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What is the appropriate measure for speculative or non-constructive questions? Should one just vote the questions to be closed or should one also proactively suggest users to stop discussing/answering the question if even their answers are similar to guesses?

To give you a context, please see the comments to the following answer:

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This isn't about a speculative question. It's about a speculative answer. As long as definitive answer exists and is reasonably likely to be found, it's probably an OK question. – Nicol Bolas Feb 9 '12 at 22:50
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Strictly speaking, comments should be used to clarify, which I think happened here. But I don't see much point in discouraging people (via comments) from answering questions.

Users of Stack Overflow are free to answer any question they see fit to answer. In turn, other users are free to downvote such an answer, and/or vote to close the question, as long as such actions are not abusive. Users receiving downvotes on their answers have to decide if it's worth their while to answer such questions, or improve the quality of their answers overall.

If the OP is willing to get downvoted, closed, question-banned or suspended, they are free to continue to ask off-topic questions. But whether the OP gets an answer to their question or not is really beside the point; the ultimate goal of Stack Overflow is to preserve content that is useful to programmers.

The purpose of closing and deletion is not to prevent the OP from getting answers; it is to remove material that doesn't serve the aim of making the site a better place for programmers to find high-quality answers to their programming questions.

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I was noting that the answer in question was nothing but a guess. The answerer said as much. He did not make any effort to verify that guess.

Your question encourages guesses, but strictly speaking, you want a definitive answer, to figure out how to handle your situation. Guessing about whether FileSystemWatcher is used doesn't help. In my opinion (as I said in my comment: "IMO")

After I made one comment, the answerer updated their answer... with another guess...

...and since, he has updated it again, with more information about what he guesses is used.

Your question is not about FileSystemWatcher, unless someone verifies that's what is being used.

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Essentially your actions were to notify the person who is answering that their work is not helping to answer the question. Fair point. – Sergiy Byelozyorov Feb 9 '12 at 23:46
@Sergiy That was my intent, yes. Kudos, btw, for nipping the discussion in the bud and moving it away from the question. – Andrew Barber Feb 9 '12 at 23:57

Your question was fine. You never know sometimes people get lucky and the person who really knows answers the question.

Answers that are purely speculative are actually quite common (see ). IMHO they're okay as long as they say they are a guess and sometimes a good guess can be helpful.

If you really need a definitive answer you can always provide a bounty.

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