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Prohibiting the word “newbee”

I'm becoming increasing frustrated with the number of posts I see that open with "I'm a noob" usually followed with "give me solution" or "give me a link to a tutorial" with no research done by the poster.

Just like this comment I saw today: "sorry I am noob, can you be more specific or send me a example plz? no idea about what FMDB means".

Is there any way to disallow the word noob in a question or comment? This word is used as an excuse for lack of effort, and pretty much a guaranteed pointer to a low quality question.

Just to be clear, I've go no problems with new users, but I expect them to put in the same effort as everyone else, and not hide behind this awful label.

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marked as duplicate by Lix, raven, Michael Petrotta, Shog9 Jul 4 '12 at 15:48

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.

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"...guaranteed pointer to a low quality question" - I think that is an over generalization... –  Lix Jul 4 '12 at 13:23
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I think you're looking at this from the wrong angle and asking the wrong question...the real questions is "How do we prevent those crappy questions?" and "How do we teach users to help themselves?"...unfortunately, I fear the answer to both questions. –  Time Traveling Bobby Jul 4 '12 at 13:43
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@UristMcBobby if all else fails use fire –  Ben Brocka Jul 4 '12 at 15:02

2 Answers 2

As with all noise in posts - edit it out!.

However, as with all other minor edits, don't just ignore the rest of the post. A new user most likely will need some nudges in order to get them on the right track and in sync with the rest of the community. Be sure to fix anything else that is "wrong" with the post.

  • spelling
  • title
  • tags
  • signatures
  • etc...

Note that sometimes, the OP stating that s/he has little to no experience in a certain field is helpful to the user attempting to provide a solution. A new, less experienced user would appreciate some additional explanations perhaps or links to documentation...


A little bird once told me -

"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 at 18:25

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and looking again at that post made me realize that this is actually a dupe :P –  Lix Jul 4 '12 at 13:37

I have a different take than the OP:

I think using this often represents someone trying to show respect for those who he (or she) is acknowledging are more qualified than he (or she) in some way.

It may have an above average association with a lack of research, but calling it an excuse makes it sound half deliberate:

"I don't have to do the research; I'll just tell them I'm a noob! Suckers!"

If I were posting this, what I'd mean is, "please forgive me if this is a stupid question, but I'm trying to learn, albeit slowly at times".

As to the example provided, sure, one can find the definition of FMDB with a Google search, and one probably should, but let's not lose sight of the fact that it's actually providing useful feedback: some (perhaps tiny) segment of the readership doesn't know the acronym, so the answer could be improved, at least for this asker, with a link.

I get that it's noise, but I think implying that it's being used a shield to be lazy is unfair - it's almost certainly not deliberate, and it gives us a chance to work on making our answers be of even more use to novice users.

EDIT: After reading the helpful comments, I'd add that if it's the term "noob" - rather than a lazy quality we think it implies - that is a problem, making us look amateurish, etc., I'd support advocating edits to replace "I'm a n00b" with "I'm new to this" or something of the sort.

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Saying that you are in the process of learning is a perfectly valid thing to say (might be better as a comment than in the post body). However l33t sp33ch has no place on Stack Overflow and should be removed. –  Lix Jul 4 '12 at 14:12
    
@Lix, I don't disagree that we don't want lmaos all over the place, but I think the line is soft: Is OP ok, but noob isn't? (I think that actually may be right.) In any case, I'd agree that your language is preferable, and would support that type of edit, but don't think that undermines my core point. –  Jaydles Jul 4 '12 at 14:22
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@Jaydles I think you made my point for me. Someone who writes "please forgive me if this is a stupid question, but I'm trying to learn, albeit slowly at times" is much more likely to have done some prior research then someone who writes "I am noob" –  Ashley Mills Jul 4 '12 at 14:22

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