I've noticed a sizable number of questions here where the petitioner asks something like
- "I'm trying to flange my dichromatic howitzer, but I can't defibrillate the metacarpus. Any suggestions?"
... and the first answer (and the one that attracts a lot of upvotes) is one that says
- "That's a really bad idea. It's not designed for that. Buy a new one."
Sometimes this is sensible advice, and I've read a number of great answers that went on to explain why it was such a bad idea and offering alternatives. But at least as frequently, the person posting the answer will decide the petitioner doesn't know what they're asking, and that there's no possible use case that justifies the original question, so they say it's a terrible idea. Often this will kill an otherwise reasonable question, because it's the first answer in and attracts a number of drive-by voters.
It bothers me when the people posting the answers assume those who ask the question haven't considered the alternatives; if there's a better alternative that answers the question, that would be one thing, but that's different than just saying "Don't do that."
How can you keep discussion focused on the question, rather than the assumptions behind it?