Q: how much background research should we expect users to conduct before posting a question?
So far, most of the questions asked on Emacs.SE have been remarkably good. Every once in a while we get one, however, that suggests that the user has not done much (any?) background research to try to solve the problem him/herself. Anecdotally, it seems like it comes primarily from someone a) new to the Stack Exchange sites, or b) new to Emacs.
I presume there is a sweet spot we want to hit with this site:
- welcoming to new people who are just learning the ropes and are willing to do their homework, but
- preventing the site from being swamped with help vampires (e.g., SE thread, SO thread).
So, for clarification: how much homework should we expect of people? I presume we want people to RTFM, but it seems plausible that someone new to Emacs would not know about the manual or how to go about finding information in it (because, you know, s/he's new to Emacs). Should we expect a baseline of "have at least tried a tutorial," or "have tried googling my question"?
Moreover, what are our meta-norms about answering questionable questions and voting on other people's answers to questionable questions?
- should we provide answers, or comments with links to the manual pages or tutorials they "should have" found in their background research?
- for other people's answers: should we upvote or not (i.e., should we provide second-order condonement of questionable questions)?