9

My question is about questions that only really help one person. I answered this question and I am not sure if I should have. He has an attempted Minecraft command, showing he was trying. The question has an answer. The OP was happy with my answer based on the comment left.

The answer was a very large, very specific command. Due to the length of the command, I am not sure how useful it will be to anyone else.

I have searched meta for 'too specific' which also lead into 'too localized.' I found a few questions on the subject but none of them answered my questions.

  1. Should I not answer questions like this?
  2. If not, what should I be doing? (Flag, comment, skip)
  • 1
    One thing I would note, it does appear that you did add some comments as to what was wrong with the command, but being able to explain what was wrong with the code and not just fixing it will help future users as they can at least look to see if they made similar mistakes. – Dragonrage Aug 11 '17 at 19:20
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    @Dragonrage Your comment is noted and understood. My answers will now include the better explanations of the mistakes and/or missing information. Looking back, that seems more important then the actual command/answer. Especially in terms of being useful to anyone other then the OP. – IronAnvil Aug 11 '17 at 20:51
19

No, we should not be intentionally leaving questions open and unanswered. Too localized was removed as a close reason in 2013, so "this question is not likely to help somebody else" is not, by itself, a reason to close a question.

Whether or not you want to spend your own time answering a question like this is really up to you. We shouldn't intentionally say "this question should not be answered", but we're also not saying "Unionhawk, you're a bronze user, it is your job to answer this".

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    Actually unionhawk it is your job to answer it, please get to work. – GodEmperorDune Aug 11 '17 at 18:37
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    You're not my supervisor – Unionhawk Aug 11 '17 at 18:37
  • I agree with Unionhawk leaving it open helps no one in a scenario like this. – Zissouu Aug 11 '17 at 18:50
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    @GodEmperorDune, wait for him to get a silver badge first. then it will be part of his job description :P – Dragonrage Aug 11 '17 at 19:18
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    @Unionhawk You have given me the answer I was hoping to get. My motivation in being here is to answer questions to help others and I enjoy some of the challenges presented here. Leaving a question unanswered because it may only help one person, leaves that one person who came here for help with a problem. – IronAnvil Aug 11 '17 at 20:58
1

The question you provided as an example is basically yet another reason why the answer to your question is no. I mean, look at it: The question itself is certainly of no use for anyone else. But, as dly's answer points out well, the actual issue this person had is a very common one. Quite few people know that NBT data of items in filled chest slots needs to be wrapped in a "tag" tag, and most people do it wrong the first time they use filled chests containing objects with NBT data. This way, and also for the reason that dly pointed out very well what the issue was (and also because of the helpful tips dly included), while answering the question for itself is only useful for that one person, dly's answer is very useful to many.

Of course, answering the question does not provide any guarantee for such a situation. The case shows very well that, in order to be useful to many, specific questions have stronger requirements to the quality of the answer. An answer like yours on the same question might have been very useful on a broader question, but on a question as specific as this one it's of no use for anyone else. The way dly answered it is the right one: Providing information for more general cases, while at the same time showing how to apply them to this specific case. It's not about answering specific questions or not - it's about giving good answers to them.

EDIT: Oops, my bad. I messed up which answer was which one. Anyway, you can learn a lot from dly's answer. I must point out, though, that your answer is still good - it answers the question. dly's answer, however, is exceptionally good, and several points that make the difference between a good answer and an exceptionally good one are what makes answering very specific questions valuable.

  • If you made a mistake and need to edit your post, just fix the mistake. There's no need to use strikeout and leave the old text there. – Kat Aug 16 '17 at 23:16
  • I thought some part might get confusing if you don't know how it was before. That's why I did it this way. If you think it's clear without, I can remove the old text. – Egor Hans Aug 17 '17 at 15:07
  • I think it's confusing the way it is. If some parts are confusing after correcting them, then they probably need to be updated too. – Kat Aug 17 '17 at 21:47
  • Strikethrough removed now. If any wording seems odd, please tell, or even better suggest an edit. – Egor Hans Aug 19 '17 at 8:35
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I agree with @Unionhawk's answer, just wanted to add my views on this question category.

As Unionhawk pointed out, the Too Localised close reason no longer exists due to major misuse. I do think it would've actually been a proper use for such questions.

There is an 'off-topic for the site' reason but its too bad we don't have a rule against asking questions that are overly specific to one particular user and unlikely to help anyone else. I thought there was language to that effect somewhere in site help earlier, but it seems to have been removed at some point.

Depending on the frequency of such questions, it may be worth discussing whether to ban them. For Arqade to function as a resource that helps others, having questions that don't do so are added noise. The 'easily searchable questions' we close have far greater relevance as part of the knowledge base as compared to this type.

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