A small note before the question itself : I'm unsure if this kind of question fits Meta, since it could easily be interpreted as nothing more than "How do I not offend other human beings?". I decided to post it here because I specifically aim at increasing the quality of my answers in this stack, but also because there might be other people looking for the same answers. If there is some other place which would be a better fit for this question, please do indicate it and I will gladly move this issue over there.
I've been lurking through this stack for quite a while, and decided only recently to create an account and start using what I've learned, both through reading through it and my own roleplaying experience. However, I've been running into an issue that left me puzzled.
First, I believe I should explain my reasoning when building an answer for a question, as it might just as well be the issue here. When I make an answer, I usually start by stating the basic concept that I will then build upon in my answer. Usually, it will be one or multiple rules from the books that are the ground floor of my argument. I do this for multiple reasons :
- I make sure that the reader and I are using reasoning based on the same premises, which avoids possible misunderstandings later on in the reasoning.
- This helps less experienced readers, by either teaching them or reminding them of those points.
- If my premises are wrong, this allows more experienced readers to easily and accurately point out the reason as to why my answer is flawed, which then allows me to correct my answer in an efficient way.
When the premises of my answer are cleared up, I can then explain more in details my reasoning, mention personal experience with the subject, then make a conclusion.
The issue I've had recently is that multiple people have told me that this method can be seen as condescending. The main argument for that was that it implies the reader does not know the basics of the rules, and thus stating the "obvious" is an insult to whoever is reading the answer.
I can understand that someone would feel offended by that, but I believe the arguments I've given also show that this structure (basic, agreed upon fact -> reasoning from those facts and adding external elements -> concluding based on those reasonings) is avantageous. The objective with this is not to correct the reader or put them down, but simply to make sure we are operating on the same page.
My question is the following : how do I answer a question in a meaningful way, without closing down to less experienced people, but also without offending more experienced readers? Should I discard completly this method of answering, or is there a way to modify it, in order to keep its advantages while negating the offending aspect of it? In the end, it might also simply be because english is not my native language, in which case I am at a loss for how to improve my answers.