A clearly off-topic question: https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/106165/what-is-the-relationship-between-chuck-norris-and-programmers/

I wrote an answer making it clear that there is no real significance, as I assumed it could be useful for someone trying to find information in a bizarre circumstance: https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/106165/what-is-the-relationship-between-chuck-norris-and-programmers/106169#106169 (update: I deleted the answer, it may be visible to high-rep users)

Is ANY response to such a blatantly off topic question detrimental to the community (despite the intention to add a scintilla of usefulness)? Should questions like this be completely ignored until they're closed?

  • 1
    Depends on why you answer questions in general. If it's to build a large database of question/answer that last over time, you shouldn't answer. If it's to help fellow programmers, any answer (even if question is being deleted later) is useful.
    – user2567
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 14:28
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    @Pierre +1 that was my consideration for adding the answer, to make it clear there's no significance to anyone looking for some. Since this information can be added in a comment without giving the poor quality question the oxygen of an answer, and will preserve the quality of the SE, that might be the best approach.
    – StuperUser
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 14:39
  • If you answer such questions keep in mind, that you run a certain risk, that one of the more infantile moderators may downvote it before closing the question... Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 11:18

1 Answer 1


Strictly speaking you shouldn't answer an off topic question, at best you should just post a comment. However, I would admit that there are grey areas - not sure that this is one though.

Each time an answer is provided it dilutes the site. Someone can point to that question and say "well it was answered" when they post their off topic question.

By making sure that we don't answer and quickly close these questions it's much easier to maintain the site's standards.

  • I'll delete the answer and update the comment. The attitude of comments for any exceptionally useful information and no answers for an off-topic question is a good one. I suppose if you don't know whether something is on-topic enough for an answer, it isn't.
    – StuperUser
    Commented Sep 6, 2011 at 14:30

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