I think part of the challenge (indeed, maybe most of it)
is trying to figure out exactly what the person is asking. Usually
they know exactly what they want, but end up
expressing it really, really badly. :) Some questions are so vague that all you can do is
throw a bunch of clues and hope that some
I like going beyond the question itself to see exactly
what they are trying to accomplish. In other words, the
question may be about some esoteric (or common) perl
nuance, but I also like to try and give them some insite
on code design, user interface, the cost (CPU, speed,
readability) of what they want, alternative ways to
do it, etc.
There is some risk as coming across as patronizing, or
even insulting the person: after all, if they are asking
about a regex, and you point out that the whole block
around it is ill-written...
This might sound harsh, but I tend to assume
that those who cannot carefully craft their question,
cannot carefully craft their code. </alliteration>
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