2

Disclaimer: I do have an answer in the example question and I am not looking for up votes. I am genuinely concerned as to whether this kind of answer is poor form.

Occasionally I will run across a question on this site where I feel that the best answer to the question is to change the reasons it is being asked. An example of a question like this is here. My opinion of the correct answer to the question is to modify the design that caused the question in the first place. The FAQ clearly states that a provided answer should actually answer the question being asked; I am not sure if slightly modifying the question to fits this criteria. Can anyone provide me with some guidance on this? Should I keep my opinions to myself?

  • 1
    you might be interested in MSO faq post What is the XY problem? "...asking about your attempted solution rather than your actual problem" (by the way there's also quite an interesting list of linked questions there). As long as your answer explains why there is an underlying problem implicitly present in question asked and provides a solution to it, it should be OK – gnat Jan 26 '13 at 20:53
  • 1
    That was an excellent read and the links on the side + your comment helped me formulate my own answer to this question. If you will make your comment into an answer I will mark it as the correct one. – mortalapeman Jan 27 '13 at 1:55
  • gnat's answer captured my thoughts really well. I have a number of answers where I simply state "you're asking the wrong question", explain why, and then point out the question they should be asking. It's not a frequent thing by any means, but it certainly happens. – user53019 Jan 28 '13 at 16:04
5

Issues like this are addressed in MSO faq post What is the XY problem? (by the way there's also quite an interesting list of linked questions there).

...asking about your attempted solution rather than your actual problem

As long as your answer explains why there is an underlying problem implicitly present in question asked and provides a solution to it, it should be OK.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .