So many questions on Stack Overflow are followed by the response "Why would you want to do this?". Often this spouted by an ideologue, and such a response is typically unhelpful, condescending and indicative of ignorance.
If it's an honest "why"... that's cool. But it is invariably followed by a series of reasons why someone shouldn't, and why their package/method/thing is way better and an assumption that the question asker doesn't actually know what they are doing. In-depth critiques of the asker.... aren't answers.
The question remains... Why would you want to do this?
- You are too busy to answer but not too busy to troll?
- You don't know the answer but you think if they were using your (Python/Boost/InsertCoolPackageHere), the problem wouldn't be there in the first place?
Perhaps there's something structural about stackoverflow.com itself that encourages this kind of response and needs fixing?
Some examples (as requested):
std::string formatting like sprintf (Accepted answer... not an answer. Better answer... answers the question.)
Is there a GZIP merger that merges two GZIP files without decompressing them? (Comment: "why would you want to do this" is clearly condescending)
What’s the best way to discover all variables a Perl application has currently defined? (Comment: The best answer is "don't" followed by "why did you want to do that...)
... etc. etc.
Mostly I posted this question to get people to think twice before commenting in a way that seems to say the person asking the question is "wrong for wanting to do something".
These kinds of comments are increasingly distracting. So often the case now that it's starting to make stack overflow less useful - and I really value it!
It really is better to answer the question if you know the answer, ask for clarification if you need it ... but not to tell the person to "change the problem", with succinct sarcastic remarks.