I get this situation quite a bit in my answering of questions here on the Workplace.
I'll answer a question and direct my answer to the question as stated.
Then I'll get comments on my answer pointing out how it doesn't fit a particular edge-case that isn't really covered in the question.
A recent case in point is
The OP here mentions there's some ash on her desk but in no way indicates that she's allergic to it or that it in any way risks her health. In fact, she's a smoker herself.
But comments against my answer point out that cigarette ash may be considered a health risk, although to most people it isn't anything more than smelly dust.
I get these kinds of edge-case comments on quite a few answers, and I'm guessing a few down-votes as well.
So. When we answer questions - are we answering the asker, or should we consider each edge-case in our answers and address those?
For the question here, should I have considered:
- Potential health risk of the ash
- The ergonomic issues surrounding the positions of three monitors
- Whether it's ok for the boss to delegate tasks on a sticky-note
- Do any other tasks take priority over the stick-note delegations
- Who should she complain to about the state of her desk
- Did she have a nice vacation
I admit that I'm somewhat tongue in cheek here, but the core question remains.
Do I answer the questioner and edit my answer from the questioner's own feedback, or should I infer a generic question and answer that instead - taking into account any likely edge-cases, even if they don't relate to the questioner's actual situation?
Right now, I'm simply answering the question and ignoring edge-case comments.