22

Suppose:

  • You ask a question;
  • Someone (well meaning though he may be) writes an answer which simply does not answer your question, but rather tells you what you should and shouldn't be doing;
  • The answer gets a significant (> 5) number of votes, and some positive comments.

Now when people look at the question, they see a high-vote answer and think the problem is solved. What can one do, other than a comment saying "that doesn't help me at all"? I can't downvote by more than 1, plus, that won't help since it's the only answer anyway, plus, downvoting is expensive.

30

I would suggest you first edit your question to clearly state why the answer does not solve the problem. That will bring the question to the front page again, and people who click on it will see that the issue is not resolved. If that doesn't get you better answers, you can assign a bounty. This is much more expensive than downvoting, but also a much more efficient way of getting good answers to complicated problems.

10

First, apologies if this "answer" (more of a long comment) appears to be a duplicate of the exact problem you are referring to :-)

There are other questions here where the accepted answer is significantly outvoted by a different answer -- there is even a badge for that: Populist.

I do not think there is anything wrong with there being a high number of votes on what is considered a "non-answer" by the OP. Until the answer is accepted people here know that that did not answer your question (The one exception being the users with a rep indicating that they are new to the site, or just came to get one answer, and went away.)

If that answer is getting a lot of up votes that just means that many people agree that you should not do that. While this may not be of immediate help to you, it may be very useful to someone in the future who is considering doing something and come across your question. When they see the high number of votes on that, they may reconsider.

There are quite a few people on here that have a lot of relevant experience so their advice should not be discarded. That begin said, to every rule there is an exception (and probably to this rule as well :-), so since you still feel that you want to do what you asked, doing as Jake suggested is the way to go. And posting a bounty will help to get that question noticed.

  • The lots-of-upvotes answer got upvotes (I think) because it was the only answer; and possibly because it was phrased as a sort of a lecturing ("you should/shouldn't X; you don't realize that Y"). And, yes, your answer is kind of like his answer is that you don't consider the possibility that someone actually gave irrelevant advice: "How do I do X?" "Don't do X." (crowd cheers) "But I need to do X because of Y" "Ok, let's talk about workarounds. But I'll keep my preachy preamble." (two more votes) – einpoklum - reinstate Monica Nov 26 '11 at 19:23
  • Sorry if I was not clear. I do consider that you "need to X" and that was what I was trying to communicate in the last two sentences on following Jake's advice. My main point was to not be too bothered by the "do not do X" answer as that is useful for future visitors of the site. If you feel it is wrong advice you are free to vote it down, but if others feel it is useful advice they are free to vote it up. So based on that I would assume it is relevant advice, but just not for you. In the case where it is totally irrelevant, or inappropriate I guess you could flag it for moderator attention. – Peter Grill Nov 26 '11 at 20:08
  • Ok, I'll have to be specific. I needed to have an even-numbered page be a verso. The answer said: You shouldn't do that. But since it's a Hebrew document, you actually need to do that, and the upvotes - I feel - were at least partly unjustified. But the answer was expanded to contain, well, additional answers which are workarounds for the problem, so just part of it is now inappropriate (but the first part got the votes). – einpoklum - reinstate Monica Nov 26 '11 at 20:15
  • I assume you are referring to this question, and it looks like you answered your own question. Since that is the accepted answer, others who want to do the same thing will see how to do that along with the "you should not do that" so can decide for themselves as to how to proceed. Since that question is now answered, if you are looking for improvements feel free to post a follow up question. – Peter Grill Nov 26 '11 at 20:59
  • Well, yes, ok, but my question here was about the general situation rather than my specific question. – einpoklum - reinstate Monica Nov 26 '11 at 21:16
  • In general, Jake's suggestion is the way to go. – Peter Grill Nov 26 '11 at 21:24

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