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This user has asked a handful of questions in the the past few hours about Java and Swing. The questions have a lot of his specific code and are really turning out to be little debugging sessions. In my opinion he just needs a tutor really bad. In fact looking at his profile full of questions he is basically using StackOverflow as a semi-real-time tutor.

I thought about voting down some of the questions as not useful, but one vote won't do much for the situation and a slew of votes would just be eliminated a fraud. I thought about voting the question as to-localized, but that doesn't always fit and normally the user would be onto the next question by the time 5 close votes showed up.

Should I continue along with others to try to help him along as I have so far? Is there anything that could be done to discourage the behavior? Or should I just move on to the next question and forget about it.

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You could post a comment indicating to others what's going on... –  ircmaxell Mar 21 '11 at 17:47

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I don't feel this is a bad or abusive use of the site. As long as the questions follow the FAQ, then what this person is doing fine.

If you honestly believe the questions they are asking are of a very, very specific nature such that they will not be of any use to anyone else, you can consider voting to close as too localized, and encourage the user to ask more general questions.

Honestly, though, we're here to help. Either the questions are good questions, or they aren't, and I don't think we need to look at the underlying subtext to determine if the questions are a good fit for the site or not. Judge them at face value.

A brief visit to his userpage and a few of his recent questions demonstrates to me that they are reasonably general, and a good addition to our knowledgebase.

What kind of questions can I ask here?

Stack Overflow is for professional and enthusiast programmers, people who write code because they love it. We feel the best Stack Overflow questions have a bit of source code in them, but 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!

Please look around to see if your question has already been asked (and maybe even answered!) before you ask. It’s also perfectly fine to ask and answer your own question, as long as you pretend you’re on Jeopardy: phrase it in the form of a question.

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Well even if the user is just asking questions on which he needs help, he is also doing good job of upvoting and accepting the answers too. Personally I think, we should help this user in finding his answers.

Since I am not technically aware of java or swing, I cannot comment on nature of the questions. But do you think he is asking very basic or stupid questions? In anycase, if you feel it takes a lot of your time and effort, it is left to you to ignore the questions and move on, but anyway I dont feel we need to discourage him from asking many questions tough.

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