I have recently noticed that very often answers to not actually answer the question but try to explain that the question is wrong somehow.
Here are some examples:
- BillThor's answer on How to apply daily stand-up meetings with a large team on multiple projects
- CodeGnome's answer on Managing a Product Owner in a not-yet-agile organization
- My answer on Managing a Product Owner in a not-yet-agile organization
- David Espina's answer on What are the metrics for software documentation?
- CodeGnome's answer on How to improve and facilitate prioritization of bug fixes?
If we have a look at the first example of the list, the question is basically "how can we introduce a stand-up meeting in my 20-people/11-simultaneous-project team?". Of course we are tempted to answer that 11 projects for a unique big team might be the underlying problem, but should we? I mean, I'm sure that SFreebairn is aware of that.
In the third example the question was "Am I wrong when I think that my product owner should not deal with task assignments?" But I could not help trying to figure out why the product owner behaved this way.
When you ask a question here, you surely are not searching for a definition list or a lecture on how you don't understand what you are talking about. On the other hand those answers often bring up some useful and interesting points. I personally upvoted the second example of the list.
How should we handle this kind of answers? Should we keep on answering this way?
Answer the question
Read the question carefully. What, specifically, is the question asking for? Make sure your answer provides that – or a viable alternative. The answer can be “don’t do that”, but it should also include “try this instead”. Any answer that gets the asker going in the right direction is helpful, but do try to mention any limitations, assumptions or simplifications in your answer. Brevity is acceptable, but fuller explanations are better.
Reading this I think I might have been a bit hard, since the answers I'm talking about match this paragraph somehow. So the discussion should be different : Should we keep allowing this kind of answers? Do they really help the one who asked it? Aren't those answers a bit too condescending by nature?