Just as I was about to post a question, I found that it's already been asked, and an answer has already been accepted.

However, I don't understand the answer, and wish for a simpler answer.

What does the generic nature of the class Class<T> mean? What is T?

I had a question on Java Generics. Specifically, I don't understand how T works. I've spent a long time reading about it, but I only just barely understand Generics, and don't feel like they're explained well enough on places like Wikipedia

What should I do? Re-ask the question? Add a bounty to the existing one?

  • 2
    A bounty would be a good way to go. Ask for new/updated answers with a more detailed/simplified discussion within your bounty reason. – Bart Aug 31 '12 at 8:11
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    A better idea would be to search for genetics tutorials on Google and read those, I'm sure there are lots of them around. SO is better suited for concrete questions instead of general teaching of programming language concepts. – sth Aug 31 '12 at 11:33

The easiest thing to do is leave a comment to ask for an explanation; that's what another user did and the author replied with a link to a tutorial.

Asking a new question with a link to the previous is a valid option if the new question is substantially different from the old lest it get dv/cv'ed, but rewarding a bounty on the same question may help others who stumble on the same topic as well and prevent similar questions from being scattered across different pages, so that would be the nicest thing to do.

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    Posting a new question that is basically identical to the old one just because you don't like the existing answers is not a valid option and will result in the new question being closed as a dupe. – ThiefMaster Aug 31 '12 at 12:14
  • @ThiefMaster I wasn't very explicit about that, thanks. – Jack Aug 31 '12 at 12:21

I personally struggle with these kinds of requests. I think folks asking questions should realize that if they dont know what a Template is (in this case) then asking that question on StackOverflow is a little disingenuous.

I guess as a user of SO, I sometimes wonder what the point of the site is. Is it valid to ask what a pointer is? Im not sure. If you dont understand the answer, did you understand the question?

For example there are tons of questions relating to memory allocation deallocation, varying by language. There is so much documentation, and depending on the language for example C++ it may be nontrivial. Is SO providing user manual level answers? I dont think so.

While some code docs can be obtusely written, it seems farcical to me that folks might expect long, excruciatingly detailed explanations (which usually turn into comment wars anyway and go off topic).

I guess if you dont like the answer dont accept it its on the questioner to understand the answer, not the other way around. The person posting the answer tried to help you for free, if you dont get it I dont know what to say but read more, do more coding, experiment, and inevitably learn.

While Im not judgmental towards beginners, I think that they overpost to SO rather than learning things by doing. Their time would be better invested searching, reading rather than posting questions.

As a side note when I was a musician in school and I told my teacher that I wanted to know everything via a brain dump, he said curtly, Ill tell you everything I know for 10,000 dollars. It was funny.


In my opinion, I think it's good practice to add a comment to the existing question asking for more information.

If you are not satisfied with the answers you receive, then re-ask the question in more detail and post a link to the original question and a link to yours on the original question. This will help people that have the same question in the future. These practices add value to the sites.

  • Unless the new question is substantially different this is bad advice as you are effectively posting a duplicate question. – ChrisF Aug 31 '12 at 9:41
  • not if the new question is in more depth with a link to the original – fasheikh Aug 31 '12 at 9:53
  • If you just didn't understand the answer how would the question be different? – Servy Aug 31 '12 at 13:47
  • sometimes it's not a case of understanding the answer but needing someone to elaborate – fasheikh Aug 31 '12 at 15:49

Another recommendation would be to ask in an appropriate chat room. This can raise attention to the question you need. Keep in mind you need 20 rep to talk in a chatroom though. In addition, the appropriate chatroom may not have anyone in it (empty room).

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