I was in a meeting the other day, and asked one of the participants for a specific bit of information, expecting a number. Instead, I sort of got a history of counting that number.
Why did I need that history? Turns out I didn't. But I don't think I could convince the other person of that, since passing along that history is important to him/her, and discussing it, too.
There are times when the person's need to discuss whatever history really is important, rather than the answer to my question, but sometimes I really do want the answer for real, and it feels like the history is a way to distract from the real answer.