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First, I'm going to start with a quick confessional: when reading this question JQuery - Hide/Show with logic, over on Stack Overflow, I got a bit cross. And left a comment:

Please, please, could this be the last time someone describes their HTML at us? Really, it's so much easier to just show it to us...and, maybe, provide a live demo, at JS Fiddle, JS Bin, or similar...are all the elements in the same containing element? Or is there a pair, comprised of a portlet-topper and a portlet-content in each wrapper? Or some other structure?

(I've not implemented the original links to JS Fiddle or JS Bin here, but they were there, for use.)

My question is based upon a certain... irritation built from experience in helping people with client-side/front-end web-development based questions (which I otherwise truly enjoy doing), in which, for some reason, some users (by no means exclusively new users, and I don't intend to accuse anyone of laziness, just, at worst, maybe a lack of awareness) seem to feel it appropriate to describe their HTML structure to those that want to help.

This is frustrating, because:

  1. It's almost always more concise to show the HTML, or a relevant (SSCCE) excerpt,
  2. It's much easier to understand the HTML code, rather than trying to infer it from someone's description,
  3. It often (if not always) leads to various questions about how various elements within that HTML relate to each other,
  4. It leads to guesses posted as answers (which is basically speculation, and suggests that the question itself should/could be considered 'not a real question' and eligible for closing, which I'd rather not do, I'd rather help).

I realise that it's a long shot, but for certain types of question, such as those tagged as , (and its various library tags) and would it be possible to prompt the person submitting the question to post their (relevant, and I can't emphasise SSCCE enough) code? I know it's a flawed approach, since it depends, at the very least, on someone objectively assessing their own question to decide if they've posted enough or potentially based on the code-block language hints.

But, for the sake of my sanity, I just had to ask. And, perhaps, apologise for my momentary irritation.

share|improve this question
Dupe of Can we improve the guidance given to questioners? perhaps? – Martijn Pieters Jul 9 '12 at 16:38
The problem of people posting relevant, concise code illustrating their problem is not confined to HTML/Javascript/CSS questions. – Robert Harvey Jul 9 '12 at 16:40
Reading that question, I'm not seeing the duplication; that question is targeted at 'new users,' this one is not. Or not specifically; also this question is asking about guidance being offered to users posting a specific criteria of question without, what I consider to be, requisite supporting code. @RobertHarvey: no, it's not; but since my tag-focus, if you like, is specifically front-end web-dev that's where I encounter it most. – David Thomas Jul 9 '12 at 16:40
@DavidThomas: usually, established users know when you could get away with not including requisite code. The vast majority of your irritation is caused by new users, I'd wager. Anywho, new users, certain tags, different criteria with the same proposed solution. – Martijn Pieters Jul 9 '12 at 16:42
Not quite a dupe, but see Something on my web site doesn't work. Can I just paste a link to it? – Pops Jul 9 '12 at 16:44
Just downvote and vote to close as Not A Real Question if they won't show you what is wrong. Move on to a question worth answering. – user7116 Jul 9 '12 at 16:44
What @sixlettervariables says is sad but true. – jurgemaister Jul 9 '12 at 17:35

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