This is in response to the question of How can I encourage a culture of punctuality in a software company?
1. Telling an asker not to do something is perfectly okay:
My answer was one that basically suggested to the question asker that it wasn't a good idea to try to force (or encourage) such change. I basically said "Don't do that" and then followed up with what I thought was the better solution. "Try this instead."
From the Workplace FAQ - How to Answer:
Answer the question
Read the question carefully. What, specifically, is the question asking for? Make sure your answer provides that – or a viable alternative. The answer can be “don’t do that”, but it should also include “try this instead”. Any answer that gets the asker going in the right direction is helpful, but do try to mention any limitations, assumptions or simplifications in your answer. Brevity is acceptable, but fuller explanations are better.
(bold emphasis in body is mine)
In short, there is nothing wrong with telling a question asker not to do what it is that they're asking, so long as a viable alternative is presented in it's place. Let's not lose sight of this very important point.
2. Condescending Tone
While the issue of condescending comments or answers could be dealt with in the form of constructive guiding comments, editing questions and answers, and/or downvotes, it's important that we understand that the FAQ for this and all Stack Exchange sites clearly state that answers can indicate disagreement with the course of action and offer alternatives.
Always be polite and have fun
It’s fine to disagree and express concern, but please be civil. There’s a real human being on the other end of that network connection, however misguided they may appear to be. We’re here to learn from our peers, not yell at each other.
I also don't think everyone that says "this is a bad idea" intends to be rude or condescending. Sometimes, a comment is all it takes to alleviate the problem. A few people, including Chad, pointed out some problems with my answer in the comments. Most of them were very respectful and helpful, and I was able to correct the answer to make it fit the guidelines 100%. So let's also not forget that when we leave comments to someone who may not have posted something that is 100% perfect, that many people want to positively contribute and may simply need some help or encouragement to get from point A to point B.
If that doesn't work, if your comment is met with further rudeness or condescending attitudes, then that would be a good time to flag the post for moderator attention, and calmly walk away.