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There seems to be a certain kind of question that keeps coming up over and over, that inexplicably does not get closed as duplicate. The common theme in this kind of question is that the asker is relatively new to the subject matter and/or new to this site, and has somehow grossly misunderstood something basic. For example, the themes of power supply current and the relation of USBto RS-232 spring to mind.

I know our first instinct is to help in these situations, (and I must admit guilt to a certain amount of this), but is it the right thing to do, to jump in and answer these as though they are fresh new questions, every time?

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    \$\begingroup\$ if not enough people are voting, which quite a few have not regained their previous privilege yet, then flag it for a moderator. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Aug 21 '11 at 20:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm more inclined to help someone with a honest misconception that writes a clear question than someone else with a sloppy question. There is a difference between bad questions and ignorant questions. I have no problem stomping on the former with extreme prejudice. Sloppy and lazy people don't deserve help and need to be taught a lesson. However, the honest ignorant asker is being neither sloppy nor lazy. As long as the question is well written I don't mind clearing up the misconception. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Dec 6 '11 at 14:43
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If you can solve their problem by pointing them to an existing question with a good answer, then by all means DO SO! Note that the system helps you out by adding a comment as soon as you vote to close...

As Kortuk notes, if you're having trouble gathering enough votes from others to get a question closed, feel free to flag for a moderator's assistance. If you've already voted to close, it's very easy for them to finish the job!

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If answering the question is convenient to you, then just answer it. If there's another similar question, and you happen to be aware of it, share the link. If the question gets closed, it gets closed. If it doesn't, it's hardly a big deal. In fact, it's barely a little deal, or any kind of deal at all. The good stuff getting upvoted will displace it eventually anyway.

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