@saghm 4d
I like to call this the "YZ answer"; I'm asking Y, which is the actual question I have, but someone else tries to convince me that my "real" question is "Z" because they happen to know the answer to that.

Tangentially related, but does anyone else besides me have an irrationally strong dislike of the name "XY problem" for this phenomenon? I feel like that name could apply equally well to basically any problem where you have two things you could call "X and Y", which is...a lot of problems. Why not call this something like the "mistaken question" problem or the "incorrect premise" problem?

@matsemann 4d
I'm sorry, but if people often do this to you, maybe reflect on them actually being right? Or that you're legitimately asking a stupid question given your self-proclaimed lack of expertise?

People don't answer that way to be smug or so. They do it because the thankless person they're spending their own free time helping will just come back with a new asinine question the moment one answers their posed question. It's from experience after helping thousands of people, not pettiness.

If perhaps you're the one in a million case where this isn't applicable, just add the context, then. Don't be angry about having to do it, that's quite entitled given that you're asking people to solve your problem for free..

@resonious 4d
Yeah the whole premise of the "XY" problem seems like it was written up by someone who regulars Stack Overflow. It's pretty frustrating when the highest-upvotes answer to a question is "actually you don't want to do that. do something else instead".
@lelanthran 4d
Yeah, it's a false positive identification of the XY problem.

The audience falsely identifies your problem as an XY problem. This is, IME, due to the audience wanting to refactor the problem into something they can understand.

It's worse in JavaScript probl ms, where, due to the actual inability to do something simple like pause the runtime for 5s, the experts all spend tons of effort trying to convince you that there is no situation in which this is reasonable rather than simply say the runtime environment is too crippled to allow this.

It's nonsense of course.

@haswell 4d
I think this highlights that the usefulness of the XY problem framing will depend on context.

As a platform product manager working with customers (both internal and external/paying), the most important thing I can do is know with certainty what problem I’m trying to solve and why. Maybe it’s annoying right now, but it ensures we don’t spend 6 months building something that solves nothing. I can’t count the number of times someone asked for features instead of describing their problem and after returning to the problem it quickly became apparent that the feature ask was not the only path forward and probably not the best path forward.

In the context of engineers seeking help from other engineers, I can understand why this can quickly become something else.

As with all things, context matters. Don’t insist on understanding X to the nth degree just because you encountered xyproblem.info. But don’t assume that someone trying to understand X is just trying to assert their superiority.

@pyb 4d
Pretty much stopped asking any questions on web forums because of this. Some people tend to "XY" you whenever they don't immediately know the answer to a complex question.
@kelnos 4d
> Let’s just get on with the problem solving instead of playing the meta game.

I feel like a lot of things in tech have become --- for lack of a better word -- memes, that people trot out to make themselves appear smart. The XY Problem is one of them. Sometimes we have actually thoroughly explored our problem space and know what we need to do, just not how to do it! But someone else seems to think they're going to get Cleverness Points by uselessly derailing the discussion.

@thom 4d
Yeah it’s often like speaking to ChatGPT, you have to put in an enormous preamble saying “answer exactly what I’m asking, I promise I’ve thought about it, I know it’s weird”.
@FeepingCreature 4d
Also enraging: finding X answers for your YY problem on Google searches for Y.
@[deleted] 4d