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In other words, when using the search function, should an answer to a question be more visible to a user than the question itself? Which is primary and which is secondary on stackoverflow?

Is a user first searching for their question or is a user first searching for an answer to their question?

If you want to know something on StackOverflow, what is the first thing you should do? Look for your question or look for an answer to your question?

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Umm... I don't understand what you're asking – Doorknob Mar 7 '13 at 22:09
Does it not depend on whether you know the answer to your question or not? – Matt Mar 7 '13 at 22:14
I suppose it would Matt, but the value of searching for the answer to your question knowing the answer already is beyond my intended scope. – kraftydevil Mar 7 '13 at 22:15
To find the answer to your question, you need to first find a similar question. 99.9% of the answers on the site are not answering the right question in that case! – Martijn Pieters Mar 7 '13 at 22:22
@MartijnPieters - if that's the case then why is it acceptable? – kraftydevil Mar 7 '13 at 22:34
@kraftydevil: Sorry, why is what acceptable? I meant to point out that you need to find the a similar question, because if you are trying to solve a JavaScript problem, why look at the C# answers? – Martijn Pieters Mar 7 '13 at 22:36
I think I get what you meant now, thank you. What I meant depended on an incorrect assumption I was making so please nevermind my mistake. – kraftydevil Mar 8 '13 at 5:44

3 Answers 3

How will you know whether a particular answer will solve your problem if you don't know what problem it's an answer for?

Remember Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy? The answer to the ultimate question was 42 but that didn't help because nobody knew what the question was.

on a more serious note yes the question should be more visible and attention drawing. That's how you filter useful threads from non-useful ones. If the problem in the question is the same problem as the one that you're having.

You know what your question is, and you are actively comparing your question to other questions before you even think to look at the answers.

If it is the same question, then it's plenty easy to look below the question, where the answers are, to get the information that you need.

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+42 for referencing the guide – Tchoupi Mar 7 '13 at 23:34

Since you don't know what the answer to your problem is, you can't exactly search for it. You first search for your question and see if it has been asked before. Then you can locate answers to it.

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They are both important. That's why there can be two best answers:

  • one accepted by the OP.
  • one upvoted to the top by the community.

Stackoverflow wants to collect questions that have a lasting value for other users.

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The criteria you described doesn't fit what a user sees when using the search function. The accepted and community answers are not explicitly defined in search. This confusion may be my fault so I will edit my question to make it clear that I'm talking about the search function. Thank you for helping me make it more clear. – kraftydevil Mar 8 '13 at 7:04

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