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On certain occasions people will ask questions wherein they lay their own perception of what went wrong.
The user is then notified through comments that the question is misplaced and that it is better to post a new question, with correct assumptions. I have not experienced this a lot, but most recently in: externalizing groupplots where the user thought that the question was related to something that had nothing to do with it.

This was very legit, however, the answer to the question was in an entirely different subject. The user correctly posted a new question to which the answer was given: References in externalized pgfplots.

Notice that this has nothing to do with conceptually wrong implementations of software, but mainly that their assumptions on the error is wrong.

This yields the old question obsolete, and in some cases misleading as there is no answer and that any other finder of the question needs to read the comment in order to figure out that they are on the wrong track.

The moderators had closed the wrong question as being too localized, however, I find the question as wrong, and in best case will only lead people to a dead end.

I posted this as question here: Remove questions which are wrong. Where I was guided to SO meta.

So the questions are:

  1. How does the search engine deal with these kind of questions, closed, but still not classified as erroneous in assumptions?
  2. At the moment a link to the wrong question pops up in the related window of the correct question, albeit at the bottom. However, is it down-prioritised when people search for such keywords?
  3. Should there/is there a policy to edit the question and describe the problem of the question? So that people who find the question is told that the problem does not reside in what is being described?
  4. Should it instead be deleted?
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1 Answer 1

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How does the search engine deal with these kind of questions, closed, but still not classified as erroneous in assumptions?

Basically, these questions are treated the same as any other. In your specific example, I don't think it's a big deal that the initial assumptions were wrong. If someone else out there makes the same assumptions and finds that question, they'll see it's closed and (hopefully) reconsider their line of thought.

If they're looking for the "right" question and find this one, that can be more problematic, but the search engines should serve up the right version as well. Failing that, the right version of the question is linked from the sidebar.

At the moment a link to the wrong question pops up in the related window of the correct question, albeit at the bottom. However, is it down-prioritised when people search for such keywords?

No idea. Probably not. Stack Exchange doesn't have any control over how search engines work and what they will prioritize.

Should there/is there a policy to edit the question and describe the problem of the question? So that people who find the question is told that the problem does not reside in what is being described?

The normal approach to a closed question is to edit it to make it better.

Sometimes that doesn't work. For example, when the question receives so many downvotes that it's unlikely that the edited version would receive appropriate attention. In this case, I think the original should've been edited and comments cleaned up instead of posting a completely new question.

Should it instead be deleted?

Sure. If a question is too localized (or off-topic or "not a real question", etc.), isn't going to be edited, and isn't going to help anyone else, it's completely reasonable to delete it. There are several ways for that to happen:

  • The asker can delete it if there are no answers (which is the case here).
  • Users with 10k rep can vote to delete a question after it's been up for 2 days.
  • Users with 20k rep can vote to delete the question immediately.
  • Moderators can delete it at any time.
  • Depending on the question, automatic deletion will kick in as well.

To sum up, the editing tools we have are what's supposed to help us avoid ending up in a situation where we have a "wrong" question with the "right" answers. In this case, the asker opted to ask a new question instead of editing the original, which is still fine. The original can be cleaned up (you can flag it for deletion on TeX), but even if it's not, it shouldn't cause any serious harm.

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