Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 157 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

I just came upon this answer by the OP of this question:

Sorry for this, I actually see now that me problem was from something ells in my app and not what I was thinking it is. Sorry for wasting time

That's it. No explanation, no additional information, nothing. This answer came after a round of edits in the question that may or may have not invalidated the answers already posted - I am not qualified to judge, but there are some complaints in the comments about this, which may have prompted the apology in the last sentence.

What, if anything, should I do in cases like this, where the OP of the question answers with an otherwise useless "sorry, my bad" post?

  • Flag the answer as "Not an answer"

    The "answer" is most certainly not an answer, since apparently there was no question in the first place. At least, it is not an answer that could help future readers solve a similar problem. It also contains no additional information of any kind. On the other hand, it does provide a form of closure to this thread, even if it is an answer of the PICNIC variety.

  • Vote for the question to be closed

    Done, as suggested here - in my opinion, the question wasn't elaborate enough to worth salvaging.

  • Flag the whole question and ask for deletion

    The OP admitted that the problem was elsewhere, which invalidates the question and turns it into noise. In addition, future readers might get misled if they do not notice that final post by the OP. Yet, there are two answers that may be useful to them.

  • Add a comment asking the OP to delete the question

    This was suggested here, but its does have the same potential issues as flagging the whole question - the only thing that changes is who would do the deletion.

  • Leave it alone

    Well, there's always the easy way out :-)

share|improve this question
@PopularDemand: I already saw that one :-) The problem here is that the self-answer practically invalidates the question, making it unanswerable. – thkala Dec 9 '11 at 22:02
Well, apparently alternative (n + 1) is to post on Meta hoping to harvest close votes... – thkala Dec 9 '11 at 22:16
Yeah... but if you do that too often, you'll find the close votes being aimed at your posts. – Pops Dec 9 '11 at 22:17
@PopularDemand: well, I expect my rate of meta-questions to go down as I get more familiar with the intricacies of reviewing :-) – thkala Dec 9 '11 at 22:28
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Vote to close as Too Localized. He had a problem (possibly not what he described), found a solution (not given), and the posts can't ever help anyone else. It's localized to him and that reason fits perfectly.

The answer is an answer, even if it's terrible a detail-free. Not An Answer is reserved for things that are entirely unrelated, for things that should be comments, additional questions, and so on, not bad answers.

The question doesn't need to be deleted unless it's actively harming the site. Examples of questions that need to be deleted (or at least locked with a warning):

  • Wildly upvoted questions that are nonetheless off-topic (they encourage more of the same)
  • Questions that have sparked flame wars that won't cool down
  • Spam, downright offensive crap, illegal activities
share|improve this answer
+1 for "The question doesn't need to be deleted unless it's actively harming the site". That's actually a pretty good guideline - is it mentioned (semi-)officially somewhere? – thkala Dec 9 '11 at 22:07
@thkala I'm not actually sure. I just kind of picked it up through observation I guess :P – Matthew Read Dec 9 '11 at 22:12

You must log in to answer this question.

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