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Consider the following question:

How can I handle merging and splitting lots in a city block?

The original version of this question presents a reasonable problem that the asker would like a solution for. It is a well-defined, interesting problem relevant to game development, and would make a good question on this site.

Unfortunately, the asker then went on to present a pretty viable-sounding solution within the question itself and the actual question posed was "is this solution viable?" This reduces the question to a yes-or-no question, and perhaps related follow-up, but it generally does not make for a good question or good answers. We typically close this questions for a variety of reasons, usually because they are opinion-based or too broad (since we lack the relevant details and background to actually address the viability of the solution unless it's totally off the rails).

I would like to save these sorts of questions. So how should we go about that?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Our previous discussion on this topic: meta.gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/1048/… And one from meta.stackoverflow: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/108969/… \$\endgroup\$ – Trevor Powell Jan 15 '14 at 21:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I completely failed to find those. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Jan 15 '14 at 21:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have also noticed that quite often the community asks for more information than the basic question. Which often leads to the attempt at a solution / partial solution appearing in the question. \$\endgroup\$ – avanderw Jan 17 '14 at 6:34
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What I think we should do for these questions (modified slightly per the MSO post that Trevor helpfully pointed me at) is:

  • Remove the proposed solution or current approach from the question.
  • Edit the question so that instead of asking "is this okay?" or "any suggestions or advice for improvements?" parts, it is simply asking "how can I accomplish this?"
  • Post the proposed solution as a community wiki answer.

This allows the asker to get their original question ("is this a good idea?") answered implicitly based on the number of upvotes their answer gets. It also allows room for other users to post alternative solutions without having to wiggle around the rather poorly-suited-for-the-site query of "is this okay?" and it avoids the feeling of cheapness one might get by gaining reputation through an answer that is just restating a proposed solution (via the community wiki flag).

Obviously this should only apply if the proposed solution is actually a viable one; as pointed out in our original discussion on this topic, it's possible that the user's solution is really just a demonstration of steps they've tried that aren't working for them.

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    \$\begingroup\$ But as note, sometimes asking a question and giving it an answer could be received poorly by the community. The answer might not be downvoted. But also might not be upvoted, so the upvotes might not reflect the actual quality of the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – concept3d Jan 16 '14 at 11:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, but that is always true across all questions and answers on the site, so I think that's a wash. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Jan 16 '14 at 14:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @concept3d: I can't say that won't ever happen, but it definitely shouldn't. \$\endgroup\$ – Ilmari Karonen Jan 19 '14 at 13:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I just tried to apply this solution here: gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/72023/… , and I found it doesn't work for closed questions. Alas. \$\endgroup\$ – Seth Battin Mar 17 '14 at 18:31

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