This is not a duplicate of Should "Did not do the research" questions be answered or penalised? . It doesn't address the situation where the question is absurd and cannot be answered simply because the request is unreasonable.

I'd like to clarify I am not talking about asking how to work around a limitation.

Sometimes I see questions that not only deserve a "RTFM" but also simply could not be answered because the request contradicts the information provided by the user.

For instance, I want to accomplish X with tool Y that states specifically it was not in any way designed to support the specified feature.

This does not fall under "too broad", "off-topic" and so forth. How are these types of questions supposed to be handled? Closed with "other" or answered with an explanation of why this isn't possible in the first place?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Your title appears to be cut off. \$\endgroup\$
    – House
    Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 16:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Custom close reasons can be used for these types of questions. Add a specific comment with the reason it's off topic. Alternatively, you can just leave a comment mentioning that such a thing is not possible, and often the asker deletes the question. \$\endgroup\$
    – House
    Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


We don't close questions just because the answer is "you can't do that" or "no" or otherwise negative.

If a user, for example, wants to ask "how I can I implement real-time ray-tracing on a NES using home-brew development kits?", then "you can't do that" is a perfectly acceptable, correct answer.

If the question is close-worthy, however, we have custom off-topic close reasons for users with sufficient reputation. Users without sufficient reputation can still flag the question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So an answer that explains why it can't be done is the correct treatment? \$\endgroup\$
    – AturSams
    Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 16:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ And possibly a downvote for lack of research? \$\endgroup\$
    – AturSams
    Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 16:51
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ I'd say no. Perhaps they came here because their research didn't find anything. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 18:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is exactly how Stackoverflow gained it's reputation. If the question is pertinent, shows evidence of research, and is finite in it's scope, then surely it's valid. Funnily enough, Josh, I once read about a dev who attempted ray-tracing on a C64. Low and behold - beta.slashdot.org/story/186141 - Not every question has an answer on Google though. Ergo Stackexchange. \$\endgroup\$
    – Charlie
    Commented Apr 9, 2014 at 19:19
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed, there is no need to down vote. Ignorance does not mean you did not research. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 12, 2014 at 23:19

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