On StackOverflow I regularly attend to questions where the answer is to take an entirely different approach to that currently attempted, such as:

  1. "Why is the File not found?" -> "For this use-case, don't use a File, use an URL. ...".
  2. "How to make an EXE of a Java GUI?" -> "Don't, deploy it using Java Web Start. ...".
  3. "How can I center the GUI on the screen?" -> "Don't, use setLocationByPlatform() ...".

On these types of questions I scan though the suggested "Related" questions to see if it can easily be closed as a duplicate - usually to not see any immediately relevant links. For instance, the File related questions might throw up hits for other questions where the use-case actually needed a File, and it was resolved, or where the 'frequently wrong answers' offered failed to resolve the problem, with the OP vanishing. I suspect it is because the right 'search words' are not included in the title/text of the post, thereby weakening the relevance of the returned hits.

It would be nice to be able to write the Wrong Strategy Question/Right Strategy Answer in the form of a normal Q&A, complete with paragraphs etc., then simply provide a link in a comment.

Would there be any support for allowing such question+answers on either meta or (better, for the code formatting) SO itself? At the moment they would seem an 'odd fit' for either the SO or SE sites, likely to be closed/deleted.

  • Honestly, I think that the best place for this information (at least right now) is the tag wiki for whichever tag is most applicable / appropriate. Some tag wikis already have a list of common questions and answers (the bottom of the PHP tag wiki, for instance). Apr 12, 2012 at 12:44
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  • @Bobby those answers gives me a lot to mull over. Will get back with further summary (unless this question is closed as a dupe first). I kind of like the title "Don't Do It" - a DDI is more to the point & less open to derision than FUQ. Apr 12, 2012 at 13:30
  • @jadarnel27 I don't see how it could be workable. E.G. the 'make an exe' question, might have the java, exe/executable & gui tags added. Something so specific to a Java GUI is not appropriate for exe or executable tags, and you can say pretty much the same with any of the other tags. Going to the extent of explaining such specific corner cases would not be a 'brief overview' of the tag, but a saga. I am the major contributor to the applet tag. It is pushing too long (at 2+ screen-fulls) as is, yet there are at least 3 or 4 DDIs needed. Apr 12, 2012 at 13:41
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    Not a single FUQ shall be given. Apr 12, 2012 at 13:51
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    I can understand why this question might be closed as a duplicate, but am perplexed as to why it is attracting down-votes. How should I change it to improve the question? Should I have linked to the posts I reviewed? If the down-voters would care to share their reasoning, that would be most appreciated. Apr 12, 2012 at 13:56
  • @AndrewThompson I upvoted but since you ask, here's what I didn't like (what could possibly cause downvotes): your question title feels too heavyweight. Hard to tell how to improve, maybe shifting FUQ abbreviation further away from focus would help. Removal of "that should be asked" as well as round brackets looks worth considering. Title I'd use would probably be like is there a way to simplify search for existing answers to typical "wrong way" questions?
    – gnat
    Apr 12, 2012 at 15:29
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    Two words: Tag Wiki.
    – user102937
    Apr 12, 2012 at 15:45
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    @gnat Thanks for your valuable suggestions. I've made some edits along those lines, and hopefully removed all references to the poorly chosen abbreviation. :) Apr 12, 2012 at 18:08
  • @RobertHarvey I disagree for the same reasons I disagreed with jadarnel27. I have entered an answer to the question with conclusions reached from reading the answers to the questions linked by Bobby. Apr 12, 2012 at 18:35
  • @Bobby You were spot on. Seems my search-fu is broken. I entered an answer, but if you'd like to enter your own I'd probably accept it. Of course, you might just vote to close as a duplicate.. ;) Apr 12, 2012 at 18:37
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    You will probably also be interested in the concept of "canonical questions/answers": meta.stackoverflow.com/search?q=canonical+question See especially: Canonical answers for repeated Questions and Another take on canonical answers: Add a “canonical” vote.
    – jscs
    Apr 12, 2012 at 18:40
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    @IuliusCæsar Further information to mull over. I like the term 'canonical'. It speaks volumes about what I was trying to express. Apr 12, 2012 at 18:44

1 Answer 1


This question had answers to be found in the links provided by @Bobby (so yes, it seems a duplicate - my apologies for the waste of bandwidth). Specifically:

  1. Can I answer my own questions, even those where I knew the answer before asking? Pretty strong response in favor, if done with care.
  2. Is “Don't do it” a valid answer? Strong support for "yes with context" with also a hint of "should be a comment".

From that, I conclude that I might have asked How to best position Swing GUI's myself, as opposed to how it actually happened (with me requesting another contributor to ask the question - so I could answer it). It seems from the votes that Q&A has been useful to the community. The question has 17 votes. Just moments ago (after starting this question) the answer got the 25th up-vote. :)


For those cases where people commonly go wrong, it is acceptable to post a definitive question & answer, then link to it in comments. If you do this & it turns out another person provides the best answer, mark that answer as the accepted answer.

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