I found an answer that not only didn't work for me, but it also removed a whole bunch of unrelated stuff that now I now need to find a way to reinstall.

I just want to add a comment under the original answer to prevent others from having the same problem. However, I don't have the reputation to do so. Admittedly, I'm a novice in terms of contributing and a power-user in terms of reading questions.

I'm a novice Ubuntu user and I typically don't have answers. But I find all the answers to my questions by just searching, so I don't really have any question to ask either. By reading around, it seems to me that I am left with no other way to improve my reputation, which is required for pretty much anything else.

Given this situation, how do I make the only contribution I can at the moment (i.e. warning other novice user like myself of the risks of following the answer I refer to above)?

  • Thanks @NonnyMoose, but I have to have a reputation of 5 to post there.
    – Paparazio
    May 23, 2017 at 22:21
  • Try again now. ;) May 23, 2017 at 22:22
  • Yup, thanks!!! :)
    – Paparazio
    May 23, 2017 at 22:24
  • 7
    Can you give a link to the bad answer so we can fix it?
    – cat
    May 27, 2017 at 14:26
  • Hi @cat, sorry for the late reply. Technically that wasn't a bad answer, just an answer that had many more consequences than expected. Following the suggestion below, I created another question that explains my situation here: askubuntu.com/q/918881/692495. Let me know if I can add any more info there.
    – Paparazio
    Jun 2, 2017 at 16:55

3 Answers 3


In this case, I would recommend asking a new question about the troubles you've had with that answer, and include a link. This has three purposes:

  1. It will draw the attention of more senior Ask Ubuntu users, who may comment on the "bad" answer, and possibly edit it to correct mistakes or make the procedure clearer -- that is, things that might have led to your data loss.
  2. Asking a good question will earn you upvotes, and thus reputation.
  3. And of course, you will hopefully find a solution to the problem.
  • 2
    If more senior users would edit the answer, then the OP should just suggest the edit directly. Simple.
    – Wildcard
    Jun 6, 2017 at 1:42
  • 1
    @Wildcard I was thinking senior users could fix issues that might not be apparent to a newcomer, but that's a good point too.
    – wjandrea
    Jun 6, 2017 at 1:46

Answers that are harmful should be downvoted, and commented on to mention what's wrong. If the original author of the answer is still around, it should draw their attention and they should fix the post.

Flagging for moderator can be done, although I'd recommend using moderator flags for serious cases. A case where an answer can be salvaged if author edits it, should be handled by community.

wjandrea's suggestion is good as well - asking new question may draw attention of senior users and help you fix the problem, but that's mostly a workaround. If you didn't try what is suggested in the answer, but know it's harmful, asking question on the main site might not be welcome (and makes no sense ) - it's not an issue related to Ubuntu directly but more related to the Ask Ubuntu site itself, hence you could ask a question here on Meta site to draw attention.

Users with sufficient privileges to flag (15 reputation points), comment everywhere (50 reputation points) and vote down (125 reputation points) should use those ways instead.

  • That makes sense. My main problem however, was the lack of reputation to do anything at all. All of this should not be as big of an issue as soon as I hit the 50-point reputation mark.To be honest, for my situation the reputation system seemed to be a bit counter-intuitive, but I'm sure there are very good reasons for it to have the structure it does.
    – Paparazio
    Jun 2, 2017 at 17:00
  • 2
    @Paparazio yeah, the whole point I'm making here is that the proper way to do things is via using the privileges that you acquire with the reputation. The answers are really should be made applicable to wide variety of users, and while wjandrea's answer works for a new user, for established member it just makes no sense. As for lack of reputation, the simple point is that we don't want to give every body powers right away, otherwise the site will be overrun with spammers, trolls, and bots. Also, see this: meta.askubuntu.com/q/1209/295286 Jun 2, 2017 at 17:28
  • Thanks for the clarification, @Sergiy, that makes sense!
    – Paparazio
    Jun 2, 2017 at 17:34
  • 1
    Neither comments nor downvoting are accessible to people just starting out. I would downvote this answer as it is totally irrelevant to the situation described. I get the point of earning a reputation to preserve site quality, but blaming new people for being forced into tortured workarounds is just rude. Jun 13, 2017 at 18:58
  • @GeorgeM Nobody blames new people. Asking to commit a little bit of effort towards the site before they get better tools is fairly reasonable. What new people mistakingly think is that this site is just a forum where you can come and do whatever. It is not a forum. Jun 13, 2017 at 19:25
  • 1
    But many people use the site for answers without "putting in a little bit of effort" (which is no longer anywhere near a little bit, btw) because they generally find what they need, as @Paparazio explains. And if you get messed up from one of those answers, you have no way to address it. Which cannot possibly be the intention for the good of the site, forum or not. Jun 13, 2017 at 19:35
  • @GeorgeM If you want to address anything on the site, you have to commit to the site itself. Basically that. And again, new users can do what wjandrea said or what I suggested: bring that question to light on Meta, but again - this is merely a workaround. Proper way is via proper tools. Jun 13, 2017 at 19:46
  • Yes, again blithely ignoring the legitimate concerns of new users... Don't wonder why the vast majority don't really want to "commit to the site itself". Jun 13, 2017 at 21:10
  • @GeorgeM Concerns may be legitimate, and you can post a question about it here or on meta. But there's no reason to give new, untrusted users ability to downvote or comment - malicious downvoting,bot accounts, and spam are legitimate concern,too. If your main point is that new users should be given higher privileges, feel free to post it as feature request here or on the SE Meta site. Jun 13, 2017 at 21:23

As you mentioned in the comments that this wasn't in fact a bad answer, just one that had unintended consequences, the correct thing to do would be to kill two birds with one stone:

Suggest an edit.

Just modify the original to add a warning.

When the edit is approved (as it almost certainly will be), you also get a couple of reputation points for your trouble.

(This assumes of course that you can write intelligibly and with good grammar and spelling. But the way your question is written already demonstrates that.)

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