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I asked a question on StackOverflow, and later discovered that what I thought was happening wasn't; because of this, my question was inaccurate and irrelevant to the issue. What should I do to the question? Should I delete it?

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Ask people to downvote your question. :P –  Asad Dec 4 '12 at 19:16

2 Answers 2

Delete it is the way to go. There is no need to keep invalid questions on the site.

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It may not be possible if there is an answer with a score of 1 or more. –  Servy Dec 4 '12 at 19:19
    
Deleting questions made within the past 30 days is also one of the things that counts towards question bans. If the question is new, deleting it should be avoided. –  Charles Dec 4 '12 at 21:42
    
If it's a single mistake that is deleted, that is just an advantage. It's not like someone is asking bad questions every day... –  Bo Persson Dec 4 '12 at 22:59

You should write an answer to the question describing what the resolution was. Either explain what the false assumptions were, what information was missing from the question, what error you made in diagnosing/replicating the problem, what seemingly unrelated event changed to fix the problem, etc.

You should mark the answer that you've written as the accepted answer because it is the solution that you're actually using, and it will help emphasize to future viewers what actually happened.

Given that, by definition, the question clearly wasn't answerable, it should also probably be closed as "not a real question" or "too localized". You could, if you wanted, flag the question for moderator attention, use the "other" reason, and ask that the question be closed on that basis.

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I thought answering your own question was kind of frowned upon –  richs Dec 4 '12 at 19:30
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@richs No, it is not. It's hard to do well though. Often when people start asking a question intending to answer it themselves that question tends to be of low quality (even if the answer is not) but in cases like this, where you post a question you honestly don't know the answer to, and then post an answer you've found after doing your own work, it's the type of situation I've found to result in the highest quality of self-answered question. (That's just anecdotal evidence, both are still perfectly acceptable.) –  Servy Dec 4 '12 at 19:33

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