Sometimes I see questions that make me think the Original Poster hasn't even attempted to figure it out on their own. Often this overlaps with homework questions, but that's not really the core issue. I want to feel like the original poster has at least made a good-faith effort to solve the problem themselves (via Google search, etc), and ran into some kind of roadblock that is keeping them from progressing, or that they just want general guidance on how to approach a given problem. The specific question that inspired this post is here, and deals with a specific combination of LINQ operations. For someone familiar with LINQ, it's like asking, "How do I multiply two numbers, add the product to a third number, and then square the result?"
The SO FAQ states:
if your question generally covers …
- a specific programming problem
- a software algorithm
- software tools commonly used by programmers
- matters that are unique to the programming profession
… then you're in the right place to ask your question!
Does this sort of question fit the bill? What's the best way to answer it? You could just give them a code sample, but how does that help the OP (or anybody else) when their next question is to square the first number and subtract two numbers after that? Were people out of line to criticize the original poster? Is there a rule of thumb we can use and refer to, to ensure that SO questions and answers are helpful for more than the specific circumstance of the OP?