Due to a a question having a subtle ambiguity or being misinterpreted, all 3 answers are wrong. Should I down vote them, delete the question, or something different? All 3 answers do not work and when I figured out how to do it, none of the answers were remotely close.

I mean I'm sure the answerers weren't trying to give wrong information, what they said was answering a different question.

EDIT: it is my question. I could edit it to make it more clear but that wouldn't change the fact the answers are still wrong. Also if a point is unclear (especially if it's subtle and important) I kind of think it is the responsibility of the answerer (as well as the asker) to clarify.

It's this question here. The correct solution involves a intersection (which is the exact opposite of a `union).

  • 1
    Is it your question (since you said "delete the question")? Sep 17, 2012 at 7:27
  • Yes it is my question.
    – Celeritas
    Sep 17, 2012 at 7:28
  • 1
    For future SQL questions showing example source data and desired results for that data will likely avoid such ambiguity. Why would you possibly want to INTERSECT ids from tables called Carpets and Curtains? Sep 17, 2012 at 7:36
  • I also went through and gave you a (lengthier than expected) explanation of why each of the answers works the way you want with an example of each of the joins and how they all work together. stackoverflow.com/questions/12443904/…
    – Fluffeh
    Sep 17, 2012 at 8:24
  • @Fluffeh ok thanks I'll read it but just so you know when I tried the suggested ways they did produce the wrong output, unless I'm mistaking.
    – Celeritas
    Sep 17, 2012 at 8:26
  • @Celeritas That's why I took more time and effort in explaining it than I might otherwise. Better to get you off on the right foot.
    – Fluffeh
    Sep 17, 2012 at 8:28
  • @Fluffeh thanks much appreciated, though I'm afraid you may have misunderstood the question too. See your answer on SO. Nonetheless I learned from your answer :-)
    – Celeritas
    Sep 17, 2012 at 8:36
  • @Celeritas I added the final edit in there for you which I hope explains the joins a bit better again :)
    – Fluffeh
    Sep 17, 2012 at 8:46

3 Answers 3


The first thing to do is to learn from this. When you are asking a question, you need to follow that all wonderful advice (written somewhere) - and make sure that your future questions are clear as a bell. Even if it seems impossible, put that super obvious statement in there so there cannot be confusion in what you are asking.

Secondly, don't delete the question - folks put time in to answer it, and it might well help others on the site. If you think you might salvage it by editing and getting other replies, do so (Probably better to leave the original content there and add a rather big EDIT: line to the bottom) though so that the answers given don't attract downvotes (they were right at the time).

If you think it cannot be salvaged through editing to read how you meant it, I would suggest editing it ever so slightly, so the next person who reads the question sees the answers that fit that question. And post a new question.

Edit: On looking through the three answers provided, they do actually answer your question:

I want to return rows that both have a certain value in a certain column. For example in tables Carpets and Curtains, I want to get the ids of rows where the colour is 'light yellow'.

You have an example of a union with a where clause on each - this will output the data from each table on a separate row of your result (the same output as an intersect)

And you have two examples of a join where you can return the data from both tables in a single row of data. You don't need to edit this question, they have given you the right info and read it correctly. (Again, this will return the same data as an intersect in your case).

If anything, I would suggest that you include your code - or post your own answer to the question in this case. Looking at them - they will all be right.

I went through and tried to give you a pretty thorough explanation of the other answers with examples in a little database I made just to answer your question :)

  • "I would suggest editing it ever so slightly, so the next person who reads the question sees the answers that fit that question" - what if 2 ways to understand the question require much of edition? see bicycles.stackexchange.com/q/85544 . i have created 2nd question for the wrong way to understand: bicycles.stackexchange.com/q/85554 . 1st has -4 votes, 2nd is marked as duplicate of the 1st. should i swap contents of them now? (i cannot post any new question due to se's policy.) 2nd question also has answers by other users.
    – qdinar
    Aug 27, 2022 at 22:15
  • @Joachim , in comments of meta.stackexchange.com/q/381574 , you said "answers to that question should not influence the merit or quality of a question". it looks like it is for my position, to not edit my question to match wrong answers. it looks like they downvoted my question because it did not match their misinterpretation, and i have not obeyed their suggestion to edit it. so, my question has score like of low quality question, because of the answers.
    – qdinar
    Aug 30, 2022 at 20:40
  • @Fluffeh What do you mean with "you need to follow that all wonderful advice"?
    – Joachim
    Aug 30, 2022 at 21:58
  • @qdinar I think what happened here is that the answerers to your question answered it despite it being too broad. They asked to edit your question down to the part they answered, which was reflected in the (original?) title, and this procedure I would agree with, given this particular situation. What I think should have happened in the first place was to close your question for being too broad, so you could have edited it down to one specific problem.
    – Joachim
    Aug 30, 2022 at 22:06
  • @Joachim he is "Last seen more than 2 years ago". (seems it is trendy now to say "they is"). why do not you understand that? i understand it, that advice is to write clear questions.
    – qdinar
    Aug 31, 2022 at 21:43

If it's your question, the first thing to do is to update it to make it more clear to people.

A good idea would be adding some info that shows the fact you know people have answered the question wrongly because of misunderstanding. That will help other people that will open your question and will not know what's going on (i.e. the question and the answers are on different topics).

For example, if the question was "How to output a string in C/C++", and people have given you examples with printf() while you wanted iostream, you might write something like

Update: Sorry to everyone who has already answered, but I forgot to include an important detail into my question. I need solutions using C++ streams, not old C functions.

Leave a comment to each of the answers to tell their authors that they have misunderstood the question, and kindly ask them to read the updated question again and improve their answers. I guess that's about as much as you can do.


You better need to ask this question to yourself. You have to jot down the points pointing out why the post has been misinterpreted. Is there anything wrong with the wording or have I not posted all the relevant matter.

Not all of the answers could be misinterpreted. There has to be something wrong with the post. So you should review your own post to make it more clear.

Though no answer is wasted here on Stack Overflow. If the answer doesn't suit your requirements, it might fit some other user's query. So never delete any of the answers, no matter how poorly it relates to your requirement.

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