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My query covers 2 related scenarios:

1) The original question is language specific

2) The original question is language agnostic

In the first case, some responders introduce a 2nd language into the post by way of an answer. While I appreciate they're trying to help, I believe that it should be possible to flag this as off topic.

In the second case, some responders introduce a specific language into the post by way of an answer. Again, I believe they're trying to help, but again, it should be possible to flag this as off topic.

I'm more than happy to be corrected on this but I haven't seen a single question ever where the scenarios outlined above resulted in an accepted answer or even a well received one.

Is there any mileage in adding a feature to handle this is or should we just let the usual voting process take its course?

Perhaps as a half way house we allow something in between a comment and answer which could gain credit but not clutter up the question?

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In the first case, some responders introduce a 2nd language into the post by way of an answer. While I appreciate they're trying to help, I believe that it should be possible to flag this as off topic.

A Java answer to a C++ question is not "off topic". It is, however, useless, so you should downvote. That's it.

In the second case, some responders introduce a specific language into the post by way of an answer. Again, I believe they're trying to help, but again, it should be possible to flag this as off topic.

This one's a little more difficult but, again, if an answer is wrong then it is wrong and should be downvoted. An answer specific to Python that attempts to answer a language-agnostic question is wrong.

But if your question is language agnostic then answerers have to choose some way of communicating their knowledge to you; be sure that they're not just picking an arbitrary language with which to make their point. After all, if your question is language-agnostic, then by definition it doesn't matter in which language the answer is illustrated… as long as it is just an illustration.

I'm more than happy to be corrected on this but I haven't seen a single question ever where the scenarios outlined above resulted in an accepted answer or even a well received one.

Okay, so go ahead and downvote those answers.

Is there any mileage in adding a feature to handle this is or should we just let the usual voting process take its course?

This is literally what the voting process exists for.

Perhaps as a half way house we allow something in between a comment and answer which could gain credit but not clutter up the question?

There are forums, message boards and chat rooms for that. Stack Exchange prospers because it has a clean Q&A model, with no chit-chat. You shouldn't gain credit for something that does not answer a question, because such a thing does not belong on this network.

  • In the 2nd case, there is often a snippet of code included which (unless it is readable as pseudo code to the layman) often fails to make the intended point. – Robbie Dee Mar 30 '16 at 14:51
  • With regards to my last point - I think there is space for this. It might be very useful to someone, just not the OP necessarily. I was thinking of some sort of appendices type thing although granted - the focus should be on helping the OP rather than those who came across the question serendipitously... – Robbie Dee Mar 30 '16 at 14:56
  • @RobbieDee: You can edit unrelated code out of any post. No need for a flag. – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 30 '16 at 15:41
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    @RobbieDee: "the focus should be on helping the OP rather than those who came across the question serendipitously" Actually no, as a Q&A rather than a helpdesk, every question must be able to help the latter group. I don't see how adding unrelated information achieves either goal though; at least, not to the extent required to make it worthwhile. – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 30 '16 at 15:42
  • @RobbieDee Do you have any specific examples in mind? Your comments don't make a lot of sense to me as I can't imagine how an answer about Python-specific behaviors on a language-agnostic question would be likely to help anyone, OP or otherwise, unless it was somehow relevant to the original question. – Ixrec Mar 31 '16 at 1:28
  • An example of the first – Robbie Dee Mar 31 '16 at 7:52
  • @RobbieDee: IDGI. That's a C# question and I see no other languages mentioned. Or if you mean the duplicate gnat proposed, that's just gnat being gnat; don't worry about it. You'll notice that nobody agreed with him. – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 31 '16 at 8:59
  • @BarryTheHatchet There's a C++ answer to a C# question... – Robbie Dee Mar 31 '16 at 9:00
  • @RobbieDee: Oh so there is (could have linked to it!: P) – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 31 '16 at 9:09

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