Seriously, WHY do people do this? And only with "WHY" questions — when asking other kinds of questions you hardly ever see anyone doing it.

What is with this angry, demanding tone that seems to be so prevalent in "why" questions but not others? I've been observing this pattern for way too long and I'm sure there has to be a reason for it.


3 Answers 3


It's because of answers like this, answers that completely ignore the "why" aspect of the question and instead suggest a solution to an imagined or presumed problem that may or may not be relevant to the question at hand. For some reason, many users interpret any question as a "how" or "what" or "plz send teh codez" question, and answer accordingly.

Even worse is when the question asker has already stated that they have a solution to their problem, even going so far as to include the solution directly in their question, and that they are simply looking to understand the problematic behavior, yet these answers just parrot the same solution anyway. You really can't blame askers for over-emphasizing the word "why" in situations like these.

While it's nice to offer a solution to a presumed problem in case the asker is indeed looking for one, if they are not, then at worst the answer is not useful in the context of the question. Even if the problem described in the question turns out to be an XY problem, explaining why exactly it is such will make your answer immensely more useful (look at me, emphasizing the word). While a good answer is far-reaching, an even better answer is one that is also tailored to the specific question at hand, if applicable.

That being said, as the other answer mentions (because otherwise someone will downvote this answer for not offering a solution to the presumed problem), if the formatting bothers you, you're free to edit it out. Just make sure not to change the meaning of the question. Remember that "why" questions are usually on-topic provided they are clear, specific, and show adequate research and understanding of the subject matter.

  • 1
    When I've seen it, it's been to make a new question more distinct from a proposed duplicate. E.g. "I know how, I want to know why, and they didn't really go into it on that question._ Usually, the "WHY" comes in the form of an edit. Though, it has been a while since I've seen that.
    – user50049
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 14:56

This is anecdotal, and comes from looking at a lot of questions while working on the quality project that we've been pushing out incrementally. There will be a blog post expanding on this more, but an interesting number of people have problems doing the following when asking a question:

  • Writing a descriptive title that explains what the question is about
  • Applying tags that actually get the question seen by folks that could answer it
  • Actually asking a question - that is, ending a bunch of paragraphs, code and debugging information with a sentence that ends with a ?

It's the third that gets interesting, because some might turn to placing emphasis in a title or the start of a sentence rather than actually ending the post (succinctly) with:

I know how this happens, but why does it happen? Why does Bob The Builder constantly hold back his feelings for the bunnies?

... or basically, forgetting to reiterate the premise of the question in the form of a question, and then making edits out of frustration when folks answering miss the clue.

Sure, a lot of folks do jump to answering way too fast, before reading sufficiently. However, I can see many instances where folks just got overwhelmed with the process and didn't make it particularly clear to begin with, then edit hastily, while frustrated.

Sometimes comes when folks start tossing out possible duplicates, where 'why' isn't even touched upon.

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    As someone who doesn't watch Bob the Builder, I'm now stuck wondering if Bob holds back feelings for the bunnies, as well as why... Commented Sep 18, 2015 at 18:17

You can always edit the question to take out the formatting and reduce the caps if it bothers you so much. Even if you don't have full editing privileges, remember that you can still suggest edits. As long as you take care to edit to the best of your ability, it's likely your edit will be accepted.

No one likes formatting cruft in a question, and unlike certain people who feel a need to add unnecessary formatting to posts for some reason, by editing to remove said cruft you'll be doing the community a huge favor.

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    -1 I asked "why". Learn to read. Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 14:49
  • 7
    @BoltClоck yep, seems like BoltClock completely missed the point of your question.
    – nicael
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 16:17
  • 10
    But normally BoltClock is always right and so I am going to add my customary pass-by upvote without even bothering to read either the question or the answer fully.
    – Harry
    Commented Sep 19, 2015 at 14:12

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