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:
- Did you clearly describe your problem?
- Did you use <code> ... </code> tags and check your markup?
- Did you include any warnings or messages your code returns?
- Do you have a clear title that is specific to your question?
- For further help see: How (Not) To Ask A 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. ;-)