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Question in question: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/14072627

I asked a question on StackOverflow asking what the mod (modulus) operator is in C#. I had asked a very similar question about VB way back when, and I was planning to link them in a comment in case someone came across one and was looking for the other. Also, below the Post Your Question button is a checkbox to answer your own question share your knowledge, Q&A-style (which I didn't use), so I did not realize that there would be a problem.

Once I posted the question, I was quickly jumped on for not searching online rather than asking here, and was told that I should at least know to search since I had three gold badges and 1k rep. I realize that I acted very naive, and should have known, which I did, but I hadn't meant it that way. I could have used that checkbox, but I've had people scold me for doing that as well, so I thought I would just let someone else answer the question.

I meant it to be a FAQ question. I could have answered it myself, but didn't want to take all the rep for a simple question that I knew would be voted up if it didn't flop (which it did :). There isn't a community wiki button anymore.

So here's my side of the story. What should I have done different? Should I have given the answer at the same time?

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"I meant it to be a FAQ question" -- then you should have mentioned this when you created it. A quote block at the top in big bold letters usually does the trick. –  Charles Dec 28 '12 at 20:18
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Did you see all of the comments below your question? The community was perceiving it as a "General Reference" question, easily answered with any number of already-existing online resources. This Google Search yields the canonical resource as the first search result. –  Robert Harvey Dec 28 '12 at 20:25
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@Charles I disagree. Such a question is still of very, very low value on SO, and I most certainly would downvote it, even if it's intention was clear. If you want to self answer questions on SO you should do it for something that's not trivially easy to find already. –  Servy Dec 28 '12 at 20:28
    
@RobertHarvey, I did, which was why I asked what I should have done different. –  Arlen Beiler Dec 28 '12 at 20:28
    
@Servy Oh, I'm not saying it's a good question or should not have been closed, I'm saying that if he meant it to be a FAQ or canonical question for close vote targeting purposes, then he utterly failed at communicating that. –  Charles Dec 28 '12 at 20:29
    
Thanks guys, I think this helps. –  Arlen Beiler Dec 28 '12 at 20:31
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@Charles In addition to being a bad question, if you want a question to be a FAQ/canonical question you shouldn't state so in the question. If it's a question that should be downvoted/closed without such a disclaimer it's a question that should be downvoted/closed with such a disclaimer. It should just be a good question with good answers that's so good people choose to link to it a lot. The intention of the question asker is irrelevant in this case. –  Servy Dec 28 '12 at 20:31
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@ArlenBeiler I just wanted to note that I appreciate your intent and to thank you for coming to meta with a constructive inquiry. Thanks! –  Anna Lear Dec 28 '12 at 20:32
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Yeah, +1 for coming here and asking! On the general subject of General Reference questions and why they're mostly not a good idea, here is some current reading: General Reference questions create low-quality dead ends for Googlers –  Pëkka Dec 28 '12 at 20:38
    
Your welcome :) Thanks for the link Pekka. –  Arlen Beiler Dec 28 '12 at 20:40

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The only proper answer - and I suspect this is not what you want to hear - is that you should have not asked the question.

Remember, Stack Overflow is meant for expert-level Q&A: for those tricky questions that really stump good developers. (I know this isn't most of what gets asked in practice, but it still is the intent.) It isn't meant to duplicate all the general reference information on programming languages that can be found elsewhere on the web.

Accordingly, if the answer to a question is available on another website, and if finding it is a simple matter of plugging the question into Google and looking at the first 5 or so results, then don't ask it on Stack Overflow. Let the site that already has that information be the place people go to find the answer.

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Exactly this. From a comment to that question: Google "c# mod operator" and it's the first hit. Nuff said. –  Pëkka Dec 28 '12 at 20:27
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@Pekka I would think my profile would come up if you Googled that... –  casperOne Dec 28 '12 at 22:23
    
@Jolly lol ---- –  Pëkka Dec 28 '12 at 22:28

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