On entering this question, Stack Overflow shows me another with 33 upvotes: “How should I deal with questions from people who don't know enough to ask?”.
My question is basically the reverse of that:
How to avoid getting answers from people who haven’t read the question or don’t know the answer?
This is no rant, just a plain request for a guideline or tips. And I’m not the only one affected. When I asked two quite specific questions, SO showed me several suggestions of older (>1 year) questions about exactly the same thing, that all got nothing but wrong or misleading answers, or no answers at all.
I have already learnt not to react to such answers, because that always rapidly results in a second downvote or even more downvotes.
I don’t claim my questions are perfect. I’ve only been using this site for a short time, but so far I have only asked things here, after an intensive(!) search has failed to bring up any usable solutions. Actually I often found out of date solutions, meaning solutions that didn’t run any more; and I found incomplete manuals.
Just two examples:
Someone commented: ‘There is no question in the text’, and marked it. But there really was, and when I pointed that out by just quoting my question – without any other text and without attacking him — he removed his comment and my reply. By that time, though, he already had downvoted my question, and other downvotes suddenly(?) came in. It resulted in the question being deleted.
Someone asked me a lot of questions which were already answered in detail in my text. He just didn’t know ANYTHING about the QUITE SPECIFIC topic. That didn't stop him, and suddenly (as always) other downvoted my text.
The same thing has happened to another of my questions: I was told my question didn’t fit the StackExchange community, so I re-worded it to match the community’s specifications almost exactly – as an answer, I got a link to an old meta question about what belongs on that community site. And according to the most accepted answer (27, next answer has 13) my question is appropriate. So I just asked quite plainly: What do you mean? After that I got no more answers – but 3 downvotes so far. He simply doesn’t know the topic I asked about. Why can’t people accept that they cannot answer everything?
The question “Fastest Gun in the West Problem” has much the same background, but from the point of view of a contributor who gave up on giving long answers.