I answered What's the best way to remove items in a NSMutableDictionary?. The question poses a simple question with many solutions. It offers nothing in the way of attempted solutions. However, the OP feels strongly that it's a good question.

Relevant comments (there are others in between, which I've removed):

Can someone upvote the question to remove the negative count, this is a legit programming question! – Boon 38 mins ago

@Boon I assume you are being downvoted because you haven't actually attempted a solution. – Aaron Brager 32 mins ago

@AaronBrager How do you know? I have tried and wanted to compare solution. – Boon 33 mins ago -3 for a legit coding question. This site is going down the drain. – Boon 25 mins ago

@Boon Well, I don't know what you have or have not done. I know you haven't posted your attempted solution. See stackoverflow.com/questions/how-to-ask - "Tell us what you found (on this site or elsewhere) and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and above all, it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer" – Aaron Brager 23 mins ago

@AaronBrager I have been on this site for a while. It used to be fun, now it is turning into a police state. I have looked at existing answers and have question how many different ways this problem can be solved, that's why I asked the question. I don't see why it's important for me to post my solution when that can potentially influence others. The rampant downvoting on this site is total nonsense, SO should penalize people for doing it. – Boon 6 mins ago

Obviously the OP and I disagree on whether this is a "good question". However, the OP has been a strong contributor to Stack Overflow - this wasn't a typical "noob" asking for help without trying anything first.

Were the downvotes correctly applied? Or were the downvoters too trigger-happy in this case?

  • 6
    I think you've already hit on the reason why it's being downvoted. The OP hasn't actually attempted a solution. It's also been asked multiple times before.
    – user206222
    Feb 20, 2014 at 5:01
  • Downvote, move on if there is pushback. In the end, the community wins. Feb 20, 2014 at 5:29

2 Answers 2


The OP asked for "the best way" without describing which ways he tried and why he considers them not good enough. This makes it really hard to provide a good answer. "The best way" is also often very subjective. A better way of asking would be "How can I remove items without doing $this or $that?"

He noted in the comments that he did research but fails to mention in the question what he tried.

Additionally, the title is

What's the best way to remove items in a NSMutableDictionary?

Which is not what the question is about. The question is about removing items from nested immutable collections.

  • 2
    s/What's the best way/How/
    – animuson StaffMod
    Feb 20, 2014 at 5:09

The downvotes were fairly applied. As you pointed out in the comments, OP failed to show any effort or explain why any possible solutions didn't meet OP's needs. The defense in the comments that "I have tried and wanted to compare solution" is an admission that, rather than a clueless beginner, we are dealing with someone with some experience who is knowingly posting an incomplete question to get some free coding and/or code review. "Noob" or not, it's a bad question.

Some other issues:

  • It will be of relatively little use to future visitors to the site, especially given that it appears to be basically a duplicate of an existing question. (I admit here that I'm not 100% sure about the duplication, as I'm not very familiar with Objective C myself.)
  • It's also a bit vague and unclear; I had to read the code to figure out what it meant. The comments show that you and others had similar problems: enter image description here

  • It's tilted towards opinions ("What's the best way...?").

As SO questions go, this one's pretty low-quality, I think.

  • 3
    I don't really see how the question "will be of little or no use to future visitors" just because it doesn't have an attempt at solving it. Seems a bit of a stretch.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Feb 20, 2014 at 5:02
  • It's not just that; it's also a bit vague, duplicates at least one existing question, and tilted towards opinions ("What's the best way...?"). As SO questions go, this one's pretty low-quality, I think.
    – elixenide
    Feb 20, 2014 at 5:05
  • 1
    Perhaps you could expand on those in your answer? Currently, it reads more like a "you were right" without really explaining why.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Feb 20, 2014 at 5:07
  • @animuson I've elaborated above; thanks for the feedback.
    – elixenide
    Feb 20, 2014 at 5:14
  • I agree that the question was low-quality. But the more I think about it, the more unsure I am that it should be down-voted. As the comment thread continued and his question became clearer, I think the question became more salvageable (through editing). And if the question is salvageable, it may not need to be downvoted. Feb 20, 2014 at 5:21
  • I think most questions are salvageable, if the community spends enough time clarifying and editing, but that doesn't make them good questions. If a question is broad, unclear, vague, or opinion-based at the time of the downvote, the downvote is appropriate. From the help files: "Voting up a question or answer signals to the rest of the community that a post is interesting, well-researched, and useful, while voting down a post signals the opposite: that the post contains wrong information, is poorly researched, or fails to communicate information."
    – elixenide
    Feb 20, 2014 at 5:24

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