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It happens often on stackoverflow or other forums that someone asks a question that is too specific of the app he/she is currently developing.

Regardless of the "too localized" close reason (which may or may not apply in this case), how do you politely tell the other person that his/her question is not appropriate because 1) you don't really have all the information needed to make an informed decision; 2) nobody else in the forum would benefit from an answer since it's too specific; and 3) you would be doing his/her job for free?

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marked as CW since this is a discussion and there is no definitive answer –  Mauricio Scheffer Feb 12 '10 at 4:20
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we don't make discussion questions community wiki on Meta, discussion is welcome and encouraged –  Lance Roberts Feb 12 '10 at 5:30
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2 Answers

  1. You don't really have all the information needed to make an informed decision...

    If this is the case, you really ought not answer the question to begin with. If you want to, post a comment asking for more information - maybe even nudge the user along telling them specifically what information would help the readers.

  2. Nobody else in the forum would benefit from an answer since it's too specific...

    That's not necessarily the case. I've seen some pretty specific questions that I've benefited from in various ways. You may discover methods that you didn't know existed. You may learn practices that would greatly reduce your own personal work-load. You may find many nuggets within other people's specific code.

  3. You would be doing his/her job for free...

    Try to educate the user with gratuitous commenting and descriptive explanations. Don't do everything exactly as they need it - change up a couple variable names. They can't help but to learn something along the way :)

If you get the feeling the user is simply looking for some cheap-labor, simply mark the question "not a real question" or "too localized" and let time decide its fate.

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Sometimes it happens that I answer, and then the asker comments something like "yeah but in my project I have to do X and Y, how do I apply this?" –  Mauricio Scheffer Feb 12 '10 at 4:15
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@Mauricio: I have seen that myself. It is annoying. I may provide an updated answer since I will rarely see them again (hopefully). Think about it this way, when you're solving other people's problems, you're solving problems :) Many questions have caused me to educate myself to provide good answers, and for that I'm very grateful :) –  Jonathan Sampson Feb 12 '10 at 4:17
    
Very true. –  Andrew Moore Feb 12 '10 at 4:23
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I usually vote to close the question as "too localized" and leave the question be. No comments, no answer.

Adding a comment will do absolutely nothing as chances are, someone will step in and answer their question. At least by voting to close, you have chances of the question closing before anyone answers.

There are some questions though that might only benefit the OP, but that I still answer. Some OPs do show that they tried to make their code work but hit an impasse in every single way possible. Those I answers.

What I do vote to close are the questions of the type "I've been doing this in my program, I've been asked to do this, here's the code, I don't know what to do"...

That being said, what annoys me more are students that come in for homework questions. I find that appalling in every way possible. I think we need a close reason for homework

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+1 - I was just thinking of the homework issue. All too often I see the homework tag or the question smells of homework and there no code, nothing attempted, and the question basically states a problem, "can someone show me how?" –  IAbstract Feb 12 '10 at 4:39
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