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I use the term "hiccup" to refer to an unusual. one time problem that can't be replicated, can't be diagnosed or solved, and disappears on its own. The unanswered question pool has many of them. A new one occurred a short time ago: Programs require admin to save to second HDD. In this case, the OP was considerate enough to at least post back a comment that the issue went away on its own. But the question is still there, unmodified, attracting people to spend time determining if they can help.

On many sites, "solved" problems are indicated by adding [Solved] to the title. Superuser is more about the questions and answers than whether an OP solved their problem, so that mechanism probably isn't appropriate here. But it seems like there ought to be some method to indicate closure for these kinds of questions, which will never have an "Accepted" checkmark to serve that purpose. What is the appropriate way to handle these?

  • Should it be handled differently if the OP states that the problem is fixed vs. finding an old, abandoned question that is recognizable as a hiccup?
  • Is this an appropriate use of close question (simply marking it closed will accomplish the purpose)?
  • Should it be deleted on the basis that it is of no use to anyone else? (Does a question of no use to anyone else fit the definition for the site?)
  • Is there some other way to indicate that the question does not need an answer? (If a question doesn't need an answer, does it fit the site's definition?)
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Should it be handled differently if the OP states that the problem is fixed vs. finding an old, abandoned question that is recognizable as a hiccup?

No – if it's clear that the question is about a problem that cannot be reproduced anymore, then it doesn't matter if the OP explicitly stated that or not.

Is this an appropriate use of close question (simply marking it closed will accomplish the purpose)?

Yes. Actually, Stack Overflow has a close reason for these things:*

This question was caused by a problem that can no longer be reproduced or a simple typographical error. While similar questions may be on-topic here, this one was resolved in a manner unlikely to help future readers.

The key point is actually the last sentence (I ommitted one from the SO close reason). If the question is not useful to future readers, then it should be closed, which will eventually lead it to…

Should it be deleted on the basis that it is of no use to anyone else? (Does a question of no use to anyone else fit the definition for the site?)

… being deleted. That's what we would typically do with these questions. It's the natural way for questions to become deleted automatically if they're closed and not answered.

Now, of course, if the OP is answering their question and saying "I fixed it, there was a typo", or "I rebooted and the problem went away", then a moderator would have to delete the question, because questions with accepted or upvoted answers are not auto-deleted.

And we absolutely want to get rid of questions that are not useful for anyone except the OP. Allowing such questions would significantly deteriorate the quality of our content in the long run.

Is there some other way to indicate that the question does not need an answer? (If a question doesn't need an answer, does it fit the site's definition?)

There is no other way. Like you say, if a question doesn't need an answer then it shouldn't have been posted in the first place.

* Note that we cannot add another custom close reason as we're limited to three. However, seeing typos or minor "hiccups" is way more common on Stack Overflow, so it makes sense to have it as a separate close reason there. On Super User you can just flag such posts.

  • I remember the "Too Localized" reason being used for this – Canadian Luke Nov 3 '14 at 16:54
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    Yeah. Unfortunately "localized" meant something completely different when you look it up online. I wish we had this close reason back though. – slhck Nov 3 '14 at 16:56
  • Would you recommend deleting such a question, or closing it? It sounds like delete, but just confirming. If close, what close reason? For example. – Jason C Nov 3 '14 at 18:08
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    @JasonC Well, closing is something the community can do, so that's the first step when no mod is around. If you want to flag your question for immediate deletion, that's also fine. Of course, it makes sense to think about whether the info can be rephrased in such a way that it would actually be useful for visitors. But if not, then yeah, let's just delete it. – slhck Nov 3 '14 at 18:56
  • What about combining the Software and hardware recommendations/shopping reasons into one reason, then "Unreproducible" as another? – Canadian Luke Nov 7 '14 at 0:01
  • @CanadianLuke We tried that, but the resolution of these questions is different. Meaning, the suggestion to improve hardware rec questions is always to ask about what to look for when buying, whereas for software rec questions you should just state your problem. We found it hard to put that in one close reason, but of course, we're open to suggestions. That being said I don't see this version of "too localized" being used so often that it warrants a separate close reason. – slhck Nov 7 '14 at 7:59
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    Having said all that, it would do well to let hiccup questions sit for awhile before deletion. Example: superuser.com/questions/837692/…. An unreproducible stray event, no diagnostic information, 4 downvotes because of no expectation that the question was answerable based on the available information. And yet, someone recognized the symptom and had a solution. Go figure. – fixer1234 Nov 11 '14 at 4:29
  • I have been flagging a few questions like this as “localized” or “person solved on their own with no significant revelations.” The point being that it’s great someone solved an issue, but unless there is something that can be gleaned from the process, the question and related “Solved it!” answer are complete cruft in my humble opinion. – JakeGould Nov 11 '14 at 19:27

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