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Should one answer the questionable questions literally or try to look at the big pictures?

In response to the discussion on this question.

The OP asked a question to which there is a direct answer, but it prompted a lot of "why are you doing that?" comments because it seems like it might provide a bad user experience and that the problem maybe actually be a symptom of another, deeper, issue.

Two camps have sprung up, one advocating getting information about the underlying design to attempt to solve what they view as the real issue, the other just wants to answer the original question.

Which would be the better course of action? Presumably the OP just wants an answer to their question so they can get on with their day, but should the community be trying to perhaps provide more help than the OP requires?

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marked as duplicate by gnostradamus, ChrisF, Michael Mrozek, Andreas Bonini, Bill the Lizard Dec 17 '10 at 21:35

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

This has been asked in one form or another before, such as here. – gnostradamus Dec 17 '10 at 15:51
So when are the answers going to be merged with the other question ? – PerformanceDBA Dec 21 '10 at 13:13

I say do both. Suggest alternative approaches, but do not ignore the stated question. If you feel addressing the stated question is a waste of time, do not post a response.

When I ask a question, I try to state my specific code-related question. But I will preface it with a "big picture" explanation. Context always helps. Usually towards the end of the post, I will state that I am open to alternative implementations.

I ran across a user who posted several questions, each being small pieces of a larger project. He was not an experienced programmer. I answered the questions at hand, but tried to expand it into a discussion on better object-oriented design.

Both posters and answerers should be open to suggestions, always.

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