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Can we prohibit the word "newbee" or "newbie" in the main site in the title and in the text? It appears too often, provides no information and is just annoying.
In the meta site, however, it may occasionally be necessary to use this word.

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And then we can start a list of all the synonyms to also block: newb, n00b, newbie, noob, etc –  Adam Rackis Apr 9 '12 at 17:29
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Same way we can prohibit "help". Or "hello". And of course "thanks". All have 0 value and are highly annoying. –  Shadow Wizard Apr 9 '12 at 17:30
    
Why is this getting downvoted? –  sawa Apr 9 '12 at 17:34
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I find that someone who adds these words to their post actually adds value to it, in terms of how answers can and should be structured in order to help the OP most. –  Oded Apr 9 '12 at 17:34
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Downvotes are different on meta –  Lix Apr 9 '12 at 17:35
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@theestablishment the OP was talking about describing themselves are noobs, not other people calling someone a noob. N-word privileges apply in this case. –  Andrew Grimm Apr 10 '12 at 22:41
    
@Andrew: I...see... So why should we care if you insult yourself? –  Cody Gray Apr 11 '12 at 1:06
    
@TheEstablishment Insulting has nothing to do with my question. That is not the point. –  sawa Apr 11 '12 at 1:09
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Your concern is that it's annoying? Boy, if only we could ban everyone/everything that I find annoying... –  Cody Gray Apr 11 '12 at 1:10
    
@TheEstablishment From the point of view of reading a question and trying to answer it, sentences like "I am a complete newbee on ...", or "I have to do this for my client, and I have been struggling on it for these days, I can't come up with a solution." are complete garbage to me. –  sawa Apr 11 '12 at 1:21
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@sawa Feel free to edit them out. :) –  Anna Lear Apr 11 '12 at 2:26
    
No More Happiness. –  Robert Harvey Apr 13 '12 at 19:49
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4 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Another way to look at it would be that it's a great filter in case one is annoyed by 'newbie' questions :-)

Instead of prohibiting the word it might be worth thinking about displaying a message that asks the user if this word actually ads any value to the question. The word filter could be fueled with other words then.

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So basically your request makes sense - that word really does not add any important information to the OP. Getting an answer should not matter whether you are new to programming or a seasoned veteran.

I want to also echo what @oded said in the comments to your post - sometimes the inclusion of the "newbie" word somewhere in the post will help you formulate an answer that would be appropriate - ie not too complicated for the beginner programmer.

If that word would be banned, then, as was stated in the comments, we would have to ban all possible synonyms -

  • n00b
  • noobie
  • noobster
  • newb
  • etc...

The effort would simply not be worth it because at the end of the day the OP could simply write

I am new to programming...

and have the same effect.

You mentioned in your post :

...is just annoying.

This is the nature of the internet - you will be annoyed sometimes at the way people present themselves.

At the end of the day a user stating that he is new to the field (in any way shape or form) should not affect your judgment on whether or not to help them.


I agree with you that on meta things are slightly different with regard to blacklisted words in titles and or the content of the post. There are already some differences in the quality filter between the main and meta sites.

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I agree that the OP can write I am new to ..., and it is difficult to exclude that. But simply detecting the word and the variants that you listed should not be so difficult, given that there is already a blacklist, and even if alternative expressions may survive, the annoyance can be reduced. It is not all or nothing. It can be improved, if not perfectly. –  sawa Apr 9 '12 at 17:45
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I think you should try not to let these things get to you too much. You don't have control over the way people present themselves here or anywhere online. If it REALLY bothers you that much you can edit it out - but that is your personal preference. –  Lix Apr 9 '12 at 17:47
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"Getting an answer should not matter whether you are new to programming or a seasoned veteran" - the most appropriate answer can vary immensely, however. I try to tailor my answer to the experience level of the OP - while leaving it useful to all if possible, of course. –  Jon Skeet Apr 9 '12 at 18:25
    
@jon - very true. An over simplistic answer to an experienced programmer might be interpreted as condescending while an over exhaustive answer to a less experienced user might leave the OP with more questions than he started with! –  Lix Apr 9 '12 at 18:37
    
@JonSkeet and Lix, I think the level of the questioner should be judged by the question itself. If it is asking a basic thing, we know that the questioner is a beginner. It the question is advanced, we should expect the questioner is advanced. We can adjust the level according to such estimates. –  sawa Apr 10 '12 at 0:04
    
@sawa: Sometimes the same question can be interpreted in different ways. A question about why a particular overload is picked, for example, could easily be answered at a very deep and detailed level, or a much simpler level. –  Jon Skeet Apr 10 '12 at 5:29
    
Somebody who has taken the time to write "I am new to programming." has probably spent more time thinking about the question they're asking than someone who starts with "I am noob" –  Ashley Mills Jul 4 '12 at 14:05
    
@ash - It might be a cultural thing too. And by culture I mean internet culture. –  Lix Jul 4 '12 at 14:07
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If there is something else worth editing in questions that include these sorts of words, I'll frequently edit them out, especially if I think the experience level of the poster remains visible in the edited question.

If it's the only thing "wrong" in the question, then it's not worth the edit, and not that annoying as annoyances go, so I just move on. If you think it is worth the edit, go for it, but try to leave the experience level of the questioner obvious. (Heck, if someone added, "I'm an expert!", I'm not sure that really makes sense to leave in either.)

I do not want to see more words added to our "banned" list. I'm sad that we have a banned list -- even though the end result has largely been improved questions. (My unsubstantiated theory is the poor questioners wind up getting frustrated and leave.)

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As you suggest, I actually do edit these questions. I agree with that part. –  sawa Apr 10 '12 at 0:02
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Do you enjoy answering the kinds of questions that such people ask? If you don't enjoy such questions (I tend not to), then getting rid of the word won't really help - it'd be better if you could configure Stack Overflow to ignore such questions, along the lines of the "ignored tags" feature. (I think the alternative, adding it to the low quality post algorithm, would be too severe)

Also, why do you find the word annoying? Is it because it's bad English? Is it because it's a sign of a help vampire? Or something else?

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One reason it is annoying is because it is a personal thing about the questioner. It is not part of the question. It makes me feel like I am reading someone's diary, which I am not interested in. I don't care if someone has been struggling over some question for the past few days or couldn't come up with a solution for such such problem for the whole afternoon (These kinds of things often come together with questions that include such words). That is irrelevant to the question. –  sawa Apr 10 '12 at 0:01
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And the level of the questioner should be judged from the question itself. If it is asking a certain thing, then we should assume the questioner is at such level, and answer accordingly. –  sawa Apr 10 '12 at 0:06
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Though often a times a reason why people downvote is shows no research effort -- I feel that people putting those caveats into their questions is an attempt to avoid downvotes. (Never mind that an explanation of what was attempted is far more useful to everyone..) –  sarnold Apr 10 '12 at 0:06
    
@sarnold I see, an interesting point. That may be the case. –  sawa Apr 10 '12 at 0:11
    
@sawa In response to "we should assume the questioner is at [a certain] level" - I'm all for duck typing, but sometimes a newbie asks about an advanced tool, best used rarely, merely because they don't know that a simpler tool ought to have been used. I guess the best way to avoid this if for the OP to mention what their problem is. –  Andrew Grimm Apr 10 '12 at 0:17
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