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In reference to this question, this person asked a question and later in the comments says nevermind because he/she found a mistake and is no longer stuck. So as someone combing through the unanswered questions, I'd prefer that the owner delete the question so it doesn't pop up in my search for unanswered questions. Also the thought does come to mind that if the owner's comment means he/she won't act on it even though somebody does come up with an answer in the future, then why bother with it if you can't get any points off of it? But that's not my primary motivation!!! No, no, no...

On the other hand if that's bad SO etiquette (and I'm already feeling a little guilty admitting the last statement) then I'd at least leave an answer with some general debugging tips for the next poor soul with a similar question and happens to run across this question. Had the same thing happen to me before so I know the feeling when you run across an old, stale, and unanswered question that's exactly what you want to ask.

Or maybe I should just flag it for the moderator and let them deal with it...

So what does SO etiquette say is the prefered course of action?

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Several options (in preferred order):

  • Post a comment wherein you request the OP to post the actual solution as an answer.
  • Post a comment wherein you suggest the OP to delete the question (if the OP is able to, i.e. OP is a registered user and there are no upvoted answers).
  • Vote for close as Too localized.
  • Flag for moderator attention and suggest to delete the question.
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Thanks, can you elaborate on what 'Too localized' means? –  spade78 Dec 18 '10 at 0:16
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"This question would only be relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet." –  BalusC Dec 18 '10 at 0:27
    
Ok, 'Too localized' makes sense especially when the OP says 'nevermind' after a short time, not letting the question develop with more detail. –  spade78 Dec 18 '10 at 4:09
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I see two scenarios:

  1. The user resolved the problem themselves before receiving an answer.
    (i.e. "Oh, nevermind. I figured it out myself.")
    Solution: The author's need for the answer is irrelevant. If it's a valid question, it should be left and answered for others who come after. Hopefully the author will offer their solution, but the author is only one person. The future audience who may benefit from the question is much larger.
  2. The question was rendered invalid or irrelevant.
    (i.e. "Oops, silly me. I had the wrong setting. Nevermind!")
    Solution: If the question was rendered invalid or no longer applies to the situation, it should be flagged for moderator attention. Comment that the user should have deleted this themselves. But, either way, there is no further purpose for it being on the system, it should be deleted.
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I don't understand scenario 2.. Why should it be deleted? Maybe someone else will have the same problem - the same exact "wrong setting". If it happened to one person, it can happen to more. –  Andreas Bonini Dec 18 '10 at 1:17
    
@Kop: If it is possibly applicable... yes, keep it. But I'm thinking of the scenario more along the lines "Why wont this code print? Oh, wait, my printer was off" or, more often, "Hmm... I rebooted my computer and now my code works." –  Robert Cartaino Dec 18 '10 at 1:50
    
For the question I was looking at I'd add consideration for the amount of detail present in the OP's question and the responses before considering deleting the question. That question was only 'worked on' for 10 mins before the OP said 'nevermind' so there is no background present that I would consider useful as a general debugging tool for another user. Though the OP asked his question pretty recently so I'll leave a comment asking him for details of his specific resolution. If the question was posted a month or two ago I'd probably go straight to asking for deletion. –  spade78 Dec 18 '10 at 4:19
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