A recent question triggered this, although I've seen many such cases in the past (as I'm sure have others). In all such cases the OP describes some steps that have been followed and also seemingly anomalous results. This naturally leads to a bout of head-scratching as people consider the situation and post comments and answers positing all sorts of possible reasons and solutions.

The real issue arises when the OP admits (sometimes sheepishly) in a comment or a question update/edit or a self-answer that a mistake was made after all while following standard procedure and when that was corrected things worked exactly as one would expect.

I) Should such questions be closed as being Too Localized, since:

  1. It's doubtful others will make the exact same mistake.

  2. This will prevent others from also wasting their time attempting to answer, because often the OP's comment with their admission gets hidden by default.

II) If the community agrees that such questions should be closed, besides VTCing is there any way to highlight the Too Localized aspect so people don't waste their time? Leaving a comment for others might irk the OP (people don't like others pointing out their mistakes), and of course there's every chance that comment will get hidden as well.

Edit: Now that Too Localized has been entirely removed (unfortunately IMO, with no perfect substitute), this answer (including the comment by Jeff Atwood) is of particular interest. Don't forget to join the discussion on MSO and/or upvote relevant answers that discuss things no longer addressed by the current reasons for closure.

Related: What do we do with "update: fixed it" questions?

  • To be clear, what kind of questions are you referring to? "I tried this but it doesn't work" resolved by "Learn to read and try again", or "I tried this but it broke something" resolved by "You did it wrong, and here's how to fix your computer"?
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Jun 3, 2013 at 17:14
  • 4
    @DanielBeck: Questions where people assume the OP knows what he is talking about and if at all someone asks the OP to double-check, is told that steps were followed accurately. Hence time is wasted by people trying to solve what seems to be a puzzling issue. Finally it is the OP himself who admits that a mistake was indeed made and now the problem is "solved".
    – Karan
    Jun 3, 2013 at 17:22
  • 2
    Can you give some specific examples of what you're talking about here? I'm not sure if I fully follow what class of questions you're referring too. Jun 3, 2013 at 17:33
  • Sounds like a great candidate for too localized, so VTC. Leave a comment explaining why -- there is no question -- and if the community agrees, the question and your comment will collect close and up votes, respectively. But bear in mind that some instructions are pretty difficult to understand (stupid example: Windows users often don't realize that uppercase and lowercase letters are not the same for command line tools) and it's conceivable or even likely this person isn't the only one with this issue.
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Jun 3, 2013 at 17:37
  • @KronoS: Here's one with a few comments but no answers apart from the OP's own: superuser.com/questions/602546. I have seen lots of similar instances in the past that I can't track down now, which were worse in the sense that multiple comments/answers had been posted by people and finally there was just a small hidden comment from the OP stating XYZ had been forgotten after all. I'll add links if I can locate any of them (I distinctly remember upvoting the OP's comment each time just so it would be visible to others).
    – Karan
    Jun 3, 2013 at 17:45
  • And the problem the question has is referred to in the following statement? "Refer to my answer below: although I stated I had my Seagate drive disconnected during the initial install, I can't be absolutely positive this was the case, as reinstalling after disconnecting it...appears to have solved the issue"
    – Daniel Beck Mod
    Jun 3, 2013 at 17:48
  • @DanielBeck: Yep, in this case there was at least a question edit and answer, but I've seen just a comment being left and nothing else (no answer selected obviously because none was correct, and no self-answer either). Anyway, even with a self-answer there's no reason the question can't be closed. That's what I'm asking, what do we do with all such cases, irrespective of where the OP admitted his fault?
    – Karan
    Jun 3, 2013 at 17:50
  • BTW this is not restricted to software questions only obviously. I've seen more than one question where the OP admitted that when they reinserted the card/cable/doodad it worked fine "this time".
    – Karan
    Jun 3, 2013 at 17:58
  • Also, I don't know if it's possible to search comments, but searching answers for the word "typo" returns a number of results where the OP admits to a mistake while typing/editing. How might such questions be helpful to others?
    – Karan
    Jun 5, 2013 at 16:50
  • I think this fits into the category "not a real question" as it states in the description of this flag the criteria is if the quesitno is "incomplete"... Well, if they've provided additional data in a comment, then that's no use and incomplete(IMO it's not reasonable to read all the comments to understand a question)! Although I fully understand the point you're making. Maybe in these cases, you have a choice of either category?
    – Dave
    Jun 14, 2013 at 18:06


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