In my recent question on spaceships & space-colonization it seems there are two camps of people in the answers/comments. There's currently an equal amount of answers (resp answerers) that seem to have no issue understanding and answering the posed problem/question, and of answers that seem to have a hard time at it.

I have tried accommodating the latter group and pointing out missing bits in answers, etc. Adding lots of details to the question that I originally thought unnecessary for the core problem posed - yet I added it because I was asked to.

Now I am still getting comments telling me, paraphrased, that I am doing a bad job, and what not - yet I am positive that I've been doing all I can possible for the stage this problem is posed at.


Out of a fit of still being tired, and being moderately annoyed, I have added a build your own question kit (TM) at the end of the question, in the hope of people actually using it and thus being forced to take the time to read things properly...

Did I overreact / overdo it? What other ways to explain that I cannot provide the details requested in any more concise form as I do not have these details?

  • While I understand you can aim at getting as much good answers as possible, what does is bother you of getting also some answers missing the point of your question? – L.Dutch Aug 20 at 7:08
  • @L.Dutch it's not the answers that bother me; it's the answerers and their insistence of claiming that there is stuff I withhold... – dot_Sp0T Aug 20 at 7:11
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    Is this your first question? Because that is a very common behavior on this site IMHO. – Vincent Aug 20 at 15:07
  • @Vincent luckily not, but it's the first (or maybe second time) this hits me and really gets me I guess – dot_Sp0T Aug 20 at 15:44
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    I'm almost certainly a bad person for suggesting this but if you've gotten good, usable, information, ignore the nitpickers and moving on to something you don't have that information for; life is too short to expend excessive energy on people who are demonstrably wrong. – Ash Aug 22 at 12:24
  • What's the pre-bounty/post-bounty split on useful material? I'm getting the feeling that "not enough attention" bounties don't quite get results, attention yes, good material not so much. – Ash Aug 22 at 12:42
  • It could help to respond to the people who answer the question the right way to tell them that their answer is along the lines of what you are looking for. You could also link this meta question to your question. – John Locke Aug 26 at 15:23
  • @JohnLocke to my understanding I am doing both these things – dot_Sp0T Aug 26 at 17:01
  • @dot_Sp0T OK, I answered and asked if my answer was along the lines of what you wanted and you haven't replied. Just wandering which group I am in. My other suggestion was you put a link to this question from the original question that you put the bounty on. – John Locke Aug 26 at 18:45

You are not alone, it feels like every question I ask I get this effect in miniature, there are a good number of people who simply answer the question as written, and give good information in the process, and then there's one person who, in the face of clear evidence to the contrary, says "we can't possibly answer this unless you tell us about X". When it's one or two people who are tied up in some minutiae it's usually not a major issue to point out, as gently as I can manage, that I think they're wrong. It's only when either a number of people are asking for similar information, either by posting multiple comments or upvoting an existing one or when someone posts a comment or answer and I read it and go "oh wait I'm not asking what I thought I was asking" as a result (that can be because I've missed something or because the question just doesn't read to others the way it does to me) that I really have to dig into the question and make major edits.

It has always been my opinion that the one asking the question sets the benchmarks around which we should work to when we attempt to answer the question. We can ask for clarification or information but if the asker says "this is a thing" we need to listen to that but not everyone works that way.

In the case of the particular question you have asked and your responses, your frustration is clear in certain areas but generally you seem to have handled things gently and calmly by asking for what you need and pointing out where people are falling short of your expectations.

You do seem to have people who are trying to answer but haven't got from the question you have asked to a clear understanding of the situation you are actually proposing (or in a couple of cases the question you're actually asking in terms of the core issue you wish to address). This is a problem, but in this case I don't feel it's your problem, you've given clear benchmarks that a lot of people clearly aren't struggling with.

Contrarian-ness is a part of human nature

I wouldn't get to spun up about people who think they have a legitimate gripe. The nature of internet communications encourages people to be stubborn to prove their point; the powerful non-verbal forces that evolution built into our face-to-face communications would probably resolve this argument in a few minutes if you all got together to talk about it.

I can see the point of the people that say there is not enough information. If you think you have provided enough information, then that is up to you, and your detractors are just wasting their time. It is your question, and I don't see any close votes. I would consider this though, if you put up a bounty looking for a better answer, there may be something about your question that is preventing it from getting a good answer. Having looked at it myself, I don't think I have a good and useful answer to provide, for example.

I would, though, recommend you roll-back the mostly-snarky build your own question part at the end.

  • Well, it's a 'This question has not received enough attention.' bounty. So it's basically to get the view-count up. I've decided to try doing that on most new questions I write from now on that have under 500 views.;; Also doing the rollback, it was a good feeling to write it; and anyone checking the edit-history will find it and snark I hope – dot_Sp0T Aug 20 at 15:34
  • @dot_Sp0T I will say, it takes a certain personality to ask questions, a certain patience and open-mindedness. Some people can ask lots of real great questions and enjoy the answers, but I often feel offended if someone doesn't interpret my question correctly, or leaves a sarcastic or 'wrong' answer. I'm an answer-er by nature, I guess. – kingledion Aug 20 at 15:39
  • I know the part about feeling offended, I got that with a bunch of questions, but luckily few (e.g. the one about dragons) – dot_Sp0T Aug 20 at 15:43

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