Just answer the question

It really bugs me when someone asks for help with something on the internet and, instead of answering the question that’s been asked, people suggest alternatives or question why the OP is doing something a certain way.

For example, someone posts online: “I want to go for a walk, but my shoes’ laces are already tied and I can’t get my feet in them. Any tips for how to put on already-tied shoes?”

You can imagine people posting in reply: “Why are you trying to put shoes on without untying the laces first?”, “Just untie them!”, etc.

Maybe the OP already considered doing that, but can’t for reasons they haven’t disclosed. Or maybe they’re not interested in untying the laces first. Or perhaps they just want to know if it’s possible to put shoes on with already-tied laces… The point is that we don’t know the full story, so why don’t we just answer the question that’s being asked?

Now I get that there’s a fine line between answering a question directly, and providing alternative, possibly better solutions. “Give a man a fish…” and all that. But I’d rather see people answer the question, then finish with “BTW, have you also considered…”, than to simply ignore the question altogether.

Hopefully food for thought.

1 Like
  • If someone asks a question as silly as that (putting on tied shoes), he should explain why he asks such a silly question, why the obvious solution to his issue (untying the shoes) is not a good fit, a.k.a. the full story, because if you don’t know why the obvious solution isn’t applicable, you’re going to offer other solutions which may not be applicable either.
    If the person cannot untie the shoes because he has no hands, don’t suggest to use a shoehorn because he won’t be able to use that.
    So when someone asks a silly question without giving the full story, helpers must assume that he doesn’t know that his question is silly.

  • As a general rule, when you try to solve a problem, you always start from the simplest solution. If an electric device doesn’t turn on, before disassembling it and re-soldering everything and looking for dead capacitors and whatnot, check the fuse, and try another wall plug.

  • Many people simply don’t ask the right questions, because they made wrong assumptions on how the world (or GDevelop) works and those flawed assumptions lead to silly questions, and helpers try to fix their flawed vision instead of simply giving a stupid answer to a silly question, as the French saying goes.


Hey BWPanda,

Great article, I read easily 18% of it. I think the best solution would be to use slippers instead. This way you wouldn’t even need to worry about laces at all!
If that doesn’t work I’d suggest just bottling up your feelings for 10+ years letting them slowly eat away at you until one day in a moment of weakness you lash out at someone you care about over something a stupid as a pair of tied shoes causing irreparable damage to your relationship and leading you down a dark path of never ending frozen dinners from your local IGA.


I really think it helps when posting to add as much details as possible.

I mean I was on a website when somebody asked a question like why does a certain drink make me feel ill ?

But they never mentioned was it milk, alcoholic or anything that would actually make answering the question easier.

It’s like on the Gdevelop forums people often ask a question but fail to give any details.

They might ask why does my platform character not work properly ? Then not actually say what the error is or post the events or variables to make helping easier.

I mean you wouldn’t go to the Doctors with a bad back and not tell them any details like I was lifting a box.

People generally are not mind readers and need as much information as possible.