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I don't want to give the link because you may vote down if you see the answer. The answer is totally useless and not related to my question. However, I can confirm that the author spent a lot of time on his answer. What should I do to recognize this (useless) contribution?

I have thought of four choices:

  1. Do nothing.
  2. Vote the answer up to thank him for spending his time.
  3. Vote the answer down, because useless it's useless.
  4. Leave a comment to thank him for spending the time, but tell him that his answer is totally useless.

I think 4th option is good, but it's too rude!

share|improve this question
Without further details it's hard to judge into what category that answer falls. – Time Traveling Bobby Dec 15 '11 at 13:22
Links, or it didn't happen =) If it's an incorrect answer it will get downvoted anyway (and should!) – jadarnel27 Dec 15 '11 at 13:24
I think I would better understand your question if I could read his question. I promise I won't -1 it :) – Gabe Dec 15 '11 at 13:37
@MarcGravell Thanks, fixed. To Bobby and jadarnel: I'm asking a solution to a algorithm, and he just gave me a long explanation with, most of them, are out of topic. – DatVM Dec 15 '11 at 13:59
I can give example:… - the "answer" explaining very well what lag compensation is, but completely ignoring specific question I've asked. I chose option 4. – vartec Dec 15 '11 at 15:49
up vote 12 down vote accepted

I suspect I know the answer you mean; assuming so, I would suggest a comment explaining how a: it has misunderstood the question, and b: the result of their answer doesn't match the stated requirements from the question.

As it happens, I have also downvoted it, because it so much doesn't address the question that it is noise and therefore subtracts value (in particular, the time of people reading it, and the resultant head-scratching).

So I vote 4 and 3. It isn't rude to point out what is obviously a misunderstanding.

NOT 2. Anything but 2.

Update: and now I believe the user has deleted their answer, removing the "noise"; yet because of the comment they could see what the downvote was about, and how they had misinterpreted the question. Ends well, IMO.

share|improve this answer
LOL, you're genius. He was -1 by someone, so I +1 him, and now that answer gone. Maybe he realise that his answer content was mostly off-topic. – DatVM Dec 15 '11 at 14:01
@W.N.: Do not pity-upvote stuff... – Time Traveling Bobby Dec 15 '11 at 15:26

I would leave a comment explaining why you can't give his well-thought question a good answer. And I wouldn't upvote or downvote, since you said that he put some effort into the question.

share|improve this answer
While it may be true that they put effort into it, please look at what the caption on the downvote is; it is "This answer is not useful". Seems like it describes this example... – Marc Gravell Dec 15 '11 at 13:59
Even so, I only down vote bad questions. If the asker put a lot of effort into a question, but its still a useless question and they do not understand why, I would not down vote. Depends on the question, which in this situation I cannot read the question so I am unsure of how I would vote. – Gabe Dec 15 '11 at 14:01
(we're talking answers, not questions, no?) – Marc Gravell Dec 15 '11 at 14:09
@MarcGravell Oh my god... I read the question wrong.. Either way, I would respond to it the same, in fact if it was a useless answer that had a lot of effort put in it, I wouldn't downvote ^_^ – Gabe Dec 15 '11 at 14:20
@Gabe -- I would (and do) absolutely downvote a useless answer. The point of upvoting and downvoting is not to give or remove rep or to make people feel good. The point is to make sure that the useful answers are easy to find. Downvoting non-useful answers is part of how we do that. – Jacob Mattison Dec 15 '11 at 15:15

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