I am often annoyed that instead of getting answers, people give me answers like "don't do this/that" or "don't try it, it is not worse it" or "it has drawbacks, so you probably don't want it".

Often, to avoid that, I extend my question by telling that I don't want to hear about that because I know about that. I just want to see options. I.e. I know already one solution for some problem and I am asking for different ones (so that I can see if my current solution is the best one). I don't want to hear that some people think that any probably solution will not be worse it. Or that my current solution sucks. I want to hear if there are better/other solutions. If there is no better solution than my current one, I want to get an answer like "there is no better solution because ...".

By putting such a text, the answers become a bit better but still many people just tell me how they don't like it etc.

Sometimes, it can even become a flamewar if it makes sense to use something like it or not. And I really don't want to get that; I just want to have my question answered.

To give some examples where I had exactly those problems:

How can avoid that in the future?

  • Related: Is “Don't do it” a valid answer? – Arjan Sep 26 '10 at 10:46
  • "What's the best drink to get pass out drunk on?" will often be answered with, "Don't get pass out drunk." ---- If people are constantly telling you not to do something, there may be a valid reason for it. – Peter Ajtai Sep 27 '10 at 3:18
  • There may be also a valid reason why I am asking. I hate it that people constantly put that into question. – Albert Sep 27 '10 at 13:04
  • @Albert - I FEEL your pain. It's because of that arrogant type of answer that I frequently avoid asking questions because most people can't appreciate that there may be more than just the common use-case. It's also ironic how @Peter Ajtai is essentially answering in the same way your question is asking how to avoid... – MikeSchinkel Oct 23 '10 at 0:15

You can't really avoid it; people have free will. By asking a question about what others in the community consider a "fringe" technique, you do run the risk of this happening. As you pointed out, you can always defend your technique.

Actually, I find those kinds of comments instructive, even if I don't always follow them. Generally there's enough diversity in the community where someone will tell you how it can be done your way.

  • Yes, I can defend the presented technique but it feels terribly annoying that I need to do that first to get an answer. Also, it has never been instructive for me because I always have known about all the drawbacks. But yes, I guess you are right that I cannot avoid that. Maybe I should just avoid SO for such questions. – Albert Sep 26 '10 at 18:24
  • It depends on how much you care about what other people think. Your approach might actually be the correct one. For example, there are people who (misquoting Knuth) will tell you to always optimize for performance after everything else is done. If you really care about performance, those people can't help you very much. – Robert Harvey Sep 26 '10 at 18:44
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    In any case, all you lose by asking the question is that those people will tell you you shouldn't do it, and then you go and do it anyway, right? There's really no such thing as "the right way" in computing; there is only the way that best meets your requirements. Often, this agrees with what most developers would see as the "correct" way, but not always. – Robert Harvey Sep 26 '10 at 18:46
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    @Robert Harvey - The problem with the types of answers @Albert is looking to avoid is they generate "group think" and they often stifle the likelihood someone will actually answer the question. If three (3) people are saying "Don't do it" what do you think the likelihood is someone will actually then answer and risk having his answer down-voted by the naysayers? – MikeSchinkel Oct 23 '10 at 0:18

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