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Suppose someone asks a question on Stack Overflow, and after posting and working on the problem some more that person realizes there actually was not a problem at all but it was only their misunderstanding or lack of attention.

So, what should they do then? Deleting a question might ban them from asking a question again for some time. Also, when another user who wants to give an answer asks for details, what should the OP reply if there was no problem at all?

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If the problem has been resolved and there is no need for that question to stay public, it may be deleted by the original poster. Limitations on posting frequency start working the moment the question is posted, and will not prolong if it is then deleted (at least I think so). –  user1306322 Jan 19 '13 at 11:37
    
@user1306322: I am not saying about Limitations on posting frequency but I said about the ban which user gets on deleting the question. –  ganesh Jan 19 '13 at 12:11

3 Answers 3

If you have the rep for it, you can vote to close such questions as "too localized". (Yes, apparently you can even vote to close your own questions, although just deleting it may be easier in such cases.)

If you don't have the rep to cast an actual close vote yet, you can still flag the question instead. When flagging, the "too localized" option is hidden behind "it doesn't belong here, or it is a duplicate", but it's there.

The actual meaning of "too localized" has been the subject of much debate and confusion, but IMO situations like this — where the correct answer is simply for the OP to fix an incidental mistake that has nothing to do with the actual topic of the question — are a perfect fit for it. Nobody's ever going to search for, say, "How to parse XML in Perl?", find an answer that says "Just fix the typo in the file name," and think "Oh, wow, that was my problem too!"

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There is no immediate ban if you delete your own question. There is a ban if you are observed behaving like this often. If this happens to someone a lot of times, they should take a step back and perhaps not be so hasty to post a question as soon as they hit a problem.

I think this is the logic behind a ban/suspension due to self deletion or self vandalism (as might be the case).

So if you find yourself wanting to delete a post of yours because you've found a solution and realized the question was too localized to help anyone in the future, go right ahead. As long as this doesn't happen often there shouldn't be any problem.

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Once I had posted a question on SO and it got some downvotes, So I deleted that question and I got banned. That was the only question I deleted ever. –  ganesh Jan 19 '13 at 12:33
    
Then there might have been other circumstances perhaps you were not aware of at the time. I don't think you would get banned for deleting only one question - I've deleted my questions before and never got banned for it. –  Lix Jan 19 '13 at 12:34

Asking a "wrong question" is not necessarily a bad thing.

In this context, you've defined "wrong question" to mean "a question which doesn't address the OP's problem".

While it's unfortunate that this "wrong question" may not in fact solve the OP's problem, do realize that other (if not, many) people may be experiencing the problem which the "wrong question" addresses. Emphasis: Other people may benefit from seeing the answers to the "wrong question".

With this in mind, my advice is:

  • Don't delete the wrong question.
    • It may help other people.
  • Simply ask another question which is better phrased and more targeted to your underlying problem.
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