What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 134 Stack Exchange communities.

This question is an exact duplicate of:

In the comments on this post, there is a discussion about how much research you should do before asking a question.

My standpoint is, I'm asking the question as soon as:

  • I did some basic check whether this is trivially found on Google or already asked on StackOverflow.
  • I am sure that the question will be valuable for others and is constructive (i.e. other people will have the same question/problem and any answers will help them).
  • I feel comfortable and safe in my understanding of the subject as a whole.
  • I have some background knowledge about the question.
  • I am quite sure that the question is not a stupid one.

In any case, I would probably figure out the answer after spending enough time doing research. That is, of course, always the case for everybody - if you just spend enough time, you'll probably find the answer.

So, the question is, what is enough research.

From the comments, people suggest to me that it is bad to do as little research as I do before asking. I don't see why that is. The question will be valuable anyway (otherwise I would not ask it). And if I already figured it out myself (i.e. after doing own research), I will more likely not ask it anymore. The whole point is that there is maybe someone who can easily answer the question.

In most cases, after I spend some time researching it myself and after I asked the question, I continue to research it and to find out myself. Often, a few hours later or a few days later, I find out and if nobody else was able to answer in the meantime, I add the answer, so that it is helpful for other people.


To give some references, these are some questions I asked lately (which have generated the whole discussion because I got hit by the 6 questions/day limit):

See also other questions I have asked in the past.

  • Do you think they are valuable for the community?
  • Under what reasoning would it have made sense to do more research before asking them?
share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by gnat, ben is uǝq backwards, Lance Roberts, animuson Oct 16 '13 at 21:39

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

4  
The StackExchange network already has ways to tell you if you're asking valuable questions and also has ways to react to poor questions. That is what the votes, comments, flags, etc are for. What does this question aim to achieve? Given your argumentative comments it seems that you are just trying to extend the reach of your already answered question. –  M.Babcock Mar 30 '12 at 23:35
    
@M.Babcock: The question is different. There could be many separate arguments pro/contra the 6 questions/day limit. Whereby my own reasoning would be both contra to that limit and also that it doesn't make sense to do any research at all. Also, your arguments are suggesting the same. (Of course maybe not in total extreme but that is anyway not what I'm doing.) My question here tries to achieve to point exactly that out. Or I would like to know why my reasoning is wrong there. So far, from the answers/comments, other people seem to disagree. But I still don't see where my reasoning is wrong. –  Albert Mar 30 '12 at 23:43
6  
Is any of that really constructive? I mean it seems you've already decided on the answer you want to hear, and it probably won't affect the way you ask questions in the future anyway. On SO you have >4K so obviously you're doing something right. That said, you aren't going to get the question limit increased regardless of whether you think its appropriate to do research or not. Take @TheEstablishment's advice and return another day... and in the meantime either do your own research or try one of the other online resources like (but not as good as) SO. –  M.Babcock Mar 31 '12 at 0:08
2  
I should probably note: I in no way condone asking 6 questions a day (that is just ridiculous), but if you're going to do it don't complain when it cuts you off. "The Establishment" is always right! (and no I don't mean you Cody). –  M.Babcock Mar 31 '12 at 0:25
5  
Wow. Those are all bad/borderline questions. I voted to close four of them, and down voted two, due to their quality. This validates the 6-question limit wholly, imo. –  Andrew Barber Mar 31 '12 at 0:59
1  
@AndrewBarber: In what way are they bad? What information do you miss? And why don't you even try to improve them or give at least some hint about how I could improve them? I think that are all actually good and valuable questions. –  Albert Mar 31 '12 at 1:02
8  
I am not here to serve you. My time is valuable. So no... I won't be spending it beating my head against a wall. –  Andrew Barber Mar 31 '12 at 1:09
2  
@Albert - Those questions have been answered in the answers below. You may not like the answers that have been given, and that is completely irrelevant. –  Jack Maney Mar 31 '12 at 1:10

2 Answers 2

The six questions per day limit may seem arbitrary to you, but it's there for a reason. Help vampires exist and they are annoying - arguably they are worse than real vampires (but less annoying than glittery sparkling vampires). You may believe that your questions are high quality but you can still qualify as a vampire due to the volume of questions you're asking.

What The Establishment was saying in his answer is that StackOverflow is there to help all users, it isn't a personal help desk for users of new technologies who don't read the documentation or experiment to find what is possible. Six questions per day is a huge amount - I've been on StackOverflow for nearly three years and I've asked 18 questions - that's 6 questions per year. If you continue to ask questions at that rate then the community is effectively writing your application for you, but you are the one who receives payment and/or credit for it.

share|improve this answer
4  
Quite right. A tutorial text book on C++ is a great thing, but that doesn't mean that StackOverflow is the place to ask for it. –  Kerrek SB Mar 30 '12 at 22:17
    
Read this post. This is mostly my point here. My thinking when asking a question is always "will it be valuable for others?". –  Albert Mar 30 '12 at 22:19
    
@KerrekSB: So you think that my questions are mostly basic C++ questions which are answered by some C++ tutorial? Have you even looked at them? –  Albert Mar 30 '12 at 22:20
3  
@Albert: Nope, I haven't looked at a single thing you wrote. I was just agreeing with this post here. –  Kerrek SB Mar 30 '12 at 22:20
    
Btw., if you read the answers of the Help vampires post, they mostly agree with what I am saying. –  Albert Mar 30 '12 at 22:25
2  
You've got my vote @slugster –  PeeHaa Mar 30 '12 at 23:02

My standpoint is, I'm asking the question as soon as:

  • I feel comfortable and safe in the subject at a whole.
  • I have some background knowledge about the question.
  • I am quite sure that the question is not a stupid one.
  • I am sure that the question will be valuable for others.
  • The question was not asked yet on SO.

How would you define a stupid question? I would also add to that list: "I tried to some extent to figure it out on my own and now I can ask a specific question rather than: It doesn't work. Help me.".

In any case, I would probably figure out the answer after I just spend enough time for research. That is of course always the case for everybody, if you just spend enough time.

Why don't you spend enough time to research then? This sounds like a typical help vampire (click link for definition and self help (research) doing something about it).

From the comments, people suggest me that it is bad to do as less research as I do before asking. I don't see why that is. The question will be valuable anyway (otherwise I would not ask it). And if I already figured it out myself (i.e. after doing own research), I will more likely not ask it anymore. The whole point is that there is maybe someone you can easily answer the question.

Again typical help vampire talking here. Why do you always need to get someone to easily answer your question. This just shows signs of lack of research yourself.

To give some references, these are some questions I asked lately (which have arisen the whole discussion because I got hit by the 6 questions/day limit):

6 questions a day? Really? If you ask six question a day it's another sign you didn't take the time to research yourself.

autogenerate MSVC import library (LIB-file) from a DLL

Doesn't show any effort in researching yourself.

crash when calling gd function

In this question you state:

I don't really just want to try out things

Can you say help vampire? What I am trying to say is: again total lack of trying to find out things yourself.

library package manager for Windows

Totally bad question. It's both overly broad and solicits polling.

how to get MSVC compiler messages in English

This is not only easily found on the interwebs. But also a dupe of a dupe here on SO. So again no research to be found.

MSVC fails with compiler errors without compiling any sources

I don't know enough on that topic so I won't judge.

MSVC and boost::lambda::bind error: T0: standard-argment not allowed

Again don't know enough on the topic.

Do you think they are valuable for the community?

Might be, but also might be not because it is pretty trivial to get that info already.

Under what reasoning would it have made sense to do more research before asking them?

See the above.

It seems like you want to get everything you need the easy (/ vampire) way. You will find out at some point (I hope) that you learn much more if you just make some effort resolving issues yourself.

Conclusion: Did you do enough research yourself? I say: No!

share|improve this answer
10  
+1. I was going to post a similar answer, since at least half of the questions I was able to google and find enough information to get me started, and this is not even technologies I know. –  Diago Mar 30 '12 at 23:03
    
I actually have always done at least some research before asking. The minimum is if there is already the same question asked here on SO. But mostly I do more than that. However, by my own reasoning (and also the reasoning by many people in the Help vampires post, that isn't really needed. –  Albert Mar 30 '12 at 23:06
    
"Why don't you spend enough time to research then?" - what for? Sometimes, that could mean minutes, sometimes days, sometimes years. But in any case, what for? That is the whole point here. And that is not saying that I'm not still doing research. Of course I am. I just don't see why I should do it in advance before asking here. –  Albert Mar 30 '12 at 23:07
    
"Why do you always need to get someone to easily answer" - I don't. You misunderstood me. I just said, if there is someone, it would be helpful. If not, once I figured it out myself, I would put the answer there. Where is the problem in any case? –  Albert Mar 30 '12 at 23:09
    
(my own) "I don't really just want to try out things" - you misunderstood me again on this. I was basically saying that I want to understand things (and that is the purpose of my question), not just randomly trying around until it works. –  Albert Mar 30 '12 at 23:10
5  
@Albert Point2: "Does he clearly lack the ability or inclination to ask the almighty Google?" You sure do. Point3: "Does he refuse to take the time to ask coherent, specific questions?" Sometimes yup. Point3: "Does he think helping him must be the high point of your day?" Not sure do you. By looking at your comment I tend to say yup. Point4: "Does he get offensive,as if you need to prove to him why he should use Ruby on Rails?" Not really offensive, rather defensive . Point5+6: "Is he obviously just waiting for some poor,well-intentioned person to do all his thinking for him?"It looks that way –  PeeHaa Mar 30 '12 at 23:10
2  
@Albert That's my whole point. In order to really understand something you should try things out rather then asking a question immediately. –  PeeHaa Mar 30 '12 at 23:12
5  
@Albert "I absolutely don't see why you think that my library package manager for Windows question is a bad one. Can you elaborate?" As already stated in my answer above: "It's both overly broad and solicits polling." Which as stated in the faq has no place on SO. You did your research right? –  PeeHaa Mar 30 '12 at 23:14
2  
@Albert "Under what reasoning would it have made sense to do more research before asking them?" How about: we are not here to do your work for you you help vampire. –  PeeHaa Mar 30 '12 at 23:19
7  
@Albert: answer a lot of questions, ask a few of them. –  user7116 Mar 30 '12 at 23:44
2  
+1. +100,000 if I could. –  Jack Maney Mar 31 '12 at 0:06
1  
"'Why don't you spend enough time to research then?' - what for?" So that you can learn something on your own rather than trying yet again to be spoon-fed. –  Jack Maney Mar 31 '12 at 0:08
5  
Because SO shouldn't be overridden by help vampires. Why is it that you don't want to learn things for yourself instead of trying again and again to get answers spoon-fed to you? –  Jack Maney Mar 31 '12 at 1:00
2  
It's not just me who wants it that way. In case it hasn't been made clear enough to you, let me spell it out: you are not the sole arbiter of what is considered good for SO. –  Jack Maney Mar 31 '12 at 1:23
3  
Albert, I understand your point, but, for example, "I don't really just want to try out things" can be thought of both ways: that you are arrogant, and that you want to actually understand how to do something. Most people would go with the first. Aside from that, I agree with everyone else. –  Nox Mar 31 '12 at 1:43

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .