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There are often answers which resemble search results. By this I mean they are not a single answer, they are multiple answers with a "pick one" approach.

These answers also often have an image with each answer - for example, one that has appeared several times is "Here are all the tools you could use to do that (lots of pictures)".

To me, it seems that the spirit of SE is for people to share their experience or knowledge - not google for people that for whatever reason won't google for themselves.

closed as not constructive by Niall C., ChrisF Oct 11 '12 at 19:41

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Can you site some specific examples? – Tester101 Sep 10 '12 at 18:58
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    Uh oh, looks like MC Hammer and the beaver aren't well liked. – BMitch Sep 10 '12 at 19:22
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Go to Home Depot and buy a hammock. Go the the supermarket and get frozen limeade mix and tequila and triple sec. Drink margaritas in the hammock and don't worry about a little multiple choice along the way.

  • I agree this is probably best. I'm just making some issues I have known on my way out. – dbracey Sep 11 '12 at 0:44
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Often times, folks are just not sure what options are available. At times like these, giving the OP as many options as possible may be the best way to help them. There are some jobs that can be accomplished using many different tools/techniques, which may or may not be available to the asker. So while telling them exactly how you did it last time, might not be as useful to them as briefly showing them all their options.

Other times the question is simply too broad and open ended, the only plausible way to answer them is with a bit of zaniness.

Take this question for example

What is the best tool for cutting up scrap wood?.

How can anybody actually answer this question? Obviously the Best tool for cutting up wood is Chuck Norris, but he might be busy doing Chuck Norris things. So a list of the alternatives, is the best way to answer the question.

You have to remember, you're not only answering the question for the OP. Millions of potential viewers will read your answers too. One specific example may not be useful to all those readers, so it's often best to give a few alternatives.

  • I have to disagree with your last paragraph. I understand that this is the charter for SE, but it just ain't gonna happen. – dbracey Sep 11 '12 at 0:47
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    Google disagrees. As I've said in other comments - I often find old q's and a's that end up answering a current need for me over on S.O. It works there, it works here. – The Evil Greebo Sep 12 '12 at 17:04

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