I'm noticing that I'm getting a lot of new answers to very old questions. An example from today: Way back in 2013 I was troubleshooting what turned out to be a dodgy cable that was preventing my phone from mounting as a drive. How do I mount my Android phone? -- someone got me sorted within two hours.

And then today I see two new answers to the same question. One answer clearly didn't read the question through: https://askubuntu.com/a/1088731/13049 -- they suggest that I need to adjust my settings to allow file transfer over USB even though I clearly stated in the question that I had done that.

The other answer similarly suggests that mass storage may not be supported, even though the question definitely states that my USB settings indicate that it is supported: https://askubuntu.com/a/1088740/13049

I could just ignore them, but there is something bizarre about this phenomenon that makes me suspicious. Should I just ignore these new answers?

1 Answer 1


Part 0: "New Contributors"

Not sure if anyone has noticed, but new users tend to 'add' to questions when they think they have things to add to it. In many cases, they don't really add much to the question or restate things. This is unfortunately a side effect of "new contributors" and we should keep this in mind. Not everyone really reads the age of the question or through other answers to determine if this is answered, and sometimes people miss things in the original question. So let's not be too too harsh on them.

This said...

Part 1: Question 1 - "Answerer didn't really read the question"

You're right, the answerer didn't really read. However, it's not 100% clear which settings were actually set - each version of Android tweaks the wording of settings, so sometimes this is more miscommunication than actively "not reading", which I think is the case here.

Just indicate to the poster in a calm comment that you have already set the settings as such.

Part 2: Question 2 - "Answerer suggests mass storage may not be supported"

Actually, this should just be rephrased to be "Answerer basically states 'As other answers said...' as their answer".

Whether they're right or wrong or not, they're really not giving you a unique answer. That answer has a comment from me that they're basically reiterating other answers, and has since been deleted. (10k+ can see the deleted post still).

Part 3: What should you do?

For the first case, a simple comment indicating that you already have done those settings is usually sufficient. Then let reviewers go through and deletion-vote "not an answer" posts like this.

For the second case, a comment similar to that and deletion votes are a good idea, especially given that the second case didn't really "add anything" compared to other answers.

Overall, when you get a number of 'new contributors' contributing poor answers, you can ask the moderator team to determine whether we should protect questions to limit access to new contributions/answers to people who have been on the site for a while and are no longer considered 'new users' to an extent (the 10 rep beyond the association bonus - https://askubuntu.com/help/privileges/new-user). If necessary, we can "protect" questions. (I've gone ahead and done this, by the way)

  • 1
    On protecting questions: Also note that the system does this automatically where appropriate.
    – RolandiXor
    Nov 2, 2018 at 23:17

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