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It happens from time to time that a question is asked where maybe the asker doesn't understand the scope of what they're asking about. They know what they want to do but perhaps they ask for directions about how to fix it in a less than ideal way.

I just came across this question where a user wanted to replace %20 with spaces. The most basic, and in my opinion, correct way to ask this would probably be "how do I decode URL encoded strings?" and be tagged javascript. But whether it be shortsightedness or a misunderstanding of the big picture, the question focused on string manipulation. All but one answer used string manipulation and the question has, as of this posting, 4 close votes saying the question is a duplicate of a string manipulation question.

I feel this is off the mark. The question is slightly off as the correct answer is actually to take a different approach. People's response to the question (I'm specifically talking about the votes to close) also seem a little misguided because the original question asked for a particular approach that should probably not be used. In fact, the requested approach should probably be avoided.

How should we go about setting a question like this back on track? Or should we stick to the methods defined in the question even if the asker is obviously a little less than knowledgeable on the subject?

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marked as duplicate by gnat, Michael Hampton, Azik, Aziz Shaikh, Emrakul Dec 27 '13 at 9:29

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.

Unless the answer they request is dangerous then I would always attempt to answer with both. Sometimes people are in constrained environments where the optimal option simply isn't possible and the alternative is all they can do. But information about what would be best practice can be useful for the OP and will definitely be helpful to future readers

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