Exit strategies for “chameleon questions”
This had been troubling me for quite some time.
I use StackOverflow mainly fro answering questions and learning through them, rather than asking my own. I try hard to help the question askers until they get their problem solved. However, this sometimes get us quite far from where we started.
Such situation happened once more yesterday and I decided it is high time to ask and get better understanding how far should I go when answering. See this thread. How it went:
- After about a dozen comments we managed to format the question in understandable enough form. So far so good, this should be done for every question
- The question was why my images do not show. I answered this.
- Then the question became: how do I show my images then? I answered this with a bunch of code.
- Then the question became: how do I show my images vertically. I answered this too, but without giving explicit code.
- Then the question became: I get the following error, please help. At this point I decided not to take it any further and not make several more comments just to get what actually is the problem in the code now.
I have also couple of such cases with my friend @Sabre. This one and this one. The two include more than 50 comments and we have passed through more than 6-7 different errors. And the reason here was that the OP lacked some very basic understanding of the language at hand (java).
After all this examples you should be able to understand my situation.
Finally the question once more:
How persistent should I be when answering questions? How do I handle situations with new questions coming in the old thread?