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Because the perl section is looking like that right now. I believe that Stack Overflow is going out of it's charter in becoming a newbie FAQ when as far as the original reasoning it was meant to be something along the lines of an expert site.

This is a good example of what I mean in Perl. It probably could be closed because it's a duplicate, or some other reason.

I would also like to indicate that I don't hold back answering newbie questions. It's just when I think of an obscure "stack overflow" error that's beating you some 3 am close to deadline, that's not "Howcum Perl print ..." and follows with something that causes a vast majority of Perl programmers to say oops, because they know exactly what's going on.

So the proposal is

  1. A new site. "Move to Newbieville"
  2. A new "section"
  3. A new status somewhat similar to Closed ("Newbied") but still can be updated all the same as an open question.

I'm not against giving some newbies an assist, but I feel a FAQ for rank newbieism is not something that SO started out to be, based on the original concept of a Expert Site.

Including comment to Gnoupi:

I said nothing about making newbies unwelcome. Like I said. I answer them--heck, I think I've even answer homework questions. I've answered on the vague impressions that I can clean from posts that have 4 close votes. It can even lead to avoiding downvoting or yelling at newbies by more established curmudgeons if there is a special action you can do to gently inform newbies that this is a real newbie question.

However, you have to know that to some people newbies are already unwelcome. There is a site ethic, but the individual is also going to decide how much they welcome newbies. And people do post RTFM answers already.

Anyway, I'm one vote away from a peer pressure badge it seems. (Nope, nailed it.)


EDIT

For somebody jumping to the conclusion that I'm hostile to newbies: Exhibit A just earlier

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Leave it. That should let Evan do some power leveling. Maybe then he'll quit griping. –  squillman May 18 '10 at 22:23
    
Egg-zip-it A (Dr Evil) –  Mitch Dempsey May 18 '10 at 22:41
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We are not jumping to conclusion that you are hostile to newbies. We simply disagree about the fact of creating a "newbie place". That's all. Making a special place for what you think is noise is not a good idea, in my opinion. I like to feel no pressure on what question I can ask. Because believe it or not, but putting a "newbie" sticker is probably not as fun on the receiver side. –  Gnoupi May 19 '10 at 6:56
    
@Gnoupi: Well, I can vote to close a question, because I think it's a duplicate or even "not clear". As I mention somewhere on this page, I've even answered questions with 4 votes to close as "Not a question" and gotten it right. Sounds to me that the current system is susceptible to what a person thinks--or at least 5. And that's why I was suggesting that 5 people of significant rep could vote another status onto a post. Have you ever seen a duplicate closing when you can tell it's not a duplicate answer? That's not subjective? I can think it's funner than having your question closed. –  Axeman May 19 '10 at 17:33

3 Answers 3

No.

One of the great values of these sites is this simple fact that "no question is too 'newbie'".
Expertifying the main site would be silly. Any question is and should be welcome.

Everyone is someone else's newbie.


Also, even if we ignore this fact, how would something like this work without being condescending? 5 people vote a question a "noob", and away it goes? Who are these people to say that? There is no "fact" allowing you to judge what is a newbie question, in all honesty. It's only a personal judgment.

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@Gnoupi: I said nothing about making them unwelcome. Like I said. I answer them--heck, I think I've even answer homework questions. I've answered on the vague impressions that I can clean from posts that have 4 close votes. It can even lead to avoiding downvoting or yelling at newbies by more established curmudgeons if there is a special action you can do to gently inform newbies that this is a real newbie question. –  Axeman May 18 '10 at 22:16
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One of the great values of these sites is this simple fact that "no question is too 'newbie'". +1. –  Josh K May 18 '10 at 22:33
    
Well, there's some cognitive dissonance in the name, then. Code needs to compile in order to get to a stack overflow. It has to run to get to the place where it's being "too successful". It makes the technical issue of a stack overflow a less fit name for this site. –  Axeman May 18 '10 at 22:39
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@Axeman Stack Overflow has little to do with actual stack overflows; instead SO encompasses all programming questions. It's just the name of a website, similar to how Google has little to do with an actual googol, which is what it was named after. –  waiwai933 May 18 '10 at 22:45
    
@waiwai933: I'm not somebody who just tripped onto this site, I read a post by Joel in which he motivated SO by giving the example of an obscure overflow error in some library code and wouldn't it be nice for professionals to have something similar to an expert site where they didn't have to pay for the answer. I'm saying that the name is more descriptive of that condition than "Anserz4Haxors". The suggestion itself is a basic jumping off point, not a suggestion that newbies shouldn't ask questions or shouldn't have them answered. –  Axeman May 18 '10 at 22:57
    
@waiwai933: It might be: is this particular question model the most helpful for tyros. The interesting thing is that the resistance to this question reveals the stigma that even newbie defenders tend to give to newbies. If you can't call a question a newbie question, because it discourages people, then it's just admitting of an already questionable stigma that people have for newbies. I have to admit, I probably used a little too much flip humor in the original post to communicate sincerity, but... –  Axeman May 18 '10 at 23:08
    
@waiwai933: If somebody answered a question of mine by saying "I answered it at the newb site" and gave me a link, it wouldn't darken my world to think that one of my questions had been judged newbie-ish--sometimes it's just nice to get an answer. –  Axeman May 18 '10 at 23:11

UPDATE: I left this post here for historical reasons, but the tags described below are "meta" tags, and should not be used.


A [beginner] tag really ought to suffice.

You know, databases are designed for this sort of thing. It always puzzles me when someone finds a new way to exclude some category of questions from StackOverflow based on the apparent fear that "the database is going to fill up."

alt text

You don't want to see subjective questions? Set your options to ignore the [subjective] tag.
You see a question that you think doesn't fulfill the "Must be an answerable programming question"
feng-shui of the community at large? Put the [subjective] tag on it.

Beginner questions are the same. I favor tagging such questions with a [beginner] tag, and using my settings to ignore them. Or not. (actually, I like beginner questions).

Let's not turn StackOverflow into another MathOverflow, where the only people qualified to ask questions are the ones that are so smart that they don't really need their questions answered.

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it's more like signal-to-noise ratio, but you're welcome to your little strawman about databases filling up. Did you know that there are only 5 tags allowed on each post? That makes tags a limited solution for both categorizing and filtering. –  Axeman May 19 '10 at 4:55
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@Axeman: re:strawman...I'm demonstrating absurdity by being a little absurd. With respect to the tags, and the limit-of-five objection, most questions don't even use all five tags. Honestly, that's just another excuse for "I don't like the question" closings; the community has never seriously considered tags as a viable solution to these kinds of problems. –  Robert Harvey May 19 '10 at 14:22

I think it would really help if SO had a mission statement. Maybe

A repository of all Programming related Questions and Answers (give us your tired, your weak, your n00b)

or

A site for expert programmers by expert programmers : If you don't understand why there are only 10 types of people in this world--those that understand binary, and those that don't-- then you don't belong here

It drives me up the wall that I bend over backwards doing all my research, and wording my question as best as possible, then someone copy-pastes their code on here for an answer, and no one agrees with me when I suggest it might not serve a purpose.

To be absolutely clear, I am NOT saying the aforementioned question should not belong here. I am saying, that IF it does belong here, then SO should come out and say that it has very low standards, and as long as something is about programming, and is a question, it belongs here (ie. "why does this statement not work cd .. -> answer: I forgot to press carriage return")

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