What can you do to prevent going down the rabbit-hole of answering a question where the original poster just doesn't get it?
Questions that seem innocuous or should have a straightforward answer quickly devolve into comments that reveal how big of a mess the OP is really in. And maybe I'm looking for a more graceful way to exit.
Start with this - a disk failure: HP Proliant DL180 G6 - Smart Array P410, bay 11 error
From there, it goes into conflated error messages, YouTube videos, screenshots, firmware, lack of documentation, an explanation of RAID and ends with multiple suggestions to just replace the disk... But wait, how DO I replace the disk? And why is my system with a failed disk performing slowly? And even more tangentially-related fallout.
Oh, and finally, "How do I check the progress of the disk rebuild?"
Is this the state of Professional in 2014?
Or this simple FreeNAS drive failure: zpool status reports error ... what next?
"Replace the disk"
But in the end, looking at this in the context of the poster's history, there was nothing but a disastrous string of bad situations, each linked to the previous. Is there a point where you just give up? If I were an employer or this poster's superior, I would have serious concerns about their ability to solve problems or that they were wasting time with a solution they could not manage effectively.
Yes, this guy, too!
A server with a fan speed issue following a hardware modification. Poor feedback to requests for more information. Normal OS and firmware recommendations made sense, given the environment described. OP had problems updating firmware... Poor followup.
After 2+ weeks: After upgrading all the software, the fans kept blowing 99%. However I suddenly noted a warning during boot time that fan 1 was missing - I switched fan 6 to slot 1 and the issue is now resolved.
What about the front-panel indicators on the server that clearly display fan status and hardware health?!? The ILO? The POST messages during the OS and firmware updates? And what if the fan is still bad? Motherboard issue?
Or a networking question:
I saw back-and-forth in the comments section. Multiple users tried to explain the flawed logic of the question via comments. One excellent answer was posted, but the OP still wasn't on the same page. I gave a terse explanation describing what the real focus of the issue should have been.
Maybe it was colder than intended, but I notice that a lot more hand-holding is needed in questions that should not require it.
(Sometimes guidance is necessary, but there's a difference between working with someone knowledgable who's in a bind and teaching someone the basics along the way to answering a question)