I read with interest https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/108061/216381 and the comment http://weblogs.asp.net/alex_papadimoulis/archive/2005/05/25/408925.aspx. I also read Do I have to explain why I am asking a question on SO? and the infamous FAQ answer https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/66378/216381
With rare exceptions, such as https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/97172/216381, the MSO attitude seems to be that people responding to questions have a "right" to choose not to directly answer the question in favor of an answer which basically tells the OP they "shouldn't be doing it that way". The advice all focuses on the information the OP should provide to avoid this kind of response rather than suggesting that those providing answers should be respectful of questions and not make assumptions that there is some underlying problem that the OP is trying to solve that should be addressed instead.
In rationalizing the approach of not answering the question, two "carpenter" analogies were used, one involving a question about how to cut balsa wood and the other involving a question which of two non-tool household items is better to pound a nail. In both cases, they ask the rhetorical question of whether it's better to answer the question or challenge the question.
My MSO question here is: Why do so many seem to think they have to choose between these two ways of responding? Why don't folks consider answering the question and supplementing their answer as they wish with questions, challenges, additional information, editorial opinion, etc. Not only is that more respectful to the OP, it's more respectful to future readers who arrived at the answer based on the question asked. If I do a search about how to cut balsa wood, I don't want to land on an answer that just tells me what a bad idea it is to use balsa wood in house construction.
Update: While I don't want to focus on specific examples, in response to some of the answers/comments, here's a recent one where I was the one asking the question:
Although it would take me a while to uncover examples, the more common occurrences I run into are where someone shares some code and an error they are getting and ask why they are getting that error. Instead of explaining the error, the answers typically propose some other approach. Admittedly, the OP is often times satisfied with that answer and not knowing why the error occurred, but I would contend the community is the poorer for it and, as a rule, this practice unnecessarily runs the risk of offending.