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I have just answered a question in which the OP has not put any effort.

I did not find any rules here http://stackoverflow.com/questions/how-to-answer for downvoting spoon feeding answers. Please tell me what should I do? Should I delete my answer?

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marked as duplicate by Martijn Pieters, Undo, ben is uǝq backwards, Hugo Dozois, Shadow Wizard Nov 10 '13 at 15:56

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Did you find any rules at all there for voting? People are free to cast their votes how they see fit. –  Bill the Lizard Nov 9 '13 at 16:26
@BilltheLizard not still not,I am just asking. –  rocking Nov 9 '13 at 16:27
I usually just withold up votes, but people can vote as they see fit –  Richard Tingle Nov 9 '13 at 16:28
Not a dupe of the possible noted. That one is about trivial answers, this is about good answers to poor questions. –  Lance Roberts Nov 10 '13 at 3:55
my answer was removed, –  rocking Nov 10 '13 at 6:50
@LanceRoberts close enough in my opinion, it's the same thing from different direction. However feel free to vote to reopen, won't fight over this. :) –  Shadow Wizard Nov 10 '13 at 15:59
@ShaWizDowArd How can I reopen,its totally not there.Even my reputations also deleted –  rocking Nov 10 '13 at 16:00
@rocking assuming you mean the question you answered on Stack Overflow, it was removed due to being so bad (the question itself). Nothing we can or should do. My advice is just don't answer such questions in the first place. –  Shadow Wizard Nov 10 '13 at 16:01
@ShaWizDowArd Thanks for the information –  rocking Nov 10 '13 at 16:02
@rocking, please don't be afraid to answer crappy questions. Good answers are always wanted and should stand on their own. –  Lance Roberts Nov 10 '13 at 17:13
But they don't stand on their own, @Lance, they artificially prop up a little piece of crap that then ends up muddying my search results. –  Josh Caswell Nov 10 '13 at 19:36

3 Answers 3

up vote 20 down vote accepted

The tooltip on the downvote arrow reads:

This answer is not useful

This is the only guideline we have about downvoting (with vote fraud being the only exception).

Obviously, what is and what isn't useful is a matter of opinion. Some people (myself included) tend to think that spoonfeeding answers aren't useful, and they are free to use their downvotes to express that opinion.

Similarly, you are free to use your own interpretation of "useful" to decide if you should delete your answer or not. However, you should also keep in mind that the answer will be deleted if the question is deleted, something that right now seems quite likely (the question is closed, and scored at -10).

Conversely, you might be interested in reading this recent discussion on Meta Programmers: Open letter to students with homework problems. It might help you understand why some of us don't particularly enjoy no effort homework questions & spoonfeeding answers.

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Ohh I didnt see that,after your answer i pointed the mouse on the downvote its showing this answer is not useful.Well I will not repeat again. –  rocking Nov 9 '13 at 16:34
How come your answer got downvote,I have upvoted your answer and I will accept it in 2 minutes –  rocking Nov 9 '13 at 16:35
@rocking Well, the downvote was removed, it was probably a mistake. That said, I really don't care about getting downvoted, there are far more important things in life for me to care about. If I think my answer is correct, and useful, who cares if people downvote it? –  Yannis Nov 9 '13 at 16:40
-1 because downvotes and meta rep are important. –  Bart Nov 9 '13 at 16:44
Good point,From now onwards I will not also not care if get downvoted.Well do you earn money in answering in meta or stackoverflow.Any benefits if you have high reputations. –  rocking Nov 9 '13 at 16:45
@Bart If downvotes and meta rep are important then why there is no rules for it –  rocking Nov 9 '13 at 16:47
The only benefit is the warm feeling you get every time you help someone @rocking. We are all volunteers here, there is no money involved. –  Yannis Nov 9 '13 at 16:48
@rocking you can't see the vote split yet, but rest assured that there are currently no downvotes on the post. ;) –  Bart Nov 9 '13 at 16:50
@Yannis Are having high reputations useful in getting good jobs?I see people having some 616k reputation in stackoverflow.Even you are also having high number –  rocking Nov 9 '13 at 16:52
@rocking Yea, it would help in getting a job. If you manage to get that much rep, you obviously know something ;) SO rep that is - not meta.. –  Josh Crozier Nov 9 '13 at 16:55
@rocking I don't know, my job seeking years were over before Stack Exchange came to be. I'd imagine a very high reputation score might impress some hiring managers, but that's just a guess. –  Yannis Nov 9 '13 at 16:57
@JoshC I mean to ask do I have to show reputations in my CV? –  rocking Nov 9 '13 at 16:57
@rocking Not really. A rep figure doesn't say a whole lot. But if you're proud of your participation, you can always point at your profile. –  Bart Nov 9 '13 at 16:58
@rocking How much Stack Overflow reputation makes it worth putting in CV? & How to sell a high SO reputation at an interview (incidentally, both questions appear to be somewhat off topic for Programmers - let's hope a Programmers mod doesn't see my links). –  Yannis Nov 9 '13 at 17:01
@rocking MSO rep has... dubious value. I'm fairly certain 160 rep to someone with nearly 40k rep isn't that much. And Yannis is kind of... special. some people take pity on him for the work that he does elsewhere on SE. –  MichaelT Nov 10 '13 at 17:35

Vote are (mostly) up to the users who cast them.

It seems that some people think that discouraging answers to such questions is the only way to stop (or at least reduce the rate of) that type of questions. So they are doing this in an effort to maintain site quality.

On the whole I am one of the people that thinks you have to stop the answer to stop the questions, though I haven't been very active of Stack Overflow recently.

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I deal with the question itself first. If it's a possibly salvageable question that the asker can fix with more effort, I comment along those lines to try and help. If it's phrasing, formatting, grammar, or something else that can be edited to fix, I do so.

If the question is beyond salvation, or after a period of time the asker hasn't improved it, I vote to close and (sometimes depending on the question) downvite it.

I frequently leave comments on answers posted to questions that are off-topic, asking the person who answered not to do so because it encourages other off-topic questions.

I also often comment on answers posted to poor or no-effort questions asking the poster not to answer them because it removes any incentive for them to edit and improve it (because they've already gotten it answered) and because, again, it encourages other poor or low-effort questions.

In either case, I usually get a comment back. They typically either are

  • From the answerer, who defends their reason for answering anyway (often rather rudely), in which case I downvote to indicate disagreement with their answering the question.
  • From the answerer, who says something along the lines of "Sorry. I didn't realize/know that." and removes the answer, in which case there's no need (and nothing to) downvote.

So my position is that I try to teach the person who answered the reasons to avoid answering these types of questions, give them an opportunity first to do something constructive themselves, and then if they choose not to do so I downvote the answer to discourage them from doing so in the future (and almost always leave a comment stating why I'm doing so).

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I appreciate your idea.One should write a comment first.But in my case no comments only downvotes –  rocking Nov 9 '13 at 17:07
@rocking: There's no requirement to leave a comment when downvoting (regardless of the reason). Voting in any direction here is anonymous by design. I leave the comment first in order to try and give the person a reason (and opportunity) to make the proper decision themselves; it's more polite, creates fewer hard feelings, and hopefully helps them to learn something. If that doesn't work, the comment may still be helpful to discourage future readers from doing the same thing. If the person who answered has gotten rude or impolite about it, however, I don't leave the DV comment; I just - vote. –  Ken White Nov 9 '13 at 17:14
FWIW: I would downvote your answer for two reasons: 1) The poster didn't ask a question; they just dumped a bunch of code, and 2) you just posted code to fix theirs, with no explanation of what was wrong, no effort to educate, or anything else; you gave them copy/paste code as an answer to what was clearly a homework question. You taught them only two things in the process: How to cheat on their homework, and how to get answers here to those homework questions without doing any work. How does that benefit anyone? The poster and future readers learn nothing. –  Ken White Nov 9 '13 at 17:18
OP has just asked how to do that in switch and answered that.What explanation shall i give in this? –  rocking Nov 9 '13 at 17:20
Not sure if "downvite" was intentional, but I like it. Shift the focus from downvote as a penalty to an invitation to improve the post. –  HansUp Nov 9 '13 at 17:20
@KenWhite I added some texts so that future users may get benefitted –  rocking Nov 9 '13 at 17:22
@HansUp: It wasn't, but I like it too; I think I'll leave it. :-) –  Ken White Nov 9 '13 at 17:26
@rocking: That didn't help. The poster made absolutely no effort to do the work first (there's not a single switch in the code posted, even though the question is clearly about how to convert the if to switch). You've still done nothing but provide a copy/paste answer to a homework question, and your single sentence (of which all relevant content is in the link you posted, meaning it's not in your answer itself) is not a helpful edit. (FWIW, I've downvoted and voted to delete the question. I've also downvoted your answer for the reasons given here; you were clearly warned here. :) –  Ken White Nov 9 '13 at 17:31
@rocking: Here's an answer I posted (to a rather vague question, until I tried searching quickly for a link to post to prove the poster made no effort; I couldn't find one). I think it's a much better way to benefit the poster (and future readers) than just pasting the working batch script code, don't you? –  Ken White Nov 9 '13 at 17:34
@KenWhite I will keep this mind and in future i will do as you said,thanks –  rocking Nov 9 '13 at 17:36

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