Every once in a while I see a question along the lines of:

My iPhone got run over by a train, then my friend threw the pieces in a thermite fire, and the ashes were accidentally encased in concrete then shot directly into the sun. What do I do?? Help!!!

Where the immediately obvious only answer is "So... go buy a new one" or (not in the case of the above example, of course) "Well I guess you better take it to a repair center". I can't imagine what kind of results an asker would expect by asking such a question online, other than sympathy.

What is the standard practice around here for questions like this? Ignore them? Down vote? Flag / close (what reason)? Comment? Answer? I don't spend a lot of time on this site and I'm not sure how you guys like to treat these types of questions, or if they're even a problem. To me, it doesn't seem like they belong.

2 Answers 2


Flag to close would be my preference for dealing with these types of questions. For a reason you can say, "Unclear what you're asking" because, really, what are they asking for here? A repair center? Condolences? A mocking?

  • 2
    I try to resist the mocking, though sometimes it does slip through my usually resilient 'politeness filter' ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 8:52
  • @Tetsujin The temptation can be great and thankfully there's a delete button for comments when we lose perspective or are too frustrated to self-restrain.
    – bmike Mod
    Commented May 7, 2015 at 14:56
  • @bmike - you may need to apply a late filter to this. Mea culpa, but while the answer survives, there may be hope for mankind. ;-) apple.stackexchange.com/questions/186211/…
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 8, 2015 at 21:15
  • @Tetsujin oh god, that was just so...poetic. Have an up vote!
    – Ian C.
    Commented May 8, 2015 at 23:20

I'm with Ian - down vote and then vote to close questions that are looking for an off-site resource without documenting the proper research the site asks for:

Also - keep in mind that "they don't belong" should always be enforced ruthlessly only on questions that don't clearly demonstrate some effort to be useful. We want to include everyone, even if they are struggling to learn the ropes - so be gracious and helpful to people, critical and clear about specific posts when you can call out specifically what's wrong with them and link to resources anyone can use to fix the poor posts.

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