Sometimes you think it is best for the OP of a question that you walk him step by step thru the answer. This is particularly likely when the question is a obvious homework problem. We don't just want to give someone the answer to homework because the point is the learning process not the answer. How should we deal with cases like this?
Here is a example of someone asking a obvious (in my opinion) homework problem. In this case things aren't helped by the question being vague about what exactly was supposed to be solved in what way. Still, I thought there was a good educational opportunity here for the OP.
I started with a brief answer giving the OP a first clue with the intent of adding more after responses from the OP as we walked thru the solution in steps. Admittedly, the original answer was merely a comment if taken by itself. Kortuk came along and converted it to a comment. I can see his point, but that of course makes the original intent impossible. I did state the intent in the answer for exactly this reason so folks like Kortuk could see what I was aiming at.
Should we be trying to do this at all? If it works then the OP hopefully learned well from the homework assignement and a nice record is left how such a problem can be addressed step by step. On the other hand, if the OP never comes back or decides not to cooperate, then we're left with a useless answer. My intent was to delete it in that case, although it is easy to forget to do that when there is no activity reminding you the question even exists. I can't promise I would have remembered about this question two days from now if it didn't bubble to the front page of the active list again.
I'm truly on the fence about this, so I'm really asking. I can see it both ways. I'm hoping a consensus emerges to provide guidance the next time this kind of situation arises.