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Re: RFC - shortform posting guidance for newcomers

by luis.roca (Deacon)
on Jan 05, 2012 at 15:45 UTC ( #946424=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to RFC - shortform posting guidance for newcomers

Right now the list (as originally posted) is fourteen lines without counting blank spaces and assuming no wrapping on the numbered points. That's too long. You could probably combine numbers 1-3 into, at most, 2 points. Each point could also stand to be shortened in length. You don't need the extra emphasis on any words and should probably simply linkify each point to one of the nodes it corresponds to listed at the end. (Similar to what was done on number six).

Something like the following:

    SoPW Checklist:
  1. Did you clearly describe your problem?
  2. Did you use <code> ... </code> tags and check your markup?
  3. Did you include any warnings or messages your code returns?
  4. Do you have a clear title that is specific to your question?

That said I think all this boils down to is wrapping someone's knuckles before they have even had a chance to raise their hand. IMO the best way to learn how to write a well formatted question on PerlMonks is to hang around for a while and see what is considered good or bad form. That's not a luxury everyone has. There are people who come because they're stuck and need help with a solution today. They come, ask a poorly formatted question, get the usual replies with a list of links like above then simply move on to another forum/mail list. If they really understand their question THAT well and knew how to go about looking for answers, there would be no need for a SoPW at all. When someone asks a question, most of the time, they have little clue what they're doing. If you don't think they've asked it well enough ignore it.

As has been said, many will ignore the list so who is this for? If it's for people who are considerate enough to look through the site and try to adhere by our rules then I think it runs the risk of chasing them away. Personally those are the kind of people I would like to stick around don't you?

But even risking losing a few decent potential members, if this list only did one thing I will support it wholeheartedly: It eliminates the small parade of replies to poorly written questions that include the obligatory list of "How do I/How not to/RTFM" links. If it does that, go ahead and post it anywhere you like. :-)

An even shorter list:

  • If someone blatantly ignores your rules of courtesy when asking a question, you can blatantly ignore them. ;-)

"...the adversities born of well-placed thoughts should be considered mercies rather than misfortunes." Don Quixote

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Re^2: RFC - shortform posting guidance for newcomers (leverage)
by tye (Cardinal) on Jan 06, 2012 at 08:11 UTC
    if this list only did one thing I will support it wholeheartedly: It eliminates the small parade of replies to poorly written questions that include the obligatory list of "How do I/How not to/RTFM" links. If it does that, go ahead and post it anywhere you like. :-)

    This is very much the wrong way to try to solve that problem.

    I sometimes vote down such boilerplate noise. Such usually reveals to me that no shortage of people have voted it up. Of course you get more of that stuff if people are constantly voting it up! You don't have to vote it down. But if you don't like it, then you should consider voting it down or /msg'ing the author, especially when the author is a "serial offender".

    My suggestion is for people to refrain from posting purely "you suck at posting questions" replies, especially with any speed. If you actually have something interesting and/or useful to say, then go ahead and reply with that and, if you want to, also provide some advice / links on how to post a better question. If not, then please give other people who it would seem are better at understanding questions that you find hard to make enough sense of sufficient time to show up, find the node, and provide a response that does not consist of 100% noise (to "the rest of us").

    Heck, if you have something interesting and useful to add and some bozo has already posted a "purely RTFPostingHelp" response, you might want to respond to the noise with the interesting / useful information along with a sincere and thoughtful expression of how it would've been better had they waited for someone like you to come along and post a "combo" reply (I don't advocate responding to 100% noise by adding another 100%-noise response).

    - tye        

      I will mention the effectiveness tutorials at the end of my reply, if I'm answering the question in full and/or providing a solution.

      I try to refrain from replies consisting entirely of links to the effectiveness tutorials until after the question receives ~6 replies, or at least one that answers the question completely.

      Sometimes I'll omit mentioning the effectiveness tutorials if the OP is very new, and it appears it would be just another thing to overwhelm -- but usually by next week, if the OP wasn't scared annoyed away, another opportunity will present itself :)

      I think that works.

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