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The final suggestions are good, much better than "why didn't you just". The problem comes when your initial thought is actually a good idea, and your colleague could actually have saved some time. This happens a lot in the interaction between senior and junior engineers. For those situations, it's not great to be asking for an explanation on the spot, because then the explanation is just "I'm an idiot/ignorant of that tool".

What's missing, I think, is a question that is not seeking explanation, but improvement. You are not seeking justification of actions, you are identifying an opportunity. This opens up for both an answer starting with "Aha, you might think that, but actually..." and the question "Huh? What is X? How could it be used here?"

Hence, I like

> Could it be made simpler by using `sshd`?


> Did you try `sshd`? This seems like it might be a good fit.

In interaction between senior and junior engineers those type of question are made often and juniors should take it as how to grow themselves, but I agree with you that asking about their decision first would make the discussion better.

If you're supervising a junior it can be an idea to discuss potential solutions before they implement them.

If you get to "Why didn't you just...?" not only have you questioned their competence, but you've also undermined your own competence by allowing them to proceed with work they didn't need to do and/or may have to redo.

hjorthjort, exactly my thinking.

Another one:

"I was wondering if `sshd` would work here. What do you think?"

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