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but in asking the question I realize either what the answer is or a different way to search for the answer.
Happens to me all the time. I believe this is actually a technique (formal name eludes me) and works great. Basically talking out your issues, even to a rubber ducky and then you will come up with the answer. Don't really need another real person, most of the time.
Edit: Haha, just read Rick's response. Rubber ducking, yes that is the name/technique.
And the other way around: When someone comes to me with a problem, and I ask them to explain it in detail, slowly so I can follow it... Sometimes they suddenly exclaim: Oh, I think I know what's wrong! And sometimes, when I watch them I see from their face that the same thing happened, but they say: Maybe I should take some more notes of what happened, and come back to you with more details... (Often I can tell for sure that there is no need to come back - I saw it on your face.)
Happened to mee too, quite a few times: when pondering for some time over a difficult problem, I'll end up asking someone else. But because I first need to explain the problem in a way that another can understand, I am also forced to clearly lay out what, exactly my problem is - and then it turns out, once I've done this, I realize something I wasn't aware of, as well as a new approached based on this realization.
I deliberately use this now by imagining to explain it to someone else. Or I write my problem description and question(s) down as I would when posting it to a forum. This is sometimes enough to get me thinking on new approaches, or even new solutions.
Now I am wondering whether the reason why so many questions posted here seem so badly formulated: maybe those people who managed to formulated their questios well never posted them, because in doing so, they found a solution.
GOTOs are a bit like wire coat hangers: they tend to breed in the darkness, such that where there once were few, eventually there are many, and the program's architecture collapses beneath them. (Fran Poretto)