I asked a question about decorations in tikz here and received two answers that have nothing to do with decorations or tikz, but sidestep the problem using pstricks.

I appreciate the effort made by the answerers, but it doesn't answer the question, and at the same time the question vanishes from the list of unanswered questions, decreasing the chances to an on-topic answer. What can I do about this?

Of course, it may sound quite selfish to say "I want my question answered properly and nicely". But I think that this is a general problem, I've seen this effect in other questions, leaving questions with unsatisfying answers around undetected.

  • Possibly related: meta.tex.stackexchange.com/q/3408
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Jul 28, 2014 at 19:39
  • @Turion: You can leave a comment, that a special answer might be nice, but not what you requested (because.... insert here ;-)), but you cannot prevent upvoting by users, who neither read your question nor an off-topic answer correctly, therefore performing silly upvotes. A comment by you won't help, but perhaps the users with 'wrong' answers will provide another solution.
    – user31729
    Jul 28, 2014 at 21:05
  • 4
    @ChristianHupfer, It would be useful if one could flag the question as unanswered or something like that.
    – Turion
    Jul 28, 2014 at 21:59
  • @Turion: Yes, that would be a good idea, a flag like This is an (off-topic) answer, only available to the OP, something like this.... The very hard way: Delete your question.
    – user31729
    Jul 28, 2014 at 22:06
  • 1
    This does seem a particular problem with questions to do with graphics. That is, somebody asks a question which does specify a particular programme but answers use a different one. (Both ways: somebody says they need pstricks and get tikz or vice versa or yet another possibility.) While people are correct to note that your question is not for your benefit alone, that could be said of almost any random, but useful, idea posted as a solution to an arbitrary question. I tend to agree this is problematic. Perhaps deleting your question is the solution if it discourages irrelevant answers.
    – cfr
    Aug 1, 2014 at 2:21
  • Also interesting: meta.tex.stackexchange.com/questions/3452/…
    – Turion
    Aug 1, 2014 at 9:50
  • 1
    The list of question clearly distinguishes between question with and without accepted answers. Isn't that sufficient?
    – Black
    Aug 11, 2014 at 15:00

2 Answers 2


Here are some options:

  1. Give up on the question in its current form, perhaps accepting one answer as "most helpful." Then ask a follow-up question where you focus your request to be specific in terms of the requirements (tikz in this case).

  2. Under certain conditions you can edit your question to specify certain (additional) criteria. This would bump the question back to the top of the main page where active questions are listed. As such, some attention will be brought back to the post, perhaps garnering an answer to your liking.

    I mention "certain conditions" for the following reason: It's off-putting to completely revise the question that makes existing answers seem irrelevant. Note that this is a site driven by a community and should therefore also benefit the community... not just the person who asks a question. Surely the asker benefits from contributors' answers, but it\s also worth keeping the bigger picture mind.

  3. Offer a bounty! After all, bounties are meant to "draw attention to posts". Of course, not everyone is interested in this approach, since bounties come with zero guarantee of a return on your investment. However, in my time here I've seen many valuable answers being posted under the tenure of a bounty.

  4. Perhaps coerce ask someone in chat to answer your question. Sometimes a discussion in piece-meal might lead to a solution... even one you could write up yourself and earn some reputation.


Answers that "sidestep the problem" by using a method other than the one you want might very well be useful to other visitors. You could ask your question again, making clear that you want the problem solved in a particular way. Link the two questions.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .