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When I first used SO for asking a programming question, I remember getting answers that would solve my problem, but that I would not totally understand because the answer was out of the scope of what I had to that point learned (as I'm still a student of programming).

Also, when answering questions, it's hard sometimes to get an idea of what the OP (if student) has already learned. I think it is a little easier for a student to gauge the level of knowledge of another student because the topic path is still sort of fresh in their minds. For example, if I see a question with repetitive code, that could easily be implemented with a loop, I'd assume the OP has not learned about loops yet.

So my suggestion is maybe to come up with some sort of system to gauge the OP's knowledge or possible make it a standard for the OP to elaborate on their knowledge and what they've learned so far.

It seems like a stretch, but I think it would make the student's learning process more efficient. But who am I to say anything, I'm still a newb :)

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(and just for the record, I assume the downvotes are people saying they don't think such a thing should be implemented, not that the question itself is bad.) –  Dennis Meng Oct 13 '13 at 5:32
    
There's no way to "gauge someone's knowledge" accurately, especially if they are new to the site. What would we base that judgement on? Mind reading? Should we require they provide a resume/transcript first before they're allowed to post? An analysis of words or phrasing used in the question? What would your criteria be for judging their "knowledge level"? –  Ken White Oct 13 '13 at 6:06
    
@Ken White I'm not really sure if there's a precise way, but what I had in mind when asking this question was the comprehensive format of the textbook I'm using. For example, a snippet of chapter ordering from the book ...ch3 Selection, ch4 Loops, ch5 Methods, ch6 Arrays... I guess this would be an impossible task when you thin about it, because not all curriculum is taught in the same comprehensive way. It was just an idea, but I get the point about not being able to gauge the level. –  peeskillet Oct 13 '13 at 6:22
    
I don't think we could ever add a feature here that says "If the content of the question contains a subject written in a textbook for a curricula, the poster has this level of knowledge...", although it's often easy to see when students are in the same university (because they all ask roughly the same question at about the same time). :-) –  Ken White Oct 13 '13 at 6:36

1 Answer 1

SO is not solely about helping a student learn, though (and I can relate because I'm still an undergrad). That's better left with tutorials and/or the instructor's help. SO is about answering concrete questions revolving around code. Also keep in mind that the OP is not the only one who benefits from answers. Every post is for the benefit of those who come across them. Oftentimes, what one understands from the post has no bearing on how well the OP understands it.

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