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Could we please be a bit nicer to the noobs?

This question about converting binary to decimal appeared as a fairly legitimate question after a bit of editing.

It should probably be closed as a duplicate, but there were a flurry of unhelpful answers as well as numerous comments with a negative and hostile tone.

While I don't think SO users should do anyone's homework, people could have written helpful comments that indicate SO doesn't just provide the code. A helpful answer could have simply explained the values behind binary and how, perhaps in psuedocode, it could be converted to decimal.

Who knows if this new user will be one who contributes and asks better questions later? At this point they probably have a very bad impression of SO and its users.

Does anyone else think that the community needs to lighten up a little?


The question appears to have now been deleted.

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marked as duplicate by George Stocker, GEOCHET, Mark Henderson, Pops, Jon Seigel Feb 16 '11 at 18:06

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Unfortunately the answers on the question you linked were a dog's breakfast. There was no way to save it. However, our friend Gold posted the same question awhile back:…, so I left a link to it on one of our intrepid explorer's answers. – Robert Harvey Feb 15 '11 at 19:32
@Robert: Agreed, the answers were poor. It just seemed like an opportunity to help a newcomer to the site, and instead they got flamed. – JYelton Feb 15 '11 at 19:34
Could be a time (to pause and think) and frustration issue. Every newbie is a separate individual, but after a while, it can be hard not to lump those things together and dump the blame on the one in front of you now. Maybe even a gamification issue (react now, or be the one who doesn't get the upvotes). – Steve314 Feb 15 '11 at 19:35
That reads like trying to justify those comments - not my intent. Just a feeling that this kind of thing is inevitable, to a point. – Steve314 Feb 15 '11 at 19:41
Hmm, a pitchfork mob with a diamond in the lead... – Henk Holterman Feb 15 '11 at 20:36
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The "need the code" was what inflamed people. That's not to say this couldn't have been handled in a much more constructive and relaxed way by the community, but... If you're going to ask a question, think about it for a while and put a little bit of effort in it. Like a full sentence, or a real description of the task at hand. And yes, that is possible even when only 15 years old, and a newbie to the site. The front page is usually full of at least half-way good examples of how to ask a question.

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I must not have seen the revision of the question that contained that line. Obviously that would have swayed my opinion some. Still, it wouldn't hurt to provide a helpful answer or comment--but by no means providing "the codes" for zero demonstrated effort. – JYelton Feb 15 '11 at 20:30
@JYelton yeah, you're right. But as said, I can understand the angry reaction to a carelessly written question... There are too many for the community to deal with every one of them individually. Anyway, for reference, the original question (title / body) was How can one convert binary to decimal in C? / Say 1011 to its decimal value, need the code. – Pëkka Feb 15 '11 at 20:38
@Pekka with a question title like that, I can see why some users went a little beyond the impartial tone. However, if more of our community were willing to write helpful replies and perform minor edits, I think that there are plenty of us to wrangle these questions into conformity. "There are too many..." doesn't seem like a real excuse. (I only see a homework newbie question about once every few days; however I'm not here 24/7.) – JYelton Feb 15 '11 at 20:44
@JYelton yeah. But the question is, when is it worth the effort? More often than not, it turns out not to be - the OP turns out not to give a damn, to be a troll, to be looking for something else entirely, or never reappears. To me, you need to at least try to write a half-way decent question to gain entry to SO. That is possible even if you hardly speak english. If a user can't come up even with that, they need to stay out – Pëkka Feb 15 '11 at 20:46
@Pekka fair enough, in such cases where the community feels the effort is unwarranted, the question should be closed with an unemotional reason: "Not a real question" or maybe some new reason that is tailored to this situation: "Insufficient effort and/or detail in question." – JYelton Feb 15 '11 at 20:52
@JYelton yup, totally agreed. – Pëkka Feb 15 '11 at 20:53

The FAQ states specifically: Be Nice.

'nuff said.

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+1 - so, can we now go lynch whoever it was who wrote the "weird" comment? – Steve314 Feb 15 '11 at 19:43

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