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So just to give a bit of context, I was talking to one of my friends over text about mechanical keyboard switches and which type of switch colour to get. When I told him to get brown switches because I own a mechanical keyboard with brown switches and they are good and I liked it, he told me that his other friends said not to get brown switches. So being curious to know why they didn't like it, I asked him why his friend thought of not getting brown switches. This is how the conversation went:

My friend: My friend told me not to get brown switches.

Me: Why?

My friend: He said every time people talk about brown switches then they put this emoji 🙄

Me: What is that supposed to mean?

My friend: Means they don't like it.

What do you call someone when they don't give a reason to why they don't like something but just give something that is irrelevant that doesn't benefit the person trying to understand why they don't like it. Or maybe what kind of answer is that?

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  • Do you mean "keys" when you say "switches"? A switch is something which toggles between two or more states, the keys of a keyboard only operate when they are pressed.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 8:01
  • @BoldBen: There is such a thing as a momentary switch, and the electrical part of a key on a keyboard is one of these, and is usually called a "key switch" (not to be confused with a "keyswitch" which is a switch with a keyhole...). But it is possible that "key" would be more appropriate in this question, depending on which part OP is referring to.
    – psmears
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 10:28
  • Sounds like a communication failure or two people who're on different wavelengths or with different standards of proof. Not anyone being deliberately evasive or unhelpful. One gives what they think is a valid reason (everybody rolls their eyes in annoyance whenever it's mentioned), the other doesn't accept it is a valid reason (maybe wanting something more specific or evidence-based).
    – Stuart F
    Commented Aug 13, 2021 at 13:33

1 Answer 1

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A person or an answer can be unhelpful, and an answer can be unsatisfactory. These are judgements by the listener and usually do not address the speaker's intent (unless we say that an answer or person is, for example, deliberately unhelpful).

If someone is intentionally avoiding a direct answer, we can say that they or the answer is evasive.

evasive

If you describe someone as evasive, you mean that they deliberately avoid giving clear direct answers to questions.
He was evasive about the circumstances of his first meeting with Stanley Dean. Collins

Tending to avoid commitment or self-revelation, especially by responding only indirectly.
‘she was evasive about her phone number’ Lexico

In this dilemma they thought it safest to give an evasive answer, of friendly sentiment towards both parties, but refusal of aid to either; hoping thus to avoid an inexpiable breach, whichever way the ultimate success might turn. ref

Someone can avoid being overtly critical or negative by giving an answer that is (overly/too) tactful.

tactful

having or showing tact m-w

tact a keen sense of what to do or say in order to maintain good relations with others or avoid offense m-w

Undoubtedly Post is right that a tactful person would not say that the room is hideous after it is finished. Although she doesn't give examples of a more tactful answer, we can probably come up with our own ideas: "That's a really bold color scheme" or, "I especially like that lamp over in the corner." ref.

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