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Here's another "what's wrong with my question" meta-question, referring to this non-meta question.

I did a quick search for questions similar to this one, and I've found one, but it addresses a quite different problem, it was apparently deemed not specific enough by some moderators.

Part One: I do not understand why I am getting downvotes continuously. Reasons that the tooltip on the down arrow shows and the ones I give downvotes for include:

  • The question shows no research effort, it is essentially "gimme teh codez". I don't think this is the case - I must admit, this is not a great question, but I googled it - and I couldn't find C sample code for the heck of it. As I explained it there, I also thought about the architecture of the program, but I didn't manage to implement it. (Maybe I should have included some C# code so that the post doesn't fit in the "questions asking for code must [...] include valid code sample" closure reason?)

  • The question is incomprehensible, and/or written in an unsalvageably bad English ("it's unclear"). Not that one either. I know, it wasn't a Shakespeare's play but it was comprehensible and I've even improved it recently. Furthermore, nobody edited it (I've had the grammar in my questions and answers fixed by native speakers before, so it's not that people don't edit).

  • It's not specific enough ("it's not useful"). Maybe this? Perhaps "I want to list the devices on the LAN" is too broad?

  • The question is off-topic. No, it's not off-topic.

  • The question is spam. Frankly, it isn't, is it.

So, what is so wrong with it and what could I do to improve it? I mean, there are way worse questions than this one with less downvotes and/or more upvotes. (And anyway, it's not about voting but about not polluting the site with bad content, ultimately.)

Part two: If it is really unsalvageable, what should I do? I wanted to delete it but I couldn't, since it has an accepted and upvoted answer. I've previously emailed the developer team for disassociating another heavily downvoted question of mine from my account, but I don't want to repeat it. I feel I would just spam their already-busy inbox with my minor (compared to other To-Dos on the SE network) problem and I wouldn't like to act foolish either.

Sorry, no unicorns for you today.

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  • 11
    Start by not posting downvote magnets in the comments...
    – Cody Gray
    Aug 22 '13 at 9:20
  • @CodyGray Um, right. It's hard to resist, though. (Holy, someone just upvoted it!)
    – H2CO3
    Aug 22 '13 at 9:20
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    Hmm, I wonder if you should read much into the downvotes. As you say, not the best question, but not terrible. Perhaps a bit give-me-teh-codez-y, but that's a stretch. I wonder if maybe, just maybe, this is your goto downvote post. I have one or two of those...
    – Bart
    Aug 22 '13 at 9:21
  • 4
    Err, what? Yes, it is hard to insist that people provide a reason for downvoting your question. That is by design. Leaving open-ended whines directed at no one in particular is neither useful nor a particularly good way to get upvotes from other people.
    – Cody Gray
    Aug 22 '13 at 9:21
  • @CodyGray Euh, because I don't speak English, that's why. I meant "it's hard to resist".
    – H2CO3
    Aug 22 '13 at 9:24
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    @Bart "this is your goto downvote post" - sorry, what does that mean?
    – H2CO3
    Aug 22 '13 at 9:25
  • 3
    Posts that seem to attract downvotes whenever I say something contentious/controversial in another location. The target is usually a post at either the highest or lowest score within the spectrum. But all speculation of course.
    – Bart
    Aug 22 '13 at 9:27
  • 1
    @Bart Ah, OK. Yap, that seems reasonable. I've recently told a beginner Java programmer to learn highschool maths - maybe he went angry. Happened to me before.
    – H2CO3
    Aug 22 '13 at 9:28
  • I personally see nothing wrong with @H2CO3 question. What I suggest you do post some C# samples and ask for help translating to C++. Questions including code disattract downvoters i suppose
    – user221081
    Aug 22 '13 at 9:35
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    @mehow questions that say "help me translate this" usually don't go well without a serious attempt by the OP. Aug 22 '13 at 9:42
  • @psubsee2003 it depends on the tag
    – user221081
    Aug 22 '13 at 9:43
  • @psubsee2003 Ah yes, that what I wanted to suggest... IIRC I've downvoted most of such answers.
    – H2CO3
    Aug 22 '13 at 9:43
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    I just upvoted the question and answer that you received - very interesting and linked to a side project I am starting.
    – user226423
    Aug 22 '13 at 9:59
  • @Damien Thanks. (Although this was by no means my intention, in all honesty :)
    – H2CO3
    Aug 22 '13 at 10:00
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    @H2CO3 oh yes, I know that - this turned out to be a fruitful reading of a meta post!
    – user226423
    Aug 22 '13 at 10:01
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I've got two questions myself that pick up downvotes from time to time. (Though I deleted one because it was self-answered and didn't appear to have any real interest from anyone else.)

Aside from the fact that it's unresolved,* I personally can't see anything wrong with the remaining one. I just assume that the downvotes are of the "fluff you for closing my question, you greasy-faced high-rep nazi", retaliatory variety. I would guess the same is true for your question. It's pretty annoying having a negatively-scored question, but there's nothing we can really do about it.

At this point I just consider mine to be sacrificial material to keep these inevitable downvotes away from my other posts.


*Really need to type up the answer one of these days.

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  • +1 for sacrifical metal :) I've learnt about them in chemistry class, didn't know what they was called in English. I will definitely consider trying to adapt this kind of attitude.
    – H2CO3
    Aug 22 '13 at 18:17
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    Yeah, I think that's all one can do. We each have enough rep to buy all the unicorns we want at this point, anyways.
    – jscs
    Aug 22 '13 at 18:19
  • And other evil black magic stuff. I have 666 rep on Meta now! Eeeeek!
    – H2CO3
    Aug 22 '13 at 18:21
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I would have considered voting to close your question. To explain why, I'll break your question down into parts:

I'd like to get a list of available devices (their IP address or hostname should be fine) connected to my local network. I've got some examples in C#, but I couldn't find any sample using C/C++. I'm familiar with the BSD socket API, just to clarify.

This triggers my "give me the codez" alarm bells. You're familiar with the socket API and you have examples in another language, but you've not attempted any kind of porting yourself?

I have a "stub" kind of idea: maybe I should determine the range of the IP addresses that the devices on my LAN can potentially belong to, and then determine if they e. g. respond to PING, or something like that. How could I achieve these?

This part of the question is unclear. It's not obvious whether you're asking if your approach is valid or how to actually write that code in C/C++.

I want my application to run on Linux and iOS. That's why I'd prefer BSD sockets, or at a maximum, Foundation/GNUstep (although they are written in Objective-C).

Finally, this just sounds like the last few requirements you want in your free code.

But confusingly, you've accepted an answer which simply points you in a design direction, suggesting you aren't really looking for free code after all! So perhaps the question needs a rewrite. Yet, because the solution involves no programming information, I still feel the re-worded question would be off-topic and better suited on a site that discusses networking-related issues.

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  • I've accepted the answer because the poster specifically pointed out a solution that would work. (And later I've found code for his solution using Google, in fact.) "the solution involves no programming information" - how so? "I want to solve X problem programmatically" is surely a programming question. I agree with the "needs to be rewritten" part, though.
    – H2CO3
    Aug 22 '13 at 11:04
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    @H2CO3 Currently there is a mismatch between question and accepted answer. If the question is re-worded to match the answer then I think both are off topic. Currently the question seems programming related (albeit in the "gimme the codez" category) yet the accepted answer doesn't match. Aug 22 '13 at 11:10
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    I am sorry but I honestly don't understand why they don't match. "I'd like to get a list of available devices connected to my local network." - "You can also e.g. send an ICMP echo request packet to 224.0.0.1. This is a special all-nodes multicast address every node should respond to". Answered my question.
    – H2CO3
    Aug 22 '13 at 11:12
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    @H2CO3 Your question sounds like you want code, but the accepted answer provides none and just talks about networking issues. Hence I feel they don't match. If you re-wrote your question to just say "I'd like to get a list of available devices connected to my local network." then it would be off-topic. So I'm not sure you can win with this one. Aug 22 '13 at 11:26

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