After this has already been voted down to -11 I am editing the feature request:

I tried out to offer a known solutions at: gitweb current version make fails on ubuntu 12.04 LTS which I had copied from the format of our internal workdocumentation database and I think it is too tedious to copy a known solutions to stackoverflow to allow others to benefit from it. I get all these popups that are treating me as if I did something bad. I can't accept my own solution right away. I think this is the main problem. It should be possible to say for a problem that the solution is already known and might be useful for others in the case that someone only wants to share a good solution he has found for a common problem. The q&a format is IMHO not 100% compatible to the problem -> analysis -> solution approach in this case.

Here is the background information how we do things at our company:

At our company we have some 9000 documents for daily workdocumentation. People will use the format:

  • Problem
  • Diagnosis
  • Therapy

to document their work. See an example below. At the point of this example "make fails":

root@jolo:/usr/local/src/git-b811d5a# make prefix=/usr gitweb 
make[1]: *** No rule to make target `GIT-VERSION-FILE'.  Stop.
make: *** No rule to make target `gitweb'.  Stop.

So this would now raise the question "Why does make fail in this situation?". To post this question it would be nice to have a pointer to the workdocumentation readily available.

How about adding a feature to stackoverflow where people can analyze and document there reasoning process before asking a question?

IMHO this would support that a question is only marked as such when there is a need to do so. Otherwise when all the problem -> diagnosis -> therapy steps are documented and searchable this might be a good database of things that work (or fail and people find out how they can work on the failures).

What do you think?

Example Problem/Diagnosis/Therapy Document (original from 20012-06-05 from our company):


How to install gitweb current version?


get it as snapshot



download snapshot to /sonstiges/pub/2012/git-b811d5a.tar.gz

wf@capri:/sonstiges/pub/2012$ scp git-b811d5a.tar.gz wf@jolo:/tmp
git-b811d5a.tar.gz                            100%   77KB  76.5KB/s   00:00   
root@jolo:/usr/local/src# tar xvfz /tmp/git-b811d5a.tar.gz 

make copy of original3
root@jolo:/usr/local/src/git-b811d5a# cp /usr/lib/cgi-bin/gitweb.cgi /tmp

make prefix=/usr gitweb                          
make gitwebdir=/usr/lib/cgi-bin install-gitweb   
  • 2
    -1 I don't like it ... don't ask why ... just plainly put ... too much busy work. – JonH Oct 18 '12 at 18:12
  • 1
    What are the perceived benefits of this (aside from redundancy)? – Anderson Green Oct 18 '12 at 18:26
  • Also, why would it be necessary for users to document their entire thought process? Which benefits would it provide? – Anderson Green Oct 18 '12 at 18:29
  • When a problem comes up usually our team member will visit quite a few links before they come up with the solutions. Some links will have better approaches than others, some will fit and some won't. If thinks work well you'll end up with a documented solution and if someone else has the same problem he will follow the same route. Also you'll be able to look up what you did (even years later). Having to ask a question or propose a better solution is a rare case. So all the workdocumentation would not end up on the internet although it might be useful for others. – Wolfgang Fahl Oct 18 '12 at 18:35
  • Ok - I am going to try this out: a search of "gitweb current version make fails" does not reveal a fitting question so I'll put the example on stackoverflow and see what happens. – Wolfgang Fahl Oct 18 '12 at 18:42
  • I tried it out at: stackoverflow.com/questions/12961631/… and it is too tedious to copy the known solutions to stackexchange. I get all these popus that are treating me as if I did something bad. I can't accept my own solution right away. I think this is the main problem. It should be possible to say for a question that the answer is already know and might be useful for others. – Wolfgang Fahl Oct 18 '12 at 18:48

How about adding a feature to stackoverflow where people can analyze and document there reasoning process before asking a question?

This feature exists. It is called the on-screen editor.

As a bonus we use the same interface for answering questions. Pretty spiffy, eh?

  • The on screen editor is missing a "save" feature. If i try to add my solution it will ask me to wait for two days. My other screen editors do have a save button that works immediately. – Wolfgang Fahl Oct 19 '12 at 8:00
  • @WolfgangFahl This questions here is not about saving of drafts nor about instant acceptance of self-answers, though. You asked for a tool "where people can analyze and document there reasoning process" which is perfectly possible in the current format and something that many people already do. In my view you are asking to replace a very general, powerful tool (a general purpose editor which allows me to say what I mean) with a limited and intentionally crippled one. – dmckee Oct 19 '12 at 14:12

Don't we already have this, just with different names?

How is Problem different from Question?
How are Diagnosis and Therapy different from Answer?

Search does leave something to be desired, but Google works great for searching SO, and I don't see how different categorization would fix it.

  • A Problem is something I try to solve for my self. A question is if I ask for help from other. Diagnosis is looking into the problem and finding links and sources and own approaches for it. Therapy is documenting the steps that work. The three terms were used because we worked in the medical business quite a while. For a wide audience other terms might be more understandable and well received. – Wolfgang Fahl Oct 18 '12 at 18:38
  • 5
    @WolfgangFahl You think "Question" and "Answer" are overly complex terms that laymen won't understand, but that "Problem", "Diagnosis", and "Therapy" are much simpler and easier to understand for the average person. Sorry, but I disagree. – Servy Oct 18 '12 at 18:53
  • The three steps for defining the problem, analyzing and solving it need not necessarily lead to a question and answer format. I think my example is misleading since I started with describing how we do things at our company. I do not suggest to do this exactly the same way. I think it would be useful to be able to post problem, analysis and solution descriptions in one step. This could be equivalent to the q&a format if the author would be allowed to accept his own q&a immediatly showing that he does not expect others to think over this but invites them just too use this. – Wolfgang Fahl Oct 19 '12 at 5:55
  • @Wolfgang You can already do this. Look for the "Answer your own question" checkbox on the Ask Question page. – blahdiblah Oct 19 '12 at 6:55
  • I can answer my own question - but I can not accept it immediately - more than that I can not state that I do not intend to ask others when starting. The intention might only come up while i am working on a problem. If I find or have a good solution I would like to offer it to others. Most people do not have an attitude of offering their advice and if you make offering advice and solutions hard than the value of the platform is lower than it could be. – Wolfgang Fahl Oct 19 '12 at 7:58
  • @WolfgangFahl "more than that I can not state that I do not intend to ask others when starting" Eh? Then don't post to the site until you've had a go at the problem yourself, man! – dmckee Oct 19 '12 at 14:13

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