# Should I answer exactly what the user ask or solve the problem?

I am sorry, I am new to Meta, so I don't exactly know the proper formatting rules here.

I am having a doubt regarding answering a question which I have referenced above. The topic of the question is "Solution of this Diophantine equation". I assume the title to be a broad overview of what's going to be in the question and most of the time I don't try to think of it as the exact question itself. Likewise in this question, the OP shows his attempt. I see the attempt and I am able to figure out the error in it. The OP then quotes the following in his question.

"Clearly, x and y are not prime numbers. Why is my solution not working? I have been able to solve similar type of equations by factorizing and then listing down the integer factors and the different cases. Why is it not working here?"

I assumed these two to be the query of the OP more or less and I answered it down. But I received criticism for it in the comment and to which I replied the reason of why it is not justified in my point of view. However, later on, the criticism comment also gathered an upvote. So, I am really confused about whether my approach is really wrong?

Edit: By solving the problem I mean: providing a solution to the problem without the user's requirement or demand mentioned in the question for it. I'd assume the premise of the problem to be what the OP asked for.

• Always give more than what's expected .So solve the problem :)
– user486983
Mar 28, 2019 at 21:56
• But it's very possible for this to go against the intention of the OP. Mar 28, 2019 at 21:59
• I don't think so. Alternatively you could use >! to hide the full answer and advertise OP
– user486983
Mar 28, 2019 at 22:02
• While I agree with the usage of ">!" , I still don't agree that just because "Always give more than what's expected" I should try that. Personally, I believe (so far) it's better to address the issues the OP has given. Mar 28, 2019 at 22:10
• @Isa: please write that as an answer so that some us have the chance to downvote such misguided comment. Mar 29, 2019 at 18:30
• :( ${}{}{}{}{}$
– user486983
Mar 29, 2019 at 19:15
• At present, your answer has six upvotes, and no downvotes. I wouldn't worry too much about one critical comment getting one upvote. Mar 29, 2019 at 23:03
• I recently asked a question for which I am specifically seeking an answer conforming to stated restrictions (no induction hypothesis is used). Alternative approaches may be helpful in gaining an understanding of the problem, so I don't object to their submission. As for up-votes, down-votes and close-votes. They often have little correlation to the value or appropriateness of a question, comment or answer. Questions which I believe to be deeply insightful often get no appreciation, and "throw away, off the cuff musings" have gained me the most reputation points. Mar 31, 2019 at 18:37
• I think the idea of letting a few negative comments and downvotes slide bears repeating. Everyone gets critical comments and downvotes on Stack Exchange - even the users with the highest reps who are experts in their fields. It's part of the human nature of the site (and the internet as a whole). Take them in stride. If you get more downvotes than upvotes on something, and/or comments seem to be explaining downvotes, then it may be time to take a second critical look at what you've posted and try to see the other perspectives. But there will always be a negative minority that you can't please. Apr 4, 2019 at 13:53

• I was trying to be fairly generic in my response, as I think you were asking about a general policy rather than a specific-question. It seemed to me that the OP finds a solution $x=1,y=0$ and is then dismayed that $x,y$ are not primes, which to me suggests a misunderstanding of the problem. Your point of view, that it was the reasoning that had a "faulty... jump," is not wrong but worthy IMHO of more exposition to help the OP's understanding of the problem. Mar 29, 2019 at 1:01