I posted a question What wildcard operators are supported in Kronos WFC searches? on SO.

The question includes an incomplete list of wildcard operators I was able to find through my own experimentation. After the posting my question, I began wondering whether I should have posted my information as a self-answer.

On one hand, including my research in the question shows the research effort that went into the question before posting. It shows the attempts I've made so far, and indicates that the problem hasn't been fully solved.

On the other hand, posting as a separate answer could be more helpful for future readers, as the information may be considered a solution for others with the same issue.

When asking a question which we have an incomplete answer for, should it be included as part of the question? Or should it be posted as a separate answer?


3 Answers 3


Don't post half-answers, especially if you know the solution did not work for you.

There is nothing wrong with outlining your initial progress as part of your overall problem statement. Just put it in the body of the question.

Anytime you can add further context to your question to help arrive at the proper solution — like what you have already tried or what didn't work for you — you should add it to the body of the question. If you've worked up a 50% (or a 99%) solution, you should say so explicitly in your question and share exactly where you've run into problems from there. That will help avoid users only guessing at what information will help you specifically.


Your problem arises because you are asking the wrong question. Your real question is probably one of these:

  • Is there a wildcard operator do to [thing - eg match at the beginning of a line only] in Kronos WFC searches?
  • Is this list of wildcard operators for Kronos WFC searches complete?
  • What wildcard operators in [whatever] are not supported in Kronos WFC searches?
  • What wildcard operators does Kronos WFC searches have that [whatever] does not?
  • [Specifically forbidden on SO] Where can I find the documentation for wildcard operators in Kronos WFC searches?

Once you have a crisper question, you no longer wonder about what to do with your partial list.

Personally, I far prefer the first version. SO is really bad at "let's make a list" questions. If you're wishing you could do something, ask how to do it. You may end up with a list after a few questions, but don't ask a question whose answer is a list.


Your partial solution isn't an answer. However a partial solution that dosen't work is a good example of doing your homework, testing and what someone else trying to replicate your set up wouldn't know.

Partial solutions in a question are brilliant. They help the people trying to answer. They help the next guy, as far as this dosen't work or this works so far.

Now, the problem I see with your question is, you're essentially trying to create documentation - in the form of a list, which is something the QA format is terrible at. A better way would be to wrap your question in a practical problem, even if it somewhat restricts the scope of your question. It might even be worth crafting questions around specific useful queries.

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