective and at the full discretion of the asker. I don't see how we could say "no, this shouldn't be the accepted answer" and still be able to state the former with a straight face.

This sounds like a good example of how accepting an answer critically differs from the score of the answer. You'd certainly be justified in down-voting this answer because it's not a good answer. It probably doesn't provide value to someone else facing the same problem, it doesn't really contain useful information, it's very localized, etc.

For me, this represents a deeper issue whereby new users who happen by via a Google search may see that green check mark and not know how to fully reconcile it against a negative score. Hopefully that user would look around, visit meta or chat, and generally ask what those things mean. But it occurs to me that down-voting is, from the community's perspective, the correct way to approach the issue.

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It depends on the quality of the question and its possible future relevance.

If the question is extremely vague about the symptoms ("When I start Visual Studio, after ten minutes, I get a blue screen") the question is probably worthless, and should be deleted.

If it is very specific in its symptoms and reproducibility ("On Ubuntu 11.2, when restarting Apache 2.1.4 after an update from 2.1.2, I get a mysterious 'worker aborted' message"), it may be worth leaving open for future generations encountering the problem.

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Too specific, and it could easily be considered "too localized". –  cHao Dec 7 '11 at 20:37
    
@cHao not if the underlying problem is a generic one. But that's usually hard if not impossible to tell, agreed –  Pëkka Dec 7 '11 at 20:38

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