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A user just asked and self-answered a question that clearly had major problems; specifically, the user didn't understand that, when self-answering, one must take the time to write the questions and answers in a manner that makes each stand on it's own, as if that person had a real, actual problem and described the problem, what didn't work, what error messages were received, and how the actual output differs from what's expected.

The community initially responded well by closing the post, and rightly so. I also left the following comment after it was clear that the asker didn't quite understand why the post had been closed:

  • This question is too localized. – Hovercraft Full Of Eels

  • @Hovercraft Full Of Eels what do you mean by localized? – Kelli Davis

  • Hi Kelli. I see what you're trying to do here. You're trying to self-answer, and that's awesome! But, the question you ask must still meet the guidelines of a good, objective, Stack Overflow question that clearly describes the problem, what you tried, and what error messages you're getting. The answer must also have some context and explanation, not just be code. The best advice I can give you is to role play when you self-answer. Read that, then come back and make some edits. Good luck! :) – jmort253 7 mins ago

Now, my comment wasn't visible for more than two minutes before 3 users deleted the post, which didn't even give the asker any time to make edits or improvements. This is a new user who wants to be helpful, who doesn't quite understand what we do here, and who arguably may become a good user with the proper encouragement.

Here is a link to the question: How to write a Java program that counts the number of odd, even, and zero digits

Design and implement an application that determines and prints the number of odd, even, and zero digits in an integer value read from the keyboard.

The answer is a huge block of code, but it's possible it could be edited and improved as well.

I just voted to undelete, not because it's a great question but because the asker didn't get an opportunity to try and improve the post, or at least learn something from it.

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5  
I can see why people voted to delete, but I think I agree that it should have at least been given the chance. I've undeleted it for now. –  Andrew Barber Jul 7 '13 at 1:26
2  
I don't even see any question in there at all. It's a requirement given and a program to meet that requirement. There doesn't really seem to be a gem in there that we want to try to pull out. I simply can't see how, through any amount of editing, it's likely to end up being something that'll be useful to future readers. –  Servy Jul 7 '13 at 1:29
    
@Servy - Agreed. There is no question. But there could be, given a little time and education. Even if we waited an hour, that would have at least given the op a chance to think "Riiight... I did have a problem that led me to this solution! I'll edit to describe why." Most likely, there wouldn't be anything to edit, but at least the op would learn something before deleting it. Hope this helps. –  jmort253 Jul 7 '13 at 1:35

1 Answer 1

Personally I think that question has zero value. The "problem" that it is about is an artificial one, it's a textbook problem (i.e. it's homework). It's a ready made answer for anyone who can type a few words into Google. It's too localised because it is only of use to the people doing that particular course of study.

I'm all for giving new users a chance to tidy stuff up, but even if that question/answer is tidied up it is still subject to the other close reasons. It has been heavily down voted. Is there any point at all keeping closed (on hold) questions that have that many down votes? I think this one is beyond reprieve?

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3  
Why rush to delete it? If it's closed and that heavily down voted, it will be auto-deleted eventually anyway, won't it? Why not give the OP at least an hour or two to rework it, even if that proves impossible? –  joran Jul 7 '13 at 1:49
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My main purpose in bringing this up is in the educational value that the comments and close reason provide to the asker. We lose opportunities to convert good users when we delete things too quickly, especially when the user took the time to set a real username and read enough about the site to know there is a self-answer function. With that said, I can't disagree that the question has major problems, just that we didn't give the op time to really soak in what was happening. Closing should be educational in addition to keeping the site clean. Hope this helps clarify. –  jmort253 Jul 7 '13 at 1:53

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