I want to examine some ideas around the fundamental concept of question and answer.
The difficult issues of life revolve around finding answers to questions. It is often the case that finding the right question is the hard part, but giving the right answer is obviously important.
The question is – what is the right answer? I have concluded that the right answer depends on who is asking the question, and what action they are going to take after receiving the answer. If the receiver does nothing with the answer, then it does not matter what the answer is.
Note that I am introducing the concept of a process involving the questioner, the question and the agent who gives the answer. The receiver is normally also the questioner, but I suppose a more general description would include a three party situation. The receiver takes the answer and either takes some action as a result, or uses the answer to modify his world model.
I may elaborate on this part of the process, but what I want to concentrate on now is the concept of matching. Matching arises in many environments; I think I first came across it when connecting loudspeakers or earphones to an audio amplifier. The amplifier output has an internal impedance (roughly the same as a resistance), and the connected device (e.g. loudspeaker) also has an impedance. For optimum performance, the impedances should match, i.e. they should be the same. Optimum performance here means that the energy transfer is maximised. Of course exact matching is seldom necessary, but a gross mismatch is generally undesirable.
This concept applies whenever two systems are coupled together for the purpose of transferring energy or information. So an internal combustion engine needs to be matched to the drive train for efficient operation; this can be done using gears or some other mechanism. It is also the case that an engine pulling a load needs to be matched so that the capacity of the engine is sufficient for the load. A similar situation arises if a liquid is pumped into a container; the flow rate of the pump needs to be matched to the capacity of the connection. If a person is speaking to another, he needs to match his speaking rate to the ability of the listener to absorb the information.
If a computer is receiving data from a server on the internet, it is desirable that the capacity of the server to deliver data is matched by the connection bandwidth and the capacity of the computer to receive data. Note that here I am including the connection channel in the matching, along with the transmitter and receiver.
So in all these examples, there is an issue of matching different parts of the system. So it is when a question is asked and answered. The best answer is one where the system is matched, so the answer matches the needs of the questioner. Note that these needs may include the speed and cost of the answer, not just the accuracy of the answer to the questioner. Indeed, the speed and cost are part of the total effect on the questioning part of the system.
So to conclude, there is no such thing in general as the perfect answer to a question. The best answer is one where the needs of the questioner are matched to the answer.