It's quite clear to me the reason for establishing rules on any Stack Exchange site. Yesterday, I found this question, which I answered, and once sent, I read JakeGould's comment and realized that indeed, it was an off-topic question, as it's asking for a software recommendation (mostly).

My question is: Should I remove my answer so I stop promoting questions that are against the Super User policy? Or are these policies concerning only questions and not answers?

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    Loose translation ^, It can be left there, when the question is deleted , the replies/answers to it will also be deleted.
    – Psycogeek
    Sep 11, 2015 at 12:36
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    @borodatych Super User is an English-only site, and questions/answers/comments must be in English.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Sep 11, 2015 at 13:35
  • @borodatych: Translation, “You can leave. When the question Delete, Delete and all the answers to it.” Sep 11, 2015 at 16:43
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    @borodatych: the drawback of that is answers that aren't downvoted keep the question from being deleted by the system.
    – fixer1234
    Sep 11, 2015 at 21:04

3 Answers 3


Short answer.

My edits as well as comment on that question was my assumption of good faith on the part of a new contributor to the site. Since the password protection part of the question was valid, my comment was—and is—meant to encourage the contributor to perhaps self-edit their question to make it more appropriate for the site. And at worst, it serves as an explanation as to why the question might be closed or receive no attention.

If after a day or so, the original poster doesn’t act or even acknowledge the issues, then I consider the question useless at best and a nuisance at worst with bad answers piling on top of bad answers and a door open for SPAM posts. Low quality posts attract low quality content. Comments like what I posted are made to encourage users to understand these sites are not some random message board. This site is a resource that is useful if you understand how to use it.

Longer answer.

You are asking this:

It's quite clear to me the reason for establishing rules on any StackExchange site. Yesterday, I found this question, which I answered, and once sent, I read JakeGould's comment and realized that indeed, it was an offtopic question, as it's asking for a software recommendation (mostly).

Now, let’s read the comment I left on that question here:

A few issues with this question. First the password protection question is valid and I believe would work here on it’s own or perhaps on the Web Applications Stack Exchange site. But past that the rest of the question regarding an alternative piece of software is really not appropriate for this site. It’s too broad and opinion based.

My comment is two parts as the original poster’s question is two parts. I believe the password protection aspect that kicks off the question is perfectly valid with the only very slight caveat that being that the Web Applications Stack Exchange site might be a better fit.

The rest of the question is definitely just asking for software recommendations. And heck, the title of the question itself is off-topic if not unclear: “Dropbox or similar program”

The problem is this kind of question ends up being a mess of opinions, recommendations and delusions. No disrespect to your answer nKn, but to me it takes all of 5 seconds of reading a question like that to make a strong assumption that the original poster needs an “off the shelf” and “ready to roll” package and cannot even begin to understand what needs to be done to implement a tool like ownCloud. Simply downloading ownCloud, installing it and running it is only the tip of the iceberg in setting up a package like that. And it also sounds like the user is in a very small office without I.T. staff so Dropbox makes sense.

Past any of that, while the question was close as I literally have been typing this answer, another new contributor commented that this question is a duplicate of this other question. In the assumption of good faith towards new contributors, I now think the question should just have been closed as a duplicate—and not as off topic—simply with comments standing explaining the disparity in the question’s content.


From: Should I answer off-topic questions?

Accepted Answer: "Generally speaking, answering questions that should get closed encourages bad behavior."

From: Is it bad to answer off-topic questions, knowing they are off-topic?

Accepted Answer: "Yes, it is bad to answer off-topic questions. What on earth is the point of defining them as off-topic if you're going to answer them anyway?"

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    Except that in this case the OP didn't think it was off topic when answering. They're asking what you should do when you realise it's off topic after answering. Sep 19, 2015 at 15:53

No it's not; SE is for helping people, which you did.

Migrate the QA to https://softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/ if that's a better location.

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    “SE is for helping people.” Yes, and 50% of the question being discussed was about some technical specifics to Dropbox usage which is on-topic here at Super User but the remaining 50% was a software recommendation. So what happens if this question gets tossed to “Software Recommendations?” Do people then state the 50% that is correct for Super User is incorrect there? Stack Exchange is for “helping” people, but none of us want’s to deal with unfocused “Help! Here is a sack of my problems! Fix them all now!” questions. Sep 15, 2015 at 18:25
  • Then only answer the on-topic part and tell him to move his off-topic part to a better-suited site. Sep 16, 2015 at 7:36
  • “Then only answer the on-topic part and tell him to move his off-topic part to a better-suited site.” Wishful thinking. Most posters of bad questions just dump (aka: post) their question wherever they feel like it and then act indignantly when anyone attempts to correct the or engage them. Sep 16, 2015 at 15:22
  • Non-cynical thinking that the user wouldn't mind a gentle reminder. The site FAQ is pretty hidden until they're actually writing a question, and even then they must peruse the sidebar to see if they even should write their question on this site. Sep 16, 2015 at 15:31
  • Not cynical, but it is a realistic view about how someone who is a new user who just posts a laundry lists of issues behaves. In general, people who believe they can just “vomit” at list of issues at someone and expect a response don’t listen to reason. They believe they are entitled to a response and entitlement is not reasonable. Also, in my answer I state how I commented first and then waited for a response. If after a day they don’t respond, close the thread. Sep 16, 2015 at 15:38
  • Prejudice, and i got blasted on a SE site for expecting an answer during a weekend. That's two days. Sep 16, 2015 at 15:44
  • On the topic of your answer which claims, “…SE is for helping people, which you did.” Stack Exchange helps people who can help themselves and whose questions/answers can help others. Quality is the focus of the Stack Exchange sites. And it’s not the job of the community here to babysit and coddle every person who decides to post here. Especially when that poster cannot follow basic rules of human interaction when asking for help. As for the claim of “Prejudice…” please work in customer service/retail for some period. You’ll quickly learn what patterns of behavior are dysfunctional. Sep 16, 2015 at 16:02
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    Fortunately, attendance here is voluntary. Sep 16, 2015 at 16:29

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