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Maybe it's just me, but is it getting harder to ask questions? My intermediate skills make me feel irresponsible for not figuring the answer out myself.

It's a similar to a previous question, but I'd like to know. Does anyone else find it harder to participate in the question pool? Advice is welcome.

Question not posted, receives warning
Best practice for arrays, AS3
The question you're asking appears subjective and is likely to be closed.

Asked Feb 1st, good response
Syntax Guide for ActionScript 3.0

the question asking geanie

based on Gnome's revision

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8  
It's just you. –  Aarobot Apr 8 '10 at 20:54
1  
It seems like before the rep-recalc people were more apt to upvote questions.. now its like "upvote, wtf is that? I gave up on reputation since the recalc. I'm just here for the cookies now" –  Earlz Apr 8 '10 at 20:59
    
@Aaronaught, I've not be committed yet. –  Please Delete Me Apr 8 '10 at 21:01
    
@earlz: I've not seen that, but assuming it's true, people will get over it soon enough. –  Gnome Apr 8 '10 at 21:17
2  
@videodnd - Don't worry. If you hang around on meta long enough, you'll most certainly be committed... –  Adam Davis Apr 8 '10 at 21:23
    
@Gnome you haven't seen the cookies? Oh well there all gone now. tough luck. –  Earlz Apr 8 '10 at 21:23
    
@earlz - I've actually upvoted more questions since the scoring was changed. shrug –  Aarobot Apr 8 '10 at 21:37
    
@Gnome, the Stackoverflow genie rocks now. "I dare you." Who needs downvotes when there's a genie so menacing. He'll turn you in to an Oscar Meyer Weiner if you ask the wrong question, or grant you the answers you seek. Shake in fear you noobs, ha ha ha... –  Please Delete Me Apr 9 '10 at 2:03

6 Answers 6

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Maybe it's just me, but is it getting harder to ask questions?

No, the process is unchanged from initial design:

  1. Click Ask Question
  2. Fill in relevant fields
  3. Click Submit Question

My intermediate skills make me feel irresponsible for not figuring the answer out myself.

Don't worry about it. Do a few google searches, scratch your head, search on SO. If you can't find the answer in 5 minutes of easy searching, post the question. Worst case is that it's closed as a dupe and you get your answer. Best case is that you get your answer in 5 minutes - which beats continuing to search.

Anyone else find it harder to participate in the question pool?

I kicked myself off SO this time last year. I was spending too much time on it then. But at that point, it wasn't any harder to answer questions than it was in the very beginning. Note that many, many people are able to hit the rep cap on a daily basis, and lots of consistent answerers have straight line rep graphs, but haven't increased or decreased their participation - I conclude that things aren't getting any harder or easier.

Advice is welcome.

Visit the homepage every few hours for about 15 minutes (F5, read, F5, read) answer those questions you can answer. Learn from those questions in your areas of interest. Lather, rinse repeat. You can use RSS to focus on areas you know you can answer, but I find that the homepage is a bit faster (lower latency) and I'm exposed to many more interesting questions that I wouldn't see if I limited myself to what I thought I knew.

Yes, SO can be a game, but those who derive the most benefit from it are using it as a tool to hone their skills. If you ignore reputation, and just use it to learn, grow, and help others, you will find your reputation follows suit.

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Asking good questions has always been hard.

If you are looking to increase your rep, answer questions.

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Questions on "best practices" are inherently subjective. See No Best Practices. You will never catch me using that phrase on Stack Overflow or any other site, I will only refer to good practices or common practices or solutions I would recommend or standard solutions to some problem.

Once it becomes apparent that there are more than a few ways of successfully accomplishing the same task, then the question of which way is "best" becomes difficult if not impossible to answer objectively.

Obviously, questions about best practices are common on Stack Overflow, and most of them don't get closed. But there's a reason for that. It's because these questions are asking about practices for very specific tasks, for which there are only a small handful of well-known solutions.

For example, one recent question was Storing data in HttpContext.Current.Items vs ViewData. The question itself is subjective, but it is asking for information, not opinions. Essentially it's asking, What are the pros and cons of these two approaches, A and B, for performing task X? And that's basically fine as long as "X" is clear and well-defined (on the other hand, if X = "Programming" and A and B are programming languages, the question will be closed immediately).

Seriously think about what the phrase "best practice for arrays" says:

  • Does it refer to a specific process?
  • Is the end result well-defined?
  • Is it comparing a limited pool of options?
  • Are all of the options well-defined?
  • Can there be a single correct answer that is specific enough to be useful?
  • Can there be incorrect answers?

If I compare this list to your proposed question, "best practices for arrays, AS3", the result is: none of the above.

I don't watch questions on Flash/ActionScript, but if I saw such a question asked for C#, Delphi, etc., I would immediately be in with a "not a real question" close vote.

From my perspective, it's not getting harder to ask good questions at all. It's getting harder to ask bad questions (and get away with it).

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@Aaronaught, upvotes man. You're honest about it. –  Please Delete Me Apr 9 '10 at 2:08

It's not harder for me

Unfortunately the bounds of my ignorance seems to grow much faster than the bounds of my knowledge!

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@Mark Harrison, Like your posts, that's the kind of thing I need. –  Please Delete Me Apr 9 '10 at 3:42

The internet has been around a lot longer than SO and there's still good questions being asked every day so... no. A good question is one that somebody needs the answer to.

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I've tried to help with this question asked by you over at SO: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2610751/animate-and-form-rows-arrays-as3

As you're still having trouble asking questions in an understandable way, I'll try to give you some pointers here for making your questions comprehensible.

Firstly, the titles of your questions are vague at best, and at worst they often don't mean anything at all. Take the example of the question I just linked to:

Animate and form rows, arrays, AS3

This is totally devoid of context, and largely of meaning too. Animate rows? Rows of what? Animate them how? Form rows; rows of what? Form them how? Animate arrays?! It doesn't make sense, and gives the reader no idea what you're trying to achieve. Next:

Question How can I animate and form rows together?

I am at a total loss here. It's hard to explain what's wrong with this sentence, because to most people who read it, it will be fairly obvious in an implicit sort of way (I don't mean that to sound harsh). Clearly you've written it and so you feel it makes sense, so I guess you need to try and understand why it doesn't, which is why I was saying it's hard to explain what it is about it that doesn't make sense.

For one though, it's extremely broad. The question doesn't detail a specific context in which you're trying to animate something. It doesn't specify a specific problem you've had, and what's gone wrong. It doesn't specify what you're trying to do, at all. That combined with the word 'rows', which could mean just about anything, and it's very difficult to see what you're getting at.

Your next paragraph is more descriptive, but still hard to grasp:

Explanation One 'for loop' is for animation, the other 'for loop' is for making rows. I want to understand how to use arrays and create a row of sprite animations.

Firstly, putting for loop in quotes like that is unnecessarily confusing, to me at least. It implies you're using a term people won't be familiar with or something - when clearly on a programming site everyone knows what a for loop is. I find it jarring to read, but maybe that's just me.

Next, saying a 'for loop is for animation' isn't very clear. A for loop goes through some object, like an Array, and usually inside the loop actions are performed on each object inside that Array. Instead of saying 'it's for animation', tell us what it loops through, and what it does with the stuff it's looping through.

The next part, where you ask about understanding the use of Arrays to create a row of Sprites, well, you've asked and had answers to similar questions multiple times, I think I've even answered a few myself. But ignoring that, the question might be better phrased something like: I'd like to understand how to loop through an Array, so I can create a Sprite for each index of the Array. Once you know what it is you want to ask, or are stuck on, you need to explain that clearly.

Another big problem with your posts, and this isn't necessarily your fault if you're new to programming, is that your code is very messy. This makes it a real pain for people to figure out what you're doing in the first place. In general, try to keep things lined up, and don't have functions tabbed really far to the right, leaving bags of empty space to their left. Take a look at other people's code and see how they keep it organised, you should be able to improve your code organisation very quickly.

Lastly, explain what you're trying to do, and explain it clearly. I see that since I've been writing this you've updated the post in question with your intentions, but it still isn't clear. I'm not sure what you mean by a flipping counter, or an LED counter (besides an LED screen which displays numbers that change, like a digital clock - but that's very basic so I can't imagine that's what you're talking about). If what you're trying to explain is tough in words, draw some diagrams that display what'd happen each time a number changes, or find a suitable example online.

So, in answer to the question you've actually posted here on Meta, no, it isn't getting harder to ask good questions. It's as hard or easy as it's ever been, and simply requires the ability to express things clearly in a written language. I hope what I'm saying here is helpful; it's by no means the definition of how to ask questions, but it might help.

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@debu, you've pointed out what I can improve on. The difference in the way people learn amazes me. Look for an other post a meta. I like where are discussion was going. –  Please Delete Me Apr 9 '10 at 23:09

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