I've recently tried to answer my own question with a bug I've had with NetBeans.

For some reason, for me at least, the question wasn't relevant since the bug stopped happening for some reason, so I did the sensible thing: wrote an answer saying it was solved. I got -3 for that answer.

It might have been better to edit my own question, but I wasn't aware of the protocol (since it was my 3rd or 2nd question). Nevertheless, that's not the issue, mainly because when you make mistakes you are most likely to learn from them rather than learning the rules on some page.

What I've seen from the comment on my answer is that it doesn't solve the case. So it kind of made me think: Are the questions on Stack Overflow more for the visitor or for the questioner?

Sure, it seems like Stack Overflow is trying to be a huge reference more than a forum.

(Not that there's anything wrong with it, on the contrary, I just want to know how to behave accordingly.)

  • 5
    I bet that you got a negative post count because those people wanted to see how it go solved. In all likelihood they had the same problem as you.
    – rlb.usa
    May 18, 2010 at 10:06

2 Answers 2


Questions and answers are very much for the visitors that come after. When people answer your question, they are not talking directly to you. They are talking over your shoulder to a much larger audience. Stack Overflow has about 6.1 million unique visitors each month. That makes the system about 0.00000016% yours, 99.99999984% "other people."

Regarding the down-voting: "The problem went away" isn't an answer. You should update your original question so those that come after will not continue tracking down a non-existent problem. And variations of "my code should work, must be a bug in the compiler" aren't going to earn a lot of up-votes, either.

  • 1
    Really, just 6.1 unique visitors? Are the rest sockpuppets?
    – Aarobot
    May 18, 2010 at 15:00
  • 4
    Yes, it's just you, me, four friends and a foot. Fixed. May 18, 2010 at 15:26
  • 1
    your numbers are only valid if the 6.1 million visitors all read Asaf's question and find it useful. In fact it's been viewed 52 times in one day, suggesting that most of the 200,000 unique visitors yesterday aren't claiming ownership of the question.
    – MarkJ
    May 18, 2010 at 16:03

Based on this answer, here is what I think of

  • the answer isn't useful to the question (useful to questioner is different)
  • you posting comments as an answer
  • people don't think your solution make sense
  • or you misunderstanding something
  • wow, how did you see a deleted answer? neat. hmm, yeah I kind of mentioned that I made a mistake with all that but it seems that people are trying to keep the thread very tidy and organized as for "other people" the might come across the same problem and they can skim through it as quickly as possible.. just my hunch.
    – Asaf
    May 18, 2010 at 7:45
  • @Asaf, users with 10k+ can see deleted stuff. check faq
    – YOU
    May 18, 2010 at 7:58

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