There have been a number of instances when someone posted a question which was "inspired" by another question, especially questions thrown into the
Sidebar Garbage Dump Hot Network Questions. The community's response to such spinoffs has been somewhat inconsistent. Some such spinoffs were found acceptable, others were taken as trolling and deleted.
Note that this is different from "hypothetical" questions, although there could be some overlap. The difference being that the spinoff questions are also based on the same real incident, albeit presented from a different perspective. (See hypothetical example of spinoff questions below.)
Do we go by our usual rule of "assume good intentions", and answer those questions anyway?
If the same question were to be asked several months later, and nobody remembers the "inspiring" question, then that question becomes acceptable, which looks like an inconsistent application of the rule. What is the "cool off" period beyond which getting inspired by a question is not considered trolling?
A sample "inspiring" question could be:
I had a meeting with my manager to request for X. He refused and instead asked me to opt for either Y or Z. Now I have changed my mind and want to go with W instead. How do I convince my manager to do W instead?
This can inspire "spinoffs" like the following:
I am managing an employee, who requested me for X. I found that unreasonable, and asked him to consider Y or Z instead. Now, after discussing this with my manager, I think he should do U or V instead. How should I communicate this to him?
I am a waiter at a coffee shop. This morning I had two customers who seemed to be having a business meeting. I overheard some of their conversation, and found out that one person was convincing his manager to do X, which he refused. I know a better approach to convince the boss. Would it be professional to offer him (unsolicited) advice?
I am a lawyer. I was at a coffee shop this morning. I overheard from the next table, a manager suggesting his employee to consider Y or Z. Y is ok, but Z could cause legal issues for the company, which the manager is presumably unaware of. Is it appropriate for me to ignore the conversation and hope that the employee chooses Y?
I am a struggling story writer. I was at a coffee shop this morning looking for inspiration. I overheard an interesting conversation between an employee and a manager at the next table, which inspired me to write a great story. They are complete strangers and I didn't even see their faces clearly. Am I ethically obliged to credit them if my story is made into a movie?
and so on ...