It's a variant of what I have been calling "Stand By Me Tech Support." When a user finally decides to ask for help, if I actually go stand next to them for them to show me what's wrong, they are so careful about what they are doing that everything works without me touching anything at all.
I suspect the process of having to work out how to explain the problem to this list causes many to have an "aha" experience about the time they get it all well thought out.
Just another benefit of having this forum.
All. The. Time.
Yes, I think it's just that writing it out, taking screen grabs, etc just cause us to think through the issue is a more methodical way, that the solution just appears. The forum has helped me several times, even though I never actually posted my question.
The other thing that occurs (especially to a newb like me), is if I do hit enter, then go work it out, then I come back to the forum. I find someone answered it the same way I did. I just click their answer as correct. I wouldn't feel right typing 'I figured it out. Thats what I did".
At ITS we write formal test cases for features, and this is one of the side benefits - the very act of going through and documenting what needs to happen changes your perspective on the feature and exposes holes in thinking, better methods, etc.
Formal test cases means that you're going to put your code in front of a coworker who, in five minutes or less, is going to find a half-dozen bugs with 5 hours of your hard work! So to avoid that...you fix the things you see she or he is going to find before they call you out on it. It makes you more honest and rigorous with yourself and your code, and helps you see it from the outside - where you can have epiphanies about how to go about things better, or work around a problem.
Forums are basically a great place for code review. Putting your code up here for public viewing, even to solve a problem, forces you to go through an editing and self-inspection process that sometimes means you solve the problem before you hit "Post".