The primary reason for adding context is that it helps to find the right solution for the problem that a person is having. I don't think that context has to be a story, but a story is usually the easiest way to find out a person's underlying problem. I agree that in general there is an issue with people not providing enough context, leading to incorrect / unhelpful answers, but don't think this question is a good example of that.
I don't have an issue with problem duplication or cross-posting (especially if it is explicitly stated / linked). If someone comes here with a problem that is a pure maths problem, or pure programming problem, that's fine by me. While they'll probably get a better answer on another site (and I would possibly guide them to do that), it's possible they feel more comfortable asking on this site, or think their problem is applicable within the very broad realm of bioinformatics.
I don't think that context has to be a story, but a story is usually the easiest way to find out a person's underlying problem.
To clarify on specific points relating to the referred-to question:
- The contents of the examples they provided indicated that they were working with biological data.
- It's unclear whether the question is a good example of not providing enough context, because they eventually provided input files that were sufficient to reliably demonstrate the problem. The "not enough background" point may still be applicable in this case, even if their immediate stated problem is solved. One thing to think about is whether or not this individual problem would be helpful to other viewers of the site (I would suggest it is, because it's an obscure problem with an odd cause). If so, it would be reasonable to keep it even if it doesn't provide a solution to their ultimate problem.
- This was not a general database problem; they encountered a specific error using the
merge function in R. This is a real function in base R; there is a help page for it.
- The person asking the question was a new user. It's especially important that we (i.e. the community) put more effort into helping new users, rather than setting off quick-fire close requests and scaring them away because they get hit by the rules hammers.