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"We could bitch that we don't .... "

Or, we could point out that using a C-style loop is un-lazy and thus unPerlish, without bitching. Without the explanation of why we offer the alternate syntax, the reply probably wouldn't be much help to a newcomer... and a newcomer who takes the trouble to include code, pay attention to formatting and some of the other desiderata listed in our FAQs deserves (IMO) the best possible answer... given any shortcomings (if any) in the problem statement.

"But what if they wanted the iteration number? "

Again, IMO, if they didn't mention that in the OP or a follow up, should we try to use our broken crystal balls to guide our replies?

As to a common guide, which I believe is the subject of your question given the amplification in your last sentence, "Is there consistency is my inquiry..." -- I'm not aware of one, other than the examples provided by the most knowledgeable and helpful Monks. And as several recent threads have highlighted, there's certainly something less than consensus about just how to handle the worst of poorly written questions and the "gimme's."

Addendum:

Suppose the next SOPW you see goes like this:

OP: How do I print hello?

A1: Use print which is explained in print.

Q2: Yeah, but how do I do that?

A2a: Read the documentation linked in A1.
A2b: What have you tried? Show us your code and we can probably help you.
A2c: The answer is shown in Perl versions of 'Hello, world.' Google can help you find your answer. We don't write your code for you, but we'll be glad to help you learn if something's still not clear.

Q3: You're not telling me what I need to know. And anyway, those samples show how to print something to a screen. I want to print it to dead treees and since you're experts you can just tell me how to do it.

A3: There are several answers to that:

  • You didn't make your question specific when you first asked it..."print" often means "print to screen and I suspect A1 and A2c thought that was what you meant.
  • To do what you want you'll need to read (...good doc refs)
  • Yes, we could tell you how to do it, but you'll learn more by studying and trying to do it on your own. We're here to help when your attempts fail (but note A2b).

Q4: So go to hell if you don't want to help, you #){P*{ monkeys! I bet I'll get an answer at StackOverFlow, so there...

Is A1 a "good" answer: I would argue 'yes' as it tells someone who looks to be a beginner how to find some documentation... a skill that beginner will need to progress beyond the novice level.

But how about answer A2a thru A2c: To my taste, c is the best answer, because the writer now has some evidence that the OP is looking for a script rather than information or knowledge... a view that (in my eyes) is reinforced by the OP's final statement.

That said, if you emulate the form of replies you admire, you'll develop your own style of helpful responses.


In reply to Re: When do we change our replies? by ww
in thread When do we change our replies? by stevieb

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