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I have no formal programming experience. I'm learning as I go and am starting with shell-scripting. I'm having issues with an if/then loop. Would posting a question about that be considered too basic for this site? Should it go on ServerFault? Or SuperUser?

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It's okay to ask basic questions, but please search first. There are already over 2600 questions tagged , so you might find what you're looking for is already here.

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The topic of developing shell scripts is certainly appropriate on Stack Overflow.

There sometimes is an apparent negative reaction to very "basic" questions, but it's not really because of the skill level of the asker, per se. It's more about the effort the asker has (apparently) put into things before hand.

One frequent comment you will see to basic questions is, "what have you tried so far?" We might ask you that for two reasons:

  1. We want to know you aren't just fishing for someone to do your work for you.
  2. We want to better answer your question.

Be prepared to have a good answer for that question. Actually... tell us in your question what you tried, and exactly what happened when you did, as well as what you expected/hoped would happen.

Show that you are a true "enthusiast" with your questions, be patient learning some of the quirks of the community, and I think you'll be fine.

The fact that you ask this at all shows you are thinking along the right lines, I think.

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Bill the Lizard covered a very important point I missed: search first, too. And look at the suggestions that come up after you type your question title. – Andrew Barber Jan 6 '12 at 0:56

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