What I mean by "Learning Experience"

Learning Experience answers are misguided in such a way that they generate useful negative feedback. They typically include a piece of information that is either wrong, or goes against common practice. The negative feedback usually points out something that would be obvious to a specialized guru but that someone from a different background might not notice.

I call them learning experiences because I inevitably learn something from them.

Some of my learning experiences:

There are a few others that were deleted.

I leave them up because despite the fact that they're not correct answers to the asked question, they're usually relevant and might help prevent people with my level of experience from falling into the pitfall I was in when I posted the answer. I'm not on stackoverflow to get a million imaginary internet points, so I don't care if they get downvoted (which they usually do). However, they often have little seeds of knowledge (usually posted in comments) that describe an issue that I, after having done cursory homework, did not see (and that would presumably be a typical beginner mistake).


Should I leave them up or should I post self-answered questions somewhere if they're important enough?

  • You can always see your own deleted question. But if you think it's really valuable to others, keep them up! The downvotes may cause many users to just ignore them, though. – bfavaretto Aug 16 '12 at 19:14
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    Also: if you decide to delete, try not to delete many of them at the same time, or you might get an auto ban. – bfavaretto Aug 16 '12 at 19:16

If the votes/comments lead you to understand that your original answer is wrong and why, then correct your error.

On the other hand, if correcting your answer results in a duplication of another answer, then perhaps you should edit to specifically say "Don't do this. Here's why...". If you can't clearly explain the why, then just delete it outright.

Also, incorporating bfavaretto's comment, deleting too many of your own posts in succession may result in an automatic banning of your account.

  • The caveat that distinguishes a learning experience from a plain old crappy answer is that someone tells you exactly what's wrong. There is always negative feedback (in the form of comments, not just votes). – Wug Aug 16 '12 at 19:17
  • @Wug Fair enough... changing my response... – Gaffi Aug 16 '12 at 19:17
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    To make the answer "complete" it's often good to say, "You should do X; you may be tempted to try Y, but Y is bad/less preferable because of Z." By rolling up a correct answer, with an incorrect answer, and explanations of both, you can end up with a great answer. – Servy Aug 16 '12 at 19:35

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