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This is somewhat similar to the homework question, but I'm not asking about people who have homework to do but problems to solve (which may or may not be homework).

If you decide that the way to find out how to solve a problem is to ask a question on Stack Overflow, are you expecting someone to "pls show u teh codes" or to help you enough that you can learn about the problem and try to solve it?

My own response to Stack Overflow questions (being a mentor of other developers and, in a past job, a teacher of undergraduates) is to give hints, like "you can do this with X API" or "this document shows you how to do it", because that's what I'd like to see; I would want someone to give me enough of a push that I could still believe I've solved my own problem.

But I've seen a number of questions with answers like this which then have comments like "but what code do I write to answer this question?", including occasional threats/carrots-on-sticks involving the award of reputation points.

So, which type of answer are you looking for? Which type of programmer would you want to work with?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Aug 25 '09 at 17:56

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

locked by Lasse V. Karlsen Aug 17 '11 at 13:36

31 Answers 31

My answer comes from the POV of an answerer, not an asker. It's not strictly what you asked about, but oh well.


To be perfectly blunt, I'm not terribly fussed about helping. Don't get me wrong, I do it: a lot. But I spend time on IRC to help/teach people with individual problems.

On SO I foremost enjoy challenging myself to write high-quality answers and I enjoy the confidence boost that this provides when my answers are well-received.

In equal measure, I find that the research I perform for my answers is ultimately self-teaching, and that I can go into my profile and use my previous research as reference material for my own projects is very convenient.

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