What is the best way to handle (or expected way) to handle a question where the Question does not match the steps needed to provide a good answer.

For example this user has asked a question where the comments have proven there is a huge knowledge gap that needs to be filled before a good answer can be provided.

I posted a close vote, but I can see a few other approaches to it too:

  • Edit the question significantly to include the users obvious knowledge gap
  • Post an answer that would be significantly outside the original answer (A guide with many additional answers and steps.
  • Move the question to a forum where this could be addressed better
  • Move the user to a chat (Which some one should have done already IMO) and have them edit the question when they can refine it or open a new better question.

As a community, what would be the ideal approach?

1 Answer 1

  • Post an answer that would be significantly outside the original answer (A guide with many additional answers and steps.

I've done this a few times and it's been fairly well-received, so I don't see the problem with just doing that.

  • 7
    This. Posting an answer that not only tells them what they need to do but also explains the crucial gap in their knowledge could be the greatest help you could be to a person. Have you ever had a problem understanding a large topic then someone explains a particular part of it and the rest of it just fell into place as a result? That's why this approach is sometimes very important.
    – Mokubai Mod
    Jul 10, 2014 at 20:30
  • 1
    @Mokubai good point. I think I was really caught up more in the endless comments that were obviously coming and wanted to head that off. A great answer that goes above and beyond would do that, and fulfill the knowledge gap issue as well. Jul 11, 2014 at 3:53
  • @AthomSfere Additionally it helps others with the same question but without the knowledge gap. It's a loss to the Internet as a whole if a good answer isn't posted because the person with the question who just happened to be the one to ask it didn't understand the answer. Any remaining knowledge gap can be filled in with comments on the answer by one or more other people if they choose (meaning the knowledge gap burden isn't entirely on the author of the answer, the community can share it in comment form), as well.
    – Jason C
    Jul 11, 2014 at 23:47
  • There are thousands of questions worse than the one pointed, where it isn't even evident where the gap is or if any sort of effort was put into the question to start with. It is these sorts of questions that should be put to rest. Jul 11, 2014 at 23:53
  • Thank you for reporting those answers. Even I that I wouldn't try such a silly think as opening an .exe with the notepad, didn't know all the details. The compression one was totally eye-opener! I don't agree with the OP. We might need more of these answers, not less!
    – Con7e
    Jul 15, 2014 at 12:07
  • Educating people for the win! Isn't that the point of StackExchange? To provide knowledge in a format that's conducive to finding that information easily, allowing people to self-educate with questions that already have a good answer in the future.
    – jpmc26
    Jul 15, 2014 at 16:23

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