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Take a look at this question. It's a really crappy question that (especially for the first revision) really deserves its -4 score.

However, one user has written what (to me, who doesn't know jack about Objective C) looks like a great answer, tutorial style.

Knowing nothing about the topic, I can't really judge this or do anything about it, but I just feel bad that the answerer has gone through some lengths to write up a (seemingly) good answer for a question that hardly anybody will ever look at. I can't even upvote the answer, because I don't know if it's good.

One idea that I had was a "Flag for pro attention" kind of thing that make the question show up in some lists for people that are active in the particular tag(s). However, I think things like that have been discussed before, and not really come to a conclusion. I myself can't think of a good way to accomplish this.

But I also don't want to leave this question rotting there. So how would you handle this and similar cases?

share|improve this question
    
possible duplicate of Good answers to bad questions –  Anderson Green Aug 22 '13 at 14:23
1  
@AndersonGreen: Why did you flag both questions as a duplicate of each other? –  hims056 Aug 22 '13 at 16:32

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

I will generally upvote any answer if it is well written, even if I don't have a lot of knowledge of the problem domain.

So what does "well written" mean? I may not know Obj-C, but I know when ...

  • someone has put together a well-formatted answer
  • someone can write in a clear and direct manner
  • someone has spent a non-trivial amount of time trying to help someone else

Also, this is why the Reversal badge exists!

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You did the only thing that could possibly help: you edit the question such that it no longer deserved the down-votes.

IMHO, the system is working as it should: the problem wasn't the down-votes, it was the crappy question. Even without the down-votes, the chances of someone with a similar problem actually finding the existing question would have been terrible due to the lousy title and lack of tags. Down voting in this case served to de-emphasize what was essentially clutter.

This is an excellent example of why editing is so critical to Stack Overflow... Thanks to your help, a lousy question (and a possibly-wasted answer) have been replaced by a decent one. Treat yourself to a nice big plate of waffles - you deserve it!

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You're giving credit to the wrong person. The only thing I did was removing the "please email the solution to..." part. That's my point: I didn't feel comfortable with editing a question concerning a topic I don't know at all. –  balpha Aug 23 '09 at 18:16
    
@balpha: you're just trying to weasel out of a delicious plate of maple syrup-soaked waffles. Don't be so hard on yourself. Just share some waffles with Eric... –  Shog9 Aug 23 '09 at 18:25
    
No waffles... But my girlfriend is just taking the muffins out of the oven. Wait a minute, why are we talking about food here? –  balpha Aug 23 '09 at 18:26
    
That's what happens when i post during breakfast... Mmm... muffins! goes back to peach pancakes –  Shog9 Aug 23 '09 at 18:29

I think people are too often to downvote and vote to close, particularly in the case of questions from newbies. There's been various discussion topics about being nice to the newbies.

In this case the answerer can't edit the question. If they could that would be the best approach because the answerer in your example answer clearly knows what is meant and should be capable of articulating a better title.

I just shake my head at those 4 downvotes to that question. Honestly theres no need for it. It's a real question with a bad title but titles are only one edit away from being fixed.

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@cletus: Was editing said question when you wrote this, so +1 to you for inadvertently advocating my rogue actions. –  Eric Aug 23 '09 at 10:43
    
@Eric: You mean you didn't ask the OP for permission to edit? goes to call a moderator –  balpha Aug 23 '09 at 10:47

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