Post Made Community Wiki by Laura
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If these people really don't know a better way to get their questions answered, then it's up to us to teach them, not to answer the questions for them. Otherwise, they may literally never learn.

I have no reason to believe this is a matter of stupidity. I honestly don't know why some of these people are doing this kind of work. I've tried to find out, but have not yet found a way to ask the question in a way that gets me an answer.

In some small number of cases, on the ASP.NET "XML Web Services" forum, I have been left with the impression that there are people who are working for a bad outsourcing firm (I've worked with several good ones). I get this impression when someone basically says, "I just started today, and my boss told me to write a web service that does so and such. What is a web service?" or when they come up with some nonsensical requirement that was clearly not understood, yet seem terrified of asking the customer for clarification.

Those (small) number of cases are absolutely not helped by handing them the answer. They will never learn how you got the answer, for instance. It has amazed me to see the number of people who are not familiar with http://msdn.microsoft.com/, and who have found it only because I posted links, including the search links.

They'll also never learn how to find the answer themselves next time, except that you will have taught them that the way to get their job done is to not stop to think, not spend five minutes on a Google or SO search, but to just go ask on SO and get some "helpful" person to do the job for them.

"Please don't feed the pigeons" is not the same as "please be mean to pigeons". It's purely practical.