here on Meta is discussing the interesting problem of questions which lie at the boundary between on-topic and off-topic, because they ask for software, but they can be answered in a more general way, which intersperses the discussion of a statistical method, with some code showing a practical application.
This is an instance of a more general problem: if we see a question where it looks like that the OP is principally interested in an answer which would be off-topic (for example, code only, but it could be off-topic for other reasons), but which can be answered in a way that the OP probably wouldn't like, but which can be very useful for generic users, what do we do? For me it's a difficult problem:
- giving the on-topic answer seems "the right thing to do". However, the OP will probably complain and/or not accept it. This may lead to 1) an increase of off-topic questions and 2) an increase of unanswered questions, which I think is bad for what it concerns the site statistics.
- just closing the question might be a bit of missed opportunity for the whole community, which would have benefited from such an answer.
- write another, better question and answer it myself? Possible, but not completely satisfying.