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This is a bit of a rant as well as a question.

Example: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3991721/run-stored-procedure-in-sql-developer

It's getting rather annoying - especially when they give TSQL syntax for questions specific to Oracle PL/SQL. They may as well give COBOL syntax for all the help it gives!

I know it's probably because they assume that since both MS and Oracle adhere to the SQL standard (loosely), that it's all the same. And in some cases, even the wrong syntax will help someone who's just looking for the best approach to the problem - if they're strong enough in Oracle they'll be able to convert the syntax.

Should I keep downvoting these answers when they are obviously unhelpful?

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Looks like cobol doesn't have syntax highlight =O –  brasofilo May 24 at 19:38

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

You went a pretty long way toward answering your own question here. Maybe you just needed to get it off your chest. :)

I know it's probably because they assume that since both MS and Oracle adhere to the SQL standard (loosely), that it's all the same.

That's probably at least a small part of it. If you've only ever used one or the other you might not know how big the difference is.

And in some cases, even the wrong syntax will help someone who's just looking for the best approach to the problem - if they're strong enough in Oracle they'll be able to convert the syntax.

This is probably the bigger reason. I think most people who use one or the other are probably aware that there are differences. As you point out though, sometimes the general approach can be helpful. I think the main point is that even if your answer isn't directly helpful to the person who originally posted the question, it might later be helpful to someone else with the same problem on a different database.

Should I keep downvoting these answers when they are obviously unhelpful?

It's up to you, but I don't downvote an answer unless it's actively unhelpful (misleading, malicious, doesn't answer the question, or is in some other way just totally wrong). If an answer is just not helpful (subtle difference, I know) I'll just not upvote it.

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To add to your last sentence... and add a comment clarifying the incompatibility issue. –  LeakyCode Oct 22 '10 at 4:37
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Thanks Bill, on reflection I think I prefer the "actively unhelpful" guideline to downvoting. –  Jeffrey Kemp Oct 27 '10 at 8:04

This is probably a reflection of the significant number of people who use SQL Server (I usually stick with mysql myself). For most cases though, even the wrong syntax would be helpful in answering the question.

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yes. My rant is really directed solely to those who give SQL Server syntax for questions that are very specific to Oracle, and which verge on actively unhelpful because the questioner is clearly nowhere near the level of being able to convert the syntax (and perhaps are asking the question exactly because they have been unable to work out how to say it correctly in Oracle-ese). –  Jeffrey Kemp Oct 27 '10 at 8:07

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