If a question does not show any effort and just says How to do something, we request OP to share efforts.

In my opinion, its wrong to answer such question, as scope is not clear and also it promotes spoon feeding. But if someone chooses to answer such question, what is the right way to handle it?

  • Treat it like normal answer (merit based)
  • Request user to allow user to first provide efforts and then only answer it.

Edit My question is not about How to handle bad questions, its about handling answers on these bad questions.

  • If I'm feeling particularly generous, I downvote the question and all answers. It costs -2 per answer but, not uncommonly, the Q&A's are just so totally sucky that I dont' mind spending the rep:( Feb 20 '17 at 12:39
  • But is it not wrong as it would mean answer is either wrong or not required. Sample. This question gives input and expected output but no effort. The answer is correct but OP has not shown any efforts so punishing others feels wrong
    – Rajesh
    Feb 20 '17 at 12:41
  • Possible duplicate of Good answers to bad questions
    – gnat
    Feb 20 '17 at 12:45
  • 1
    @gnat dupe you shared is about handling question and not answer.
    – Rajesh
    Feb 20 '17 at 12:48
  • If the question shows no effort why is it not downvoted?
    – user147520
    Feb 20 '17 at 13:18
  • The sample question wasn't and still isn't downvoted.
    – user147520
    Feb 20 '17 at 13:31

It really depends on the question.

If the question is literally "Giv me teh codez!" I'd downvote the question, the answers, flag the question & move on with my life.

Same if the question is missing vital informations, and the answer(s) are simply playing a guessing game. Downvote everything, flag the question, move on.

However, when the question is too broad, badly formatted, poorly phrased etc., I'd try to fix what I can with edits, because those Q&A's actually have potential merit for future readers.

If someone googles for a problem and...

  • finds a highly localized "Giv codez!"-Q&A, he probably won't gain anything from it apart from frustration. So, most likely no merit for future readers.

  • finds a question that seems to cover his issue and goes through the answers only to find out that they're only guesses, one'll most likely not gain anything from it, apart from frustration due to the wasted time.

  • finds an edited question that, once hardly readable, now is clear in it's way of describing the issue, and has answers that adress the issue, one'll most likely find the answer to his issue there.

So, in conclusion:

  • Question can be improved - Improve it

  • Question cannot be improved - DV + flag


Technically we should judge posts on their own: was the answer of high quality, does it add something useful that wasn't said before? If so, you can place an upvote. Isn't it useful, for example because it is a mediocre answer to a well-known duplicate with much better answers? Then feel free to downvote.

I think we should be reluctant to downvote just because someone answers a bad-written, under-researched question. The answer can be particularly useful to future visitors. Just do what you have to do to the question: edit it, downvote it, flag to close it, etc.

  • 1
    I do this but what bothers me is people dont put in any efforts now a days as they know someone will answer it and it will solve their problem. Yes they will receive downvotes but I don't think they care much about rep
    – Rajesh
    Feb 20 '17 at 12:45
  • 3
    If you downvote, vote to close and possibly vote to delete the user asking will get question banned quicker and the user putting in an answer will lose their reputation gained. That's all what we can do. Feb 20 '17 at 12:47

That's how the closing a question works: stops answers from being added.

If the question is not clear the you can vote to close it as:

unclear what you're asking

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.

Or you can improve the question.

As in most cases, answers obviously depends upon the nature of question, you have to handle the question in order to handle the possible answers to the questions.

Sometimes unclear and/or opinion based questions motivate (provide a platform for) unwanted answers. In that case you have to either try to improve the question to make it suitable or vote to close as unclear or primarily opinion based.

You can't stop others from answering to the open questions. Talking about answers, if you find it doesn't answer the question then you can flag it as "not an answer". If the answer is well written and useful then you should upvote it.

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