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I think it was about five minutes after I found out where to turn that unattended TRS-80 on in 1978 when I learned what PRINT is for and very shortly after that also IF and ELSE. (must have been something like IF X < 20 GOTO 30 ELSE END). Even if there had been Q&A, I'm very sure I would never have asked that kind of question.
I would suggest we make the book obligatory reading before someone is allowed to post questions. How do we verify that online?
"I don't know, extraterrestrial?"
"You mean like from space?"
"No, from Canada."
If software development were a circus, we would all be the clowns.
Is it time that some of these we're just deleted on arrival with an auto-reply of "sorry, no-one can help the helpless?"
No, I don't think so - I used to get irritated at the number of questions that were closed as "not a question" back when He Who Must Not Be Named was active here. Just because he didn't understand the question was not a good reason to leave a sarcastic remark and vote for it to close: somebody might understand it - that happened a lot to Bill and me. And it is damn annoying to spend half an hour typing up a solution to find the question is closed when you try to post it...
Asking questions is a skill: many, many people have never developed it. But it's one of the really important skills in development - it's not enough to go "it don't work" you have to ask "why didn't it work? What did it do? what evidence can I gather about how it failed?". You know that, you probably do it every day when your code doesn't do exactly what you expected.
And how are you going to learn a skill if every time you try to practice it, you get told "you are a hopeless case" and your question closed?
Instead, lets explain to these people that we need better info, and try to point them in the direction of how to ask a question. Improve them, and they might start to think on their own - yes, yes, I know that education systems, corporations, and many governments aren't interested in producing people that can think - and perhaps they can start to take our places as "the generation that knows what it is doing" instead of just being "the generation that was all copy'n'paste FarceBook Twatters".
Bad command or file name. Bad, bad command! Sit! Stay! Staaaay...
I'd certainly agree with many of those points but I do think bad questions fall into certain groupings:
Group 1 - Lazyitis:
I want to write something to progressively map the changes in a series of MRI scans/predict stock market trends/work out the weather for next Christmas. What I have tried: Nothing.
I would advocate rejecting these mercilessly (if only to save Richard, NPC or yourself the trouble of a witty response).
Group 2 - "I'm not quite sure what's going on"
I'm trying to do x but I don't know the name of the concept and I'm struggling to explain what I'm asking. What I have tried: I've tried stuff but I'm getting nowhere.
Those, I would keep, as the poster obviously needs help but let them know that they're going to have to provide a few more details before they can get and maybe point them at some good beginner articles. These are maybe the sort that were treated too harshly in the past.
Group 3 - I CNT XPRZ MYSELFIE
These are a bit trickier because behind the complete lack of communications protocols (ESPECIALLY THE SHOUTING) there may or may not be a coherent and answerable question within. Obviously we have to factor in that not everyone is first-language English but maybe there should be a certain standard below which resubmission is requested.
I certainly don't advocate over-moderation - to me the beauty of Code Project is that it doesn't suffer from the same (often well-intended) Stack Overflow obsessions with requirements for this, that and the other. It's great to have a place where people can ask a question along the lines of "Can anyone see why this doesn't work?" without being required to accompany it with a dissertation or be made to feel inferior for daring to ask such a lowly question.
So, yes, generally I'd agree that CP should be the kind of nurturing environment that SO isn't but against that, there's a real danger that the QA just gets so full of bad Qs that no-one bothers to look at the As.