Since this thread is about my answers maybe it would help to explain why I answer questions the way I do. I have not participated in this discussion up until now because others have been covering it pretty well. I'm also new here so I wanted to see what the mods and others with more experience would say to see if how I like to participate is compatible with how SE wants people to participate.
Most people don't come here to ask questions. They come here to solve problems. The way they communicate their problem is by asking a question. When I reply to a question my intent is to help them solve their problem as best I can.
I came here to help people solve their problems by sharing some of the things I know and to find people that can help me solve my gardening problems with things that I don't know. Working on someone's problem is a little fun, like solving a puzzle, but I also learn something in the process by thinking of the problem and reading other's answers. I get something out of it. When I need help with something from others, by participating in other discussions I don't feel like I'm just taking and not giving.
The analogy I gave Randy about running shoes explains why I chose to answer questions the way I do. It may help someone to find the right pain med to alleviate their foot pain but it ultimately helps them more to stop their feet from hurting in the first place.
Though I'm talking about myself and my answers, you'll find the people that have been here a long time and consistently give good answers have the same approach.
It's 2013. All the answers are pretty much already online. The reasons people can't find the answer to their questions are either because they are not very good at doing web searches or they don't fully understand their problem.
The reason SE is better than a lot of other stupid Q&A sites is because it helps people solve real problems and doesn't just try to create page after page of useless Q&A. SE could automatically create hundreds of thousands of pages related to programming by creating a script that would go through the javadocs of all the major libraries and create Q&A pages of the form "What is the return type of the function foo of the class package.bar?". But they chose not to do that because that's not useful. Other Q&A sites do stuff like that.
If you go through all the edits and comments in chronological order in the question regarding rainfall and growing grass I think it will be clear what I was doing. I was intending to help someone to help get grass to grow around the perimeter of their home. This is the problem I had identified based on the information presented. As he provided more information based on my questions/answers I tried to use that information to provide a better solution to the problem.
In his question he identified 4 possible solutions. He had indicated he had objections to using all of them for different reasons. As I better understood his problem I couldn't see any of the products helping him more than my answer would. I didn't see them as rebuttals, most of them anyway. I thought he was providing more information to help me understand his problem better. I also had some insight into Randy's problem based on communication outside this site.
So what's the point of picking the best product from a list of products the asker said he doesn't want to use and which I don't think would solve the problem? I can't see how that would be beneficial for the asker, for the site, for future readers or for me. For the record, since the issue of me linking to my site has also come up in the past... Three out of the four products/methods are things I have experience with and have discussed on my site. Answering the question the way Randy wanted it to be answered would have given me a valid opportunity to link to my site.
I don't expect to always have the right answers but it is absolutely annoying and a huge waste of time for me to try and help someone solve a problem/answer a question when the person is not looking for input and has some other agenda. All of you that have participated in this thread can relate.
How do I handle this situation in the garden site to make it fit the SE model?-- Well, one way you don't do it is by posting rebuttals, and then the other user posts a rebuttal to your rebuttal, and so on. That's what happens in forums and debates, and that's what SE is not.