[Clayart] The "Throw it away" mentality.

Snail Scott claywork at flying-snail.com
Tue Oct 11 16:19:06 EDT 2016


> On Oct 11, 2016, at 12:20 PM, Randall Moody <randall.moody at gmail.com> wrote:
> As to the idea "It should have been "why do people
> feel the need to answer questions that aren't asked and not answer
> questions that are asked”...


And since Randall wasn’t actually asking…  ;)

This is a forum with a lot of readers, many of whom are ‘lurkers’. Some 
people may not be ready to ask questions, whether through shyness, a 
sense that they ought to look it up elsewhere first, thinking the topic is 
unworthy, or perhaps simply not having thought of the question previously. 
Further, although the pace of on-line discussion is a rapid one, the 
archives will be around long afterward, as a resource for those who’ve 
forgotten the details or who weren’t around for the original discussion in 
the first place.

When I answer a question, I do usually go beyond the scope of the 
stated request. I’m appallingly long-winded (long-typing?) at times, too. 
And I’m not giving it up here. (Hah.) Not even apologizing on Yom Kippur...

I do it for a number of reasons. I do it partly because the answer will remain 
in the archives for others, and it might as well address related issues that 
a hypothetical future searcher might have, and not just the laser-focused 
initial query. Other readers of Clayart may find that they have similar (but
not identical) issues that they haven’t asked about personally, so why not 
expand a bit on the topic, into that peripheral, related (but unasked) zone?
Nobody’s gotta read it all, anyway.  Also, the person who asked the initial 
question may not have been entirely certain of what they wanted. 
(Paraphrasing the ‘Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy': ‘Did you really know 
what the question was?’)  When a topic is new or unfamiliar, it’s easy 
for the wording of a question to seem definite, when the intent was actually 
more general or vague, or even worded in an accidentally misleading way. 
Putting more information into the response than was actually requested 
increases the chance that the real question will be better addressed, and 
maybe even some questions that would stem from the response. And let’s 
add to thislist the fact that sometimes the question is simply misunderstood.

This is a discussion list, not a digital answer ‘bot, and surely no info is truly 
wasted.

          -Snail


More information about the Clayart mailing list