Someone comes and asks a terrible question that can be fixed just by fixing a syntax error.

I would leave a comment (and maybe downvote the question) instead of posting an answer.

...but why would you post an answer to such a question?

Is this encouraged?

Here is an example. 4 answers posted after I left my comment was that already containing the solution.

  • 9
    Because repz. ---
    – Pekka
    Mar 2, 2014 at 19:26
  • 2
    @Pëkka Trust me, that's not real reputation... Mar 2, 2014 at 19:26
  • 1
    @Ionica Not sure what you mean? I'm saying, I'm fairly sure the main motivation why people answer those kinds of questions is reputation points. Do you disagree?
    – Pekka
    Mar 2, 2014 at 19:27
  • 1
    Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/223544/…
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2014 at 19:27
  • 1
    @Pëkka They answer because they don't understand what the reputation is. That's why I am asking if this is encouraged. Mar 2, 2014 at 19:29
  • Haha, the OP is asking me to post an answer. @Oded What do you recommend? Mar 2, 2014 at 19:31
  • @IonicăBizău seeing as there already is an answer, there seems to be no point adding another. I'd just let it go. (Answering this kind of thing isn't actively encouraged, no - but it's not actively discouraged, either, and there is no desire in the community to establish rules about what questions can be answered and what can't. We'll simply have to live with the fact that trivial questions get frequently answered, and that there are users with significant reputation from doing so. Nothing we can do really.)
    – Pekka
    Mar 2, 2014 at 19:33
  • 1
    This is far from being such a bad question. The OP doesn't appear to understand what callbacks are or that the jQuery documentation calls for one... It deserves an answer (I am assuming also that the OP is just pasting the relevant bits of code, sans <script> tags). If none of the answers actually answer the question, then sure, post a new one. Otherwise - comment with a link to the actual answer.
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2014 at 19:35
  • Meh. The OP wants to reward you - that's nice, but... perhaps they will have to learn to live with the disappointment ;) Having said that - it is not difficult to provide a much better answer than the existing ones.
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2014 at 19:36
  • @Oded I think my answer will help him, so I answered... I remember that I had the same feelings when I started to use StackOverflow. Thanks! Mar 2, 2014 at 19:37
  • @Oded Do you want to post an answer here? :-) Haha! Mar 2, 2014 at 19:37
  • Yeah - paying it back is part of what SO is about... I would say you could further improve you answer by explaining what the callback param is all about and how to make use of it if wanted.
    – Oded
    Mar 2, 2014 at 19:38

1 Answer 1


The example you gave is not so terrible, as far as questions on Stack Overflow are concerned.

It isn't a simple typo or missing enough detail for an answer to be given. Sure, if you are seasoned enough you can answer it easily, but that doesn't make it a bad or terrible question.

So... in this example, the OP deserves a good answer.

However: for truly bad questions - actual typo issues. A comment can direct the OP in the right direction. At this point, downvoting and voting to close are fine, as such a question is not likely to be helpful to others.

There isn't much one can do when others jump in with answers - the hope is that the question will get deleted and any gained reputation will be lost, hopefully as a lesson to not answer such questions (I know it took a good few of these before I figured it out...).

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