Not sure how this question went through multiple reviews:


But we should be more careful when people recommend reinstalling with no information on to whether or not that would fix the person's problem. Voting to close due to lack of information is fine, but no one left a comment or anything to drive the question to completion and instead left the not-so-useful information on the question. :-/

  • "I have an itch in my shoe"
  • "Well then, let's chop the foot off."
  • 8
    To be fair to the person suggesting a reinstall, it was not posted as an answer, but as a comment.
    – don.joey
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 8:38
  • This presumes that the comment was present when the question was close voted. Was it? Is there any way to find out if the first comment was made before the question was closed?
    – don.joey
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 13:36
  • For those interested: the answer to my last question in the previous comment was given by Eliah: chat.stackexchange.com/transcript/message/17026026#17026026
    – don.joey
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 14:03
  • 2
    @don.joey That makes it even worse, we can't vote on comments. See: meta.askubuntu.com/questions/2281/… Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 6:05
  • 1
    Comments can be flagged, though, and one can easily say one disagrees. That's what you did right. I do agree that 'why don't you reinstall' or 'why don't you buy new hardware' are not valid answers.
    – don.joey
    Commented Aug 9, 2014 at 8:24
  • 1
    The comment looked more like a question paired with an observation, to me. Doesn't seem that controversial, though it should be paired with "try booting from a live whatever". Though I see your point, and if I read it as you do, I'd probably flag it as a comment to delete because it's dangerous and possibly bad advice.
    – belacqua
    Commented Aug 11, 2014 at 1:01

3 Answers 3


I agree to some point.

  • Reinstall the whole system is a bad answer. Probably one of the worst you can find, specially when it comes with no background research.

    To be fair, as don.joey said, it was posted in a comment. I told "unplug the power cord for 5 minutes" recently (and felt like working in a call center), but again it was a suggestion in a comment instead a solution in an answer.

  • Reinstall package X is a bad solution and it does not dive into the problem. When there is some research and the conclusion is just reinstall package, I got a weird feeling when it works, because it makes me feel like I didn't found the real source of the problem, and applied just a workaround.

    There can be some exceptions, like missing libraries that got accidentally uninstalled or file collision.

  • Reconfigure (reset to default conf) package X makes more sense when there is a configuration problem, things just don't work, or you want to get to a (hopefully) known state. But again, it should be only part of the answer if you need a clean environment to build the actual answer.

Nevertheless, let's suppose there is a known problem / bug in Ubuntu (and maybe in Debian too) that it is not present in other distributions (it could be related with packaging, unmet compile-flags dependencies, or with kernel module and userland package version mismatch, let your imagination decide)...

TL;DR: Should an answer like remove Ubuntu and install Slackware be flagged, downvoted and maybe censored just because the answer (not the question) looks ugly, off-topic or Ubuntu-discouraging?

In such scenario, (assuming the new system can met the old requirements and tasks) the migration would solve the problem so it would be a viable answer, and probably the poster would be really happy if it works (Slackware is an overwhelming example for newcomers, but CentOS or OpenSUSE might not be so hard).

  • It should be a last resort option when nothing else can fix an issue and when a bug isnt present.
    – Virusboy
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 17:48

I usually preface that from experience, you can save time reinstalling given the complexity of the issue. The problems that stem from a WUBI installation for example, just are not worth the time and experience needed to address stupid bugs stemming from ntfs.


Not sure how this question went through multiple reviews

I have couple theories:

1. Reviewers sucks

And we know they do. And we put in place something to improve them, but that only made good reviewers get grumpy and not review. Which leaves us with bad reviewers. A good nugget the right way dispensing manual review bans from the moderation team, and flagging those bad reviewers when you find them should help.

we should be more careful when people recommend reinstalling with no information on to whether or not that would fix the person's problem

and for that I have more theories:

2. Tagging sucks

And we know they do. And folks try to fight their way into improving this but it's difficult and filled with hurdles. Checking out the first revision of this question is more than enough to perceive this, which even after 5 people touched the question nobody fixed this in a sensible manner. Until this isn't improved in a concrete way, including changing our naive policies of old, it will continue sucking.

3. The ways to reach an expert suck

And this is extremely linked with the previous point. Experts have to swim trough all the crap that reach us. Is just impossible to find good questions, more so put them in the experts way. That leaves us with non-experts giving counsel.

4. Most users don't know how to recognize quality when they see it

And worse, give low quality content higher quality feedback than they deserve. So, the system to differentiate good quality from bad just doesn't work. I don't remember last time I saw a good researched, interesting question in the Hot List sidebar.

In summary, is a multilayer problem, which can be tackled from several angles, and I consider that every angle should be explored with pointy solutions.

  • 11
    None of this seems relevant to the problem of people suggesting reinstalls. Are you sure you've posted this in the right place?
    – Oli Mod
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 8:49
  • 1
    Also, you voted to close and edited the answer. Is this introspection?
    – don.joey
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 9:23
  • 1
    @Oli "Not sure how this question went through multiple reviews" and yet, reviewers don't do the right thing. "But we should be more careful when people recommend reinstalling with no information on to whether or not that would fix the person's problem." means that no real experts found the question, so was up to the non-experts that started to give bad counsels. Seems to me complete relevant.
    – Braiam
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 11:44
  • @don.joey I don't understand.
    – Braiam
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 11:44
  • 2
    With introspection I mean, 'thinking about oneself, looking inside of oneself'. You are an expert user that could have commented on the question, are you thus talking to yourself? If you say that 'reviewers suck' or that 'the ways to reach an expert suck' are you then not attacking yourself and contradicting yourself (you are an expert user)? You also say 'tagging sucks', but I really don't see in what way deleting the 14.04 tag as you did would help the question. Your edit was valuable, though, let that be clear, and also, the edits to your answer make it clearer to me what you mean.
    – don.joey
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 13:04
  • 1
    @don.joey I'm someone that when facing a problem find the possible causes of the problem and try to apply solution. Jorge pointed out a problem, I just pointed possible causes. That's all. If you read Jorge post and ask yourself "hey, why is this happening?" you will discover yourself with something similar to what I've done. That's what I tried to do here, identify the causes of the problem, not talk about the problem itself.
    – Braiam
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 19:08

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