Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 157 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

I've noticed at least 5 questions recently where the OP just needed to be reminded of the rule of thumb when managing iOS memory. People just don't take the time to memorize one sentence:

For every alloc, retain, copy, or new, you must have a corresponding release or autorelease.

In fact, searching for the tags and together yields over 1,000 questions. When searching for the term "release" and the tag together, there are 4960 results. If you switch [objective-c] for [iphone], there are over five thousand results. Long story short, you have thousands of people coming to Stack Overflow looking for answers to their memory management issues. Most of them just need to hear one thing:

For every alloc, retain, copy, or new, you must have a corresponding release or autorelease.

So, I propose that in the interest of the interwebs and making SO more Google friendly and less cluttered, any OP that uses the a combination of release and any of the following tags: or in a question should first be shown the rule of thumb.

share|improve this question
You seem to be suggesting iphone has a preponderance of poor questions. It seems more likely that every tag has this problem and you just notice it in iphone because you're active there – Michael Mrozek Jun 20 '11 at 14:44
This would be awfully specialized functionality. If it's such a common problem that people are asking the same question over and over, create (or find) one good canonical question that has the core info needed and then start referring to it and/or closing new questions as dupes of that one. – Daniel DiPaolo Jun 20 '11 at 14:44
@DanielDiPaolo - So perhaps SO needs to get smarter about other tags too. – Moshe Jun 20 '11 at 14:44
Why not just put that up in the tag wiki? – random Jun 20 '11 at 14:45
@random - The rule for memory management in the tag wiki? Great idea! Please post as an answer. – Moshe Jun 20 '11 at 14:46
@random You think people posting these questions read tag wikis? – Michael Mrozek Jun 20 '11 at 14:47
How many people actually read the tag wiki? – tombull89 Jun 20 '11 at 14:47
I welcome our future robot overlords. If Stack Overflow starts answering questions, we can get rid of all these pesky human contributors. – Adam Jun 20 '11 at 14:48
@MichaelMrozek, @tombull89 No, that's another good point. I'll just mention that Joel said in one of the podcasts, the he envisioned SO being more like wikipedia, which is were this feature request would take things. – Moshe Jun 20 '11 at 14:48
@AnnaLear - Would you rather waste time answering dupes and dupes and dupes? O flagging dupes and dupes and dupes? Or have the system preempt them away? – Moshe Jun 20 '11 at 14:50
@Moshe the problem is that it is far too likely to produce a lot of false positives (people using those tags and who already know that rule and are bothered/put off by constantly being reminded of it). Plus it's not "wasting time" flagging dupes since dupes still help things like SEO and help the dupe search when you are asking a question – Daniel DiPaolo Jun 20 '11 at 14:57
Terrible idea. What if someone has a question in which they say "I already have a corresponding release and it's still not helping". To get around this, you need to use Regular Expressions, then you have two problems. – JNK Jun 20 '11 at 15:50
Also, the specific problem you're describing here may not be one for much longer. Not only is this localized in subject matter, but it may only apply to a certain period of time before automatic reference counting comes online. – Brad Larson Jun 20 '11 at 17:47
@BradLarson - True. I actually thought of that. As of now though, that's partially NDA. By the way, I am having some coding troubles. Care to help, please? – Moshe Jun 20 '11 at 17:53
up vote 6 down vote accepted

All you really need do is:

  1. Find a great question and answer pair (or create one if it doesn't exist) and make that the canonical go to and close all the other variations on the themes as duplicates of it.

  2. Edit the relevant tag wiki to include the short tip on the main culprit to their problems.


Now you've got a stop gap and only need to work out how to make people realise that just because they're sitting in a different walk-in freezer that their problem isn't already addressed by either of these two solutions.

You still have the problem of people falling over each other to answer the same question with the same answer because to people posting questions, it's easier to have users answer than to do a quick search.

share|improve this answer
I suppose I'll resign myself to garnering tens of upvotes for the rule of thumb. sigh. :-D – Moshe Jun 20 '11 at 22:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .