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Re: Stuck in a hell of routing :(

On Tue, 2005-03-29 at 21:04 +0100, Dave Ewart wrote:
> On Tuesday, 29.03.2005 at 18:27 +0200, martin f krafft wrote:
> > I know that it's sometimes a good idea to make sure that the person is
> > actually looking for the right answer, but I have been noticing a
> > tendency here (and elsewhere) to always ask first about the
> > motivations.
> Interesting observation ... I'm probably one of those 'guilty' of often
> asking for the motivation behind apparently 'strange' requests.
> It is helpful to those answering the (apparently unusual) query to know
> what problem is being addressed, since past history shows that often the
> poster is approaching the problem from the wrong angle, or may even be
> addressing the wrong problem!
Agreed.  I am guilty of the same responses myself, and for exactly the
same reasons.

I would argue that perhaps, tho, both of you are looking at it the wrong
way.  Instead of looking for a "motive", I often look for what the
person is trying to do in an ultimate sense.  (I have had many, many,
insane or impossible requests turn simple when I find out what the
person is *really* trying to do.)

FWIW, I don't really care about "motive".  I do care about solving the
problem in a larger sense.  Often, a person will come to me with a
"simple problem", and I find out that they had a "larger problem" that
the "simple problem" was a roadblock to.  However, I have found that the
"larger problem" is often far, far simpler to solve -- either because
there is another way of dealing with the problem, or because someone's
solved either a sub or superset of the "larger problem" which makes
solving the "smaller problem" a moot point.  (Besides, after you've
solved the "smaller problem", the person often turns around and says,
"Oh, yeah, I was asking because of X...")


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