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wundayatta's avatar

When people don't answer the question you thought you wrote, what do you do?

Asked by wundayatta (58349 points ) February 17th, 2010

Often times, I find that people do not answer the question I meant to write. Sometimes it’s because my question wasn’t clear enough, but other times it seems like people either didn’t read it or they didn’t understand it. This doesn’t matter, though.

What happens is that the answers start to go awry. You don’t get the answers for the problem you wanted answer for, and you do get answers for other, irrelevant problems.

For example, I often ask questions where I want personal experience, not advice. As in this title, I may italicize the ”you.” I think I always get somebody thinking I’m asking for advice instead of experience. They don’t talk about themselves. They just talk about general stuff, which is pretty unhelpful. I sometimes think of flagging it as not an answer to the question, but I never have.

Sometimes I will intervene early to try to get my question back on track. Other times I will wait to see if anyone catches on and actually answers the question I meant to ask. Sometimes I figure it’s the nature of the beast, and there’s really nothing I can do, so just sit back and enjoy it, anyway.

If the answers veer off course on one of your questions, what do you do?

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38 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

I eat the pineapple first. Sorry. I had to.

Val123's avatar

Well, in the details specify whether you want personal experience or advice….um. Does that answer your question? :)

Jude's avatar

@wundayatta this happened for you in your last question, huh?

Val123's avatar

@tinyfaery Are you crazy? Like, the pineapple comes second!

Jude's avatar

I think that I lurve the faery even more.

Cruiser's avatar

Comes with the territory. Many are here to socialize and have a crazy sense of humor. Gotta take the good with the bad. You can always restate your desire for straight forward answers if the thread gets off topic.

gemiwing's avatar

I do the same thing you seem to do. I either try to get it back on track from early on- or I just walk away and chalk it up to people not reading the details (happens often) or I didn’t word the question correctly.

If it’s a question I truly care about I’ll rewrite it and think about resubmitting my question.

Val123's avatar

Can you give us an example of one of your questions where this happened. I saw someone mention your last question, but I didn’t see how your last question was mis-answered. Except for the ass hat that said pineapples should be eaten second! But that is the Faery’s fault….

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I do what I’ve always done, until I do something different.

jonsblond's avatar

I think this has only happened to me once. I asked a light hearted question about how much the tooth fairy gives out these days because my daughter lost her first tooth. A certain someone answered by stating they believed that parents shouldn’t lie to their children. It completely derailed the thread. Luckily a few people told this person that he was off topic and to start his own question.

If it happens again I will probably make a comment that I wasn’t clear enough in my details and then tell everyone where I was hoping to go with the question.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I don’t think I have any expectations about what answers I’m going to get here on Fluther, so I’m not bothered by what comes up.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I don’t post that often but it’s happened in a few and mostly I get a new perspective based on what people gave back. In a way, even if people answered with idealisms rather than personal experience then I still got the gist of what I was asking.

Civic_Cat's avatar

I prefer too much or irrelevant info than too little or none.

On Yahoo! Answers, I once asked something like, “Can you all give me answers to a question I didn’t ask?”
It was fun before it was deleted.
:-D

wundayatta's avatar

@Val123 Take a look at @Cruiser‘s comment. He didn’t talk about his own experience. He gave me advice about what I could do, which I specifically stated I didn’t want.

@Cruiser Maybe you can help me. How could I have asked the question in a way that would have elicited a personal experience question instead of advice?

@Val123 On that other question, it seems like half the people addressed their comments to me—about what I could do. I meant to ask about what my significant other could do for her situation, but maybe I didn’t make that clear enough.

Val123's avatar

Ok, to answer your question, if it starts going in a direction I didn’t mean for it to go, I try to bring it around. Failing that, I just sit back for the ride!

marinelife's avatar

Well, I can tell you from my own experience that there is so much material associated with your questions that by the time I finish reading it, it often seems like a different question than when it started out.

Also, I might choose to answer only part of your question or one of the questions balled up in there (there are often secondary Qs in the Details section).

Sorry if it has not met your needs.

Cruiser's avatar

@wundayatta I would just be explicit in your question and state you are only interested in personal experiences. You could say you would like to hear from Jellies who experienced, or know of someone etc. Keep it simple and to the point.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@wundayatta I think that very few people (a small percentage of fluthers, and a vanishingly small percentage of the rest of the world) reads or responds to anyone’s questions with the kind of nuance that you put into them. Particularly so with your questions. (See, I’m not even answering the original Q; I’m answering the response you gave to @Cruiser. And I don’t have advice, either, just an observation.)

@Cruiser… um… he did.

wundayatta's avatar

@marinelife If I recall, you usually seem to answer my questions.

@Cruiser How could I make it more clear than this: “I often ask questions where I want personal experience, not advice. As in this title, I may italicize the ”you.”” And of course, the title, which does emphasize the “you.” Clearly people aren’t getting it. I thought I was being explicit.

@CyanoticWasp Well, once I jump in to intervene, then anything is fair game. And, as you say, it was not advice.

drClaw's avatar

Name calling is usually the best course of action.

Jeruba's avatar

I generally just abandon the question. If other people don’t read my question, or don’t read it right, I can’t do anything about that. I usually think about how I might have worded it differently to zero in on the response I wanted, but many times it could not be clearer and it’s obvious that the responder simply did not read the details. My few attempts to clarify have typically failed. It annoys me, but I usually just let it go. Someone took the trouble to answer and didn’t come here to be chastised.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I do that a lot. I see myself here. I answer questions a lot ot times by giving examples that I’ve experienced on a particular subject. It may seem that it’s turning things to ME, but I don’t mean it that way. I’m just trying to relate to the question. Hmm. Guess I won’t be posting as much.

Arp's avatar

I Google before asking my questions, which gets rid of about 90+% of my random questions, but for those that need human feedback, I make them as interesting as I possible can, and have never created an orphan in my life :)

But if I did, I assume I would just move on or… Actually ask people from real life!

wundayatta's avatar

@jbfletcherfan Examples make a comment come alive. Why would you do that less? Especially when that’s what the question calls for?

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@wundayatta I just felt like you were encompassing what I do here sometimes. Thought maybe you didn’t like it. Sorry if I misunderstood…..:-/

filmfann's avatar

Anyone have change for a quarter?

liminal's avatar

@filmfann I only have pennies, will that work?

Blondesjon's avatar

I shrug and move on.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@Blondesjon I’m right behind you!!!

Val123's avatar

I’ll trade you a pineapple for that quarter @filmfann

Axemusica's avatar

I think I’ve tried answering most of your questions as you wanted @wundayatta, but I to feel as though my questions are misunderstood. I do know that It’s quite hard if not impossible for me to accurately explain myself. I feel like lashing out at the people that have warped my thread into something not coming close to resembling the feedback I wanted, but ehh, what can ya do? I guess MAKING IT CLEAR isn’t enough. I dunno.

Val123's avatar

@zenele Pineapples.

Silhouette's avatar

I edit. If I can’t edit, I step in to the answer area and ask specifically for “personal experiences”. There is no such thing as veering off coarse for me, I like to see where people go on their own. Give them a starting point and see where they take me.

MissA's avatar

@wundayatta Now people are going to be paranoid when answering your questions! You’ve short-changed yourself.

It is my experience that flutherers have very good mammaries.

Val123's avatar

Wow….When I clicked on this a moment ago I got a white page with a message about an Internal Service Error!! Fluthers is acting strangely.

seazen's avatar

I’m not allowed to give Daloon anymore lurve – so I can only say GA – but not actually click on it.

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