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I am confused on why my question was put on hold. It is closed with the reason that “questions ... must demonstrate a minimal understanding” which I feel I did. I was able to communicate with those who answered my question and I was able to retrieve the answer to my problem.

Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Don't tell us that you've done a bunch of research; demonstrate the research. Include thinks like:

I tried the solution found here, but it doesn't work in situation X.

I tried the solution found here, but it's for a different version that's not compatible with what I'm using.

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I can understand that. However, everything I had found up to that point seemed OS specific. And even when I had read about the solution I ended up using, I had read that it would only work on Windows (obviously that source was wrong). I had not yet found a solution that would work on more than one operating system and was lost on where to start. Is it not considered appropriate to post if you have not yet gotten to that point, then? –  Cameron Jones Aug 9 '13 at 20:33
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@CameronJones I thought the answer was rather clear. You should post the results of your research, explaining why what you had found didn't solve your problem. You didn't do that, you just said that you did a bunch of research. By explaining what research you actually did it serves several purposes, 1) it proves you actually did it, rather than claiming to have done research while not having done any 2) it prevents others from needing to duplicate your work 3) it often gives insight into why you're having problems (i.e. you're searching through a similar but different problem altogether). –  Servy Aug 9 '13 at 20:37
    
Possibly I am not expressing myself correctly. However, when I had looked into the problem I had not yet tried any coding. This is because everything I looked into was OS specific. I was unable to find any OS independent solutions. At this point I was lost. Would it be better to list the solutions I had found that were OS specific, even though they were of no use to my problem? I am sorry if I am coming off as rude, I do not mean it, I am just confused and do not want to make the same error again. Thanks –  Cameron Jones Aug 9 '13 at 20:44
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@CameronJones Yes, as I have told you several times, if you came across several solutions that seemed like they might work at first glance, but that in actuality don't for some reason, then that is research that you have done. Don't just say that you did it, tell us what it was. Give a list of links to different suggestions that you tried, or found as suggestions on the web, or whereever, and explain why they didn't work. I'm not saying that you didn't do any research, I'm saying that you need to show us what your results were, even when it's unsuccessful. –  Servy Aug 9 '13 at 20:47
    
Okay. Thank you. I guess what I considered useful information was just a little too limited. I understand your reasoning behind it and will make sure I include more details in the future. Thank you –  Cameron Jones Aug 9 '13 at 20:51
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@CameronJones never mind the future, go edit that into your question now. That could lead to it being reopened. –  Kate Gregory Aug 9 '13 at 20:56
    
@KateGregory Good idea, I will do that right now –  Cameron Jones Aug 11 '13 at 21:50

I don't think the problem here is a lack of background research. I mean, yes, that's always a good thing to add to a question; the more effort you can demonstrate that you've put into solving a problem yourself, the more willing people will be to help you.

But the real reason we want you to include information about attempted solutions is that it essentially forces you to provide more specific details about the actual problem that you're having. The lack of those details is the real problem with your question, as it stands now.

If you had provided a comprehensive description of the problem, along with detailed information about your code and system configuration, and ideally a small, self-contained example, I couldn't give a hoot about how much research you had done yourself. I would not close the question for that reason, and I would vote to re-open it if someone else had done so.

Why? Because with all of that information, your question becomes answerable. And that's our basic requirement for all questions asked here.

As it stands now, all we can do is guess about what your problem is. My crystal ball shattered a few months back, so I'm not much help anymore. I know a guy with one, but his has gotten foggy recently, and that doesn't work very well with the Q&A model of a site like Stack Overflow. It turns into a game of 20 100 questions in the comments thread, which isn't much help to anyone. Even if you eventually get a solution, the information churned up in the comments generally isn't edited back into the question proper and no official answer gets posed, which means it isn't useful to anyone else in the future. Since our mission here is to build up a comprehensive database of high-quality answers to programming questions, debugging your code is not a good way to spend our time.

The answers you've received to that question are all perfectly reasonable answers, but there's no way to tell which one is correct. There isn't enough information provided in the question to be able to judge. All of the answerers were just guessing at what might be the best solution for you. They were trying their best, of course—nothing against them. It's just that this kind of thing is more suited for a traditional forum or dialogue, where you can have back-and-forth exchanges. That's not our model.

Remember that most of us are sitting too far away to see your screen. You have to give us enough information to be able to help you. Whatever you can think of—detailed descriptions, information about your environment, repro steps, actual source code, stack traces, screen shots, etc. You've got to make it clear what the problem you're trying to solve is, and why you need to solve that problem.

If you edit your question to add that in, I'll vote to re-open it. Heck, I'll even throw you an upvote or two.

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Thanks Cody, this is def. more understandable to me. Although I was unable to provide all the suggested details you added, I went through and explained my process more. If this is still considered a "weak" question please let me know as I would like to ensure that I will become a stronger member of the Stack Overflow community. –  Cameron Jones Aug 11 '13 at 21:52
    
@Cameron I think that's reasonable. I've cast an upvote and a vote to re-open. That'll put it in the review queue so that other people can evaluate it to be re-opened. No guarantees that they'll agree with me, of course. If not, I wouldn't worry too much about it. This is kind of a "soft" question for Stack Overflow. I think it is on topic, but it doesn't involve any actual code, so opinions will vary. Appearances will go a long way to keeping people from voting to close on impulse or first impression. –  Cody Gray Aug 12 '13 at 8:56

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