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When looking at this question I see that it should probably be closed. It's written as an XY question (mongoDB vs. hadoop) when what he really wants to know (but doesn't know it yet) is how to use mongoDB and hadoop together to solve his problem. Do I:

  1. flag the question as inappropriate
  2. tell him to close it and open a new question (and give him the wording to use), or
  3. Just edit his question and completely change it to the question he's really getting at
  4. Just ignore his question and tell him what he needs to know

My problem is that I'm not a mongoDB expert and so I can't do (4) and even if I did, someone will probably flag the question as being inappropriate anyway.

So what's the right thing to do here?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Option 2 is probably the best choice here. Telling him changes need to be made gives him the opportunity to learn something useful which could cause the quality of his question to go up in the future.

Option 1 is a good choice too. Flagging the question/getting it closed means one less poor question.

Option 3 will NOT help anyone (maybe except for you b/c of the 2 rep) - edits are meant for small changes and not rewrites.

Option 4 is also OK - in the fact that you can completely ignore the question and move on. I'm not saying this is the best option (choices 1 and 2 are better since they contribute to SO), but making this choice will cause you to not harm anyone (as opposed to choice 3).

Downvoting a question like this is also good, it let's everyone know the question is bad, and the loss of reputation to the user (if not 1) may "shock" him into asking better questions/improving this question. When I was newer here, this has happened to me.

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You should not edit a question to completely change its meaning; if the user asked "X versus Y," you cannot change it to "How do I integrate X with Y?"

What you can do it flagging the question to be closed (flag > it doesn't belong here, or it is a duplicate > reason to close), or vote to close it if you have that privilege.
If there isn't any reason to close the question, but you still think the question is bad, you can down-vote it.

Whatever you do, you could also suggest the user to ask a different question, if you think it is more relevant to the OP. Whenever possible, we should teach to the new users what question is preferable, and why a question is going to be closed.

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The "right" thing to do is to not involve yourself in sarcastic commentary; it's to vote to close the question, if you think it should be closed. As you don't have enough reputation to do this you should flag it for moderator attention using whatever close reason you deem appropriate.

Then leave it alone.

If you feel that you have to comment then maybe something like this:

Hi, generally this type of question is "not constructive" as your question is extremely broad and doesn't have a canonical answer. Can you edit your question to be more specific?

On the other side, the comment this should be on programmers is definitely not the way to go :-).

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