I ask a question such as "how can I do A"

I receive answer "A sucks use B" or "what's wrong with using B"

Now I accept that B is a possible solution but it is not what I asked for, in fact in my last question I said "I have implemented B but have heard about A, how can do it using A" and the answer was "just keep using B".

These are not helpful in any way and annoy me more than anything else.

Is there a way of phrasing my questions or something I can add so I get an answer to the question I asked.

EDIT: Here are links to the questions mentioned above:


slightly different but this question has the same problem

How to implement transition between screens

  • can you post a link to the question? Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 14:24
  • Care to explain the down vote ?
    – Skeith
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 14:34
  • 3
    downvotes on meta mean "I disagree" not "your question/answer sucks"
    – user1228
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 14:40
  • @Won't that is both interesting and informative, thanks
    – Skeith
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 14:41

4 Answers 4


As well as saying you have implemented B, also explain that you understand how / why B is better than A but you are still interested in knowing how to do A. Learning is one of the key takeaways from the sites so if you show the community that you understand why something is a best practice but are still interested in other techniques the community is generally more responsive.

  • if you look at the questions I linked I tried to do that yet it did not help.
    – Skeith
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 14:43
  • 1
    @Skeith Well, there are answers on those questions. I'm not a game developer so I can't speak to how good any of them are. "Generally more responsive" doesn't mean you'll always get the answers your're looking for. I've seen quite a few questions go with unaccepted answers because, well, people don't like to promote non-best practices.
    – squillman
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 14:56

I actually got heavily downvoted on SO for answering "A", so now, if someone asks a bad question, I don't answer it like that. Think of it like this:

How to bypass front brakes?

My car has a leaking front caliper, how can I bypass it so I still get brake pressure?

You could tell them to clamp the hose, but this isn't safe at all (unbalanced braking, reduced braking, clamp may fall off etc. etc).

The correct answer would be to tell them how to fix the leaking caliper and / or just take it to a professional for safety's sake.

Often, if the asker doesn't like or understand the "B" answer, it's still the correct answer.

  • 1
    while I do not disagree, it as much about learning why I should not clamp the hose. how am i to become a better programmer if I just follow instruction without ever knowing there are alternatives and why they are not used?
    – Skeith
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 14:46
  • 5
    A "good" answer should also explain why you shouldn't do "A", but sometimes that makes the answer much bigger (and many will think not worth the effort). It's up to you to do a little research into the second "B" approach.
    – Michael
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 14:48

Two points spring to mind:

Firstly: "How do I get answers to the question I asked?" - simple answer, you might not if what you're asking to do appears to be fundamentally wrong. You can't force someone to give you advice that they believe to be dangerous or otherwise unwise, and in fact it would be unprofessional of them to do so.

As for asking "how can I do A" and getting "what's wrong with using B" replies, even if I have every intention of giving you a method for A, appreciating why you can't use B might be an important part of formulating a really good answer to your question.


Becoming a better programmer, as you say in your comments, doens't necessarily mean to choose the harder and not optimal way and struggle to make it through.

Although the intention is noble and honours you, if your peers (or people with more experience than you) tells you that there's another solution to your problem involving product B, and that would be a better solution, you should give them the credit they deserve and maybe rethink about your convinctions.

An important skill (not only in programming or the like) is being able to put aside the ego and be open to suggestions from other (expecially if respectable, in the relative field). You can always revert to your ideas after all, but if you do when you'll have the "big plan" in front of you, it would be a wiser step to do.

I know it can be annoying because of all the time and energy you spent in your efforts, but you might be thabkful to them in the future for not having let you spend too much time on something that, even when entirely cleared out, would not be the best choice.

  • 1
    i agree and you are right but I would like to be told why B is better not just told it is better. I am willing to use B if it is indeed the better choice after consideration.
    – Skeith
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 15:17
  • Of course that would be ideal, but ideally you would get answers on A, so...take the less idilistic option (better than nothing) and use what you are given to research into the nature of that answer Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 15:19
  • @skeith - on being told why B is better - that's just down to whether or not the answer is a great one and not something unique to your question scenario here. It's always better to explain the why as well as the how of something, imho its the difference between a decent answer and a great one..
    – Rob Moir
    Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 8:55

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