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The Meta sites associated with Stack Exchange sites are full of discussions about on-topic/off-topic and what is a question worth to answer and stay. Arduino SE is a technical SE site and a large part of questions are about coding. So we can look for directions at Meta of the Stack Overflow (SO), the first and largest SE site. Even there the discussion continues, but some things are clear which here aren't.

One thing are trivial questions. In coding these are questions with missing braces, questions with typos in code, other syntax error questions, questions with 'code blindness'. These are off-topic on SO and off-topic on Arduino SE simply because they are pure coding questions (which should be asked on SO).

Then there are questions which, only after clarifying the details in comments, turn out to be trivial. This are sometimes closed on SO as 'not reproducible', because the problem went away.

These questions shouldn't be answered, if they are answered the answer shouldn't be upvoted. This allows the cleaning process nick-named Roomba (as the cleaning robot) to delete later this question + answers.

So we can help the seeker of an answer to a trivial question in comments or even in answers, but let the Roomba delete it later.

The example of trivial question for electronics would be, I think, a ground not connected where it definitely should be or 'not working' unpowered device.

One example outside of technical SE and not clear first for an outsider is that on Movies SE, movie identification questions are off-topic. If someone asks "I saw long time ago this movie where .... Do you know the title?", they close it, because the site would be full of this if they didn't. But of course they put the title in a comment.

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This question is probably a reaction to a comment I made on a (now deleted by the author) post, in which I said that comments under questions are not for answering questions.

I referenced this post: How do comments work

Stack Exchange is not a forum and is not intended for ephemeral questions (like, "how do I fix this trivial issue") which are answered in comments and then deleted by the author. You can use a forum for that, and in particular The Arduino Forum.

Either one of two things will be true:

  • The question is a good question. It deserves an answer, and the question and answer(s) will stand to help people in the future. Like a knowledge-base. In this case make an answer. Other people may make different answers. People vote on the answers. The highest-voted answer will float to the top. The person asking the question will hopefully "accept" one of the answers.

  • The question is not a good question. It should not be answered in a comment. It should be downvoted, and eventually closed and deleted.

I have a Meta post How to ask a good question for Arduino Stack Exchange. You can reference that.

If the question is borderline useful (for keeping) then you can improve it yourself. Perhaps change from a very specific example to a more general example.

You could also make your own reference question that covers the points raised, but not the specific example, and explains in some detail how to resolve this particular point.


Attempts to answer in comments, and allow the user to delete the question, basically turn you into an unpaid consultant. No-one else is helped, because the question is then either deleted by the OP, or auto-deleted as you seem to be suggesting is a good idea.

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  • "Comments are used to ask for clarification or to point out problems in the post." the code could have other problem then the trivial one. the user didn't know it is a trivial question. I think it was a case o 'code blindness'. on comment the user fixed the problem pointed in the comment and there was no other problem. case closed.
    – Juraj Mod
    Sep 28, 2020 at 8:28
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    "Problems in the post" is different to the problem being posted about. A problem in the post would be grammar, spelling, punctuation, formatting of code, incomplete statement of the issue, not enough information and so on. This isn't referring to a "trivial problem being asked". If the problem is a missing semicolon in the code (say) then either make an answer pointing that out, or vote to close the question as being too trivial to be asked.
    – Nick Gammon Mod
    Sep 30, 2020 at 2:07
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    the SO community didn't make the rule for fun. there is experience behind it. many times the trivial errors in code are only remains of debugging attempts and there is a real problem in the Question. so clearing trivial errors is clearing problems with the post. there should be no trivial errors in the post. if after clearing trivial problems there is no other problem, case closed. how many times OP doesn't write in wiring description that they have the grounds connected? do you want every time to write an answer about grounds not connected?
    – Juraj Mod
    Sep 30, 2020 at 6:48
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    How many times do I have to say this, I wonder? As per this Meta SO post comments are not for answering a question. You can't spin that around and say that you can answer trivial questions in a comment. The whole model breaks down if you answer questions in comments. No-one can vote the "answer" down or up. No-one can suggest improvements to your "answer". If the question is really trivial vote it down - don't answer it. You are training people to use SE as a quick syntax-error solving forum.
    – Nick Gammon Mod
    Sep 30, 2020 at 9:03
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    I didn't answer the question. I pointed out a trivial error in he code snippet. I can't know if it is the only problem since it is too obvious
    – Juraj Mod
    Sep 30, 2020 at 11:21
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    The "No answer in a comment" rule is not optimally formulated (IMHO). In the case of trivial or low value questions it has the effect of forcing a formal answer, in the worst case, reams of text saying something blindingly obvious, or leaving the OP without any form of response until the question is automatically deleted. Neither are particularly satisfactory. Why not use the comment to give a response to help the OP say a quick fix, a more focused search phrase for the OP to try, or a recommendation for another forum. Maybe also including a signal to other potential responders and downvote.
    – 6v6gt
    Apr 27, 2023 at 7:39
  • If you are going to write 50 words as a comment to answer the question, I don't see the difference between typing the same 50 words into the answer box. Then the system considers the question answered, and we don't keep getting reminded a year or two later that this question doesn't have an answer.
    – Nick Gammon Mod
    Apr 27, 2023 at 10:05
  • If you think the question is hopelessly bad, don't answer, or vote it down, or flag it for migration or deletion. But don't answer it in the comments. It is explicitly disallowed here.
    – Nick Gammon Mod
    Apr 27, 2023 at 10:08

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