Never Mind, I Found the Answer

One of the more frustrating posts I see in my blog comments, or in a forums thread, is “Never mind, I found the answer.”

Usually the poster has asked a question, and then whether or not their question has had answers or helpful suggestions, they’ll return and post “Never mind, I found the answer” (or something very similar).

It’s frustrating because it is entirely unhelpful. Did you find a solution that is already well known? Or is your solution obscure, hence when you were asking the community in the first place? We’ll never know, because you didn't say.

It’s also impolite to the folks who were trying to help you. Did one of them post something that lead you to the solution, even if they didn't provide the solution itself? You should acknowledge that, and explain the connection.

Ultimately this is all about improving the pool of knowledge within the community (the very community you are a part of, and were asking for help from in the first place). If the next person who searches through Google for your error message finds your thread, and all they find is “Never mind, I found the answer” then the community has not benefited at all.

On the other hand, if the next person finds your post that says:

I found the answer. Joe’s suggestion reminded me that X had been configured to achieve Y, and that was causing the error after I installed Z. After I changed X back to 12345, the error went away.

Then that is much more useful.

If you found the answer, share it!


Originally published at paulcunningham.me on January 4, 2016.