Edit: After posting this question and receiving feedback, I expanded the answer to make it more of a direct answer to the question. So the referenced answer is no longer a good example of the issue described here. However, this question describes a situation others might encounter, and it received answers that provide guidance, so I'll leave the question in place.
I'm looking for input on whether a certain type of post is appropriate, and if not, whether the site has any other provision for conveying this kind of information.
A user posted two similar questions about trying to interpolate a series of numbers:
- Excel 2013 Single Table Interpolation
- Interpolate a collection of values to expand the number of points in the pattern in Excel
In both cases, the author didn't understand a fundamental concept about interpolation and was asking for help interpolating a single list of values. The second question received an answer that cleverly finessed the missing data, but didn't go into an explanation of what the OP didn't understand.
So the OP had an answer to the question, but not the knowledge to understand the hole in his thinking or to apply the solution to the next similar problem. And anyone else with a similar question and misunderstanding who arrives at that question will be in the same boat. I wanted to explain that piece of the puzzle, but the only type of post that can handle images and a lengthy explanation is an answer. I posted this: https://superuser.com/a/985357/364367 (Note: the answer has since been expanded; for context, see an earlier version in the edit chain).
doesn't didn't answer what was asked in the question, so it probably doesn't didn't qualify as an answer. I could add an actual answer to it, but it would just duplicate the existing answer. I thought about posting a new question and using that to self-answer, but it is really information in response to the OP's question, and just a link to another question is likely to be lost in the noise.
So my question: is
this type of an explanatory "non-answer" acceptable as an answer post? If not, do we have any other mechanism for this kind of thing? Or, is our role only to directly respond to questions asked and not be concerned about what the OP needs to know?