I answered this question on Serverfault earlier today, a user wanted to know how he could redirect from a subdomain to an application. I gave the user a number of options, one of which was URL Rewriting. The user asked how he could to this, so I pointed him to an article that walked him through URL rewriting and how to do it.

I then saw the user had posted a question, asking how to do the rewriting, then 4 minutes later posted the answer to his own question, great! However as you can see from the question the user then added a comment saying "Thanks for nothing server fault". This wound me up a bit, I was quite annoyed that had he not come to serverfault he would never have known that URL Rewriting would solve his problem, so I ranted a little, maybe I shouldn't have, but hey. Anway the users response was that I shouldn't have spoon fed him, I should have given him a straight answer that he could use directly.

Personally, I believe that if I can show a user how to do something so they understand the principle and can use it again, then that is better than just telling them exactly how to solve their specific problem, but am I in the wrong here, should I just have explained to the user how to solve his exact problem, is this how we should answer every question and stop trying to teach users how to do things, just answer questions?


I've noticed the questions getting some downvotes now, I didn't post to get revenge on the guy, It's a valid question, and a valid answer and doesn't deserve downvotes, it may be of use to someone in the future. I just didn't like the way things ended up and wanted to know what others thought.

2 Answers 2


Well, FWIW, I agree with your reaction. The OP should have posted the specific answer in the original question thread pointing out that the pointers in your answer had helped him figure out the specific solution to his problem. He could have then accepted his own answer with beneficial results for the community. There was no need for the "thanks for nothing" comment.

BTW, I think you have enough rep to vote to close the second question as a duplicate.

  • I'll leave the thread, unless anyone else wants to close it, as it's a valid answer, and I don't want to seem vindictive. I'm glad the OP was able to work out how to solve his problem, to me that shows that things work as they should.
    – Sam Cogan
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 22:23
  • Yeah, that guy was an ass. I'm glad he's not at my company.
    – Ether
    Commented Mar 24, 2010 at 23:13

A pedagogical response is always appropriate.

However, not all posters will appreciate it, and you may not get as many votes as a finished answer.

The OP's complaints are pretty much par for the course from the ever-so-entitled set, and are slightly out of line, but I would recommend letting it go.

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