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merlyn (47)

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Journal of merlyn (47)

Friday February 07, 2003
02:37 PM

On answering questions

[ #10468 ]
From a recent email exchange in one of the many mailing lists I follow:

One of the answerers: You asked one question when most people who use {product} know that's not the right question to answer.

Original questioner: Please don't second-guess my questions. If I wanted a different question answered, I would have asked a different question.

Yours truly: Uh, no. As a frequent question answerer, I tend to think as much about the context of the question I'm answering, as the answer I'm writing, just in case there's something missing. And I'm free to question the context as much as I am free to answer the original question.

If you had not wanted to be second-guessed, you would have stated more about the context of your question, so that we wouldn't have to wonder if you're doing something the hard way.

Every question is a piece of an answer to a larger question. Sometimes, it's worth backing up a step to ensure you haven't painted yourself into the corner.

To presume you've already solved the issue that led to your question in the best possible manner is to have an arrogance that will only irritate the people from whom you seek guidance. :) Remember, you've only solved that level to the best of your ability.

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