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It seems to me, there are two broad categories of questions: (1) from people who use a programming language at their work place, and (2) from people who just started to learn using it. Almost everyone in the community seems to understand, based on the quality of the question, to answer the latter by initiating some thought and not just giving the solution.

I think, SO can do more to facilitate this. I am thinking about a special tag "beginner". Ideally, the actual accepted answer should not be revealed for questions tagged with such tags until clicked.

Do you think this would make sense? Maybe some other ideas?

marked as duplicate by Hugo Dozois, Josh Caswell, Some Helpful Commenter, random Dec 13 '13 at 21:10

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    We used to have meta tags, but they were burnerd. – Cole Johnson Dec 13 '13 at 18:51
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    Tags are used to categorize questions by topic, not to rate them by difficulty. A "beginner" tag wouldn't really help people find answers to their questions. – Bill the Lizard Dec 13 '13 at 18:56
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    If someone were a beginner, how would they gauge how difficult something is if they don't know much about it..? – Josh Crozier Dec 13 '13 at 18:57

No. Meta tags don't belong on SO. These have been decided against several times, with things like homework, rating questions, etc, etc. They are simply irrelevant to the question being asked. Also, beginner is very, very subjective. To Jon Skeet, writing Skynet is a beginner question. To someone completely new to programming, printing "hello, world!" might be a beginner task.

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    LOL. Got -9 in no time. I understand the reasoning behind it though. I still think there is room for improvement, will go scratch my head. Meta tagging is a bad idea, I agree. – Alex Pakka Dec 13 '13 at 19:35

Almost everyone in the community seems to understand, based on the quality of the question, to answer the latter by initiating some thought and not just giving the solution.

Actually, that is not my experience and it surely isn't recommended around here. This is a Q&A site: questioneers do not need to get schooled, but questions need to get answered. How well-meant thought-provoking answers may be, such an educational role we cannot fulfill by giving incomplete and commenting answers. Naturally, this does not mean that we may not advise, explain or provide steps on the way to the solution.

That set aside, your proposal of adding a "beginner" tag on questions from novice users will have implementation difficulty, because how to enforce the addition of that tag? For example, real beginners might not be aware of being a beginner or might be reluctant to expose such a label. The solution will almost surely end up in a mandatory addition of a difficulty rating meta-tag, which was previously declined.

And lastly, your proposal of collapsing the accepted answer will confuse users of the site. Note that (most) visitors may not be users (i.e. part of the community) at all. Therefore it would require a very big "please click here to show the actual accepted answer" button. This cannot be.

  • So, we just downgrade the questions of the type "Why this not worky :/?" with dozen of lines of code and as many errors? And then whoever decides to unleash on the pure guy, will downvote and write angry comments? I mean, SO is overly popular and pops up in searches and has strong community of developers who can teach and help to learn instead of bashing and discouraging. And a lot of people do really help. Just thinking there could be a way to improve it a little bit. Yes, it is just a damn good Q&A site, but no one says it cannot improve and adapt. – Alex Pakka Dec 13 '13 at 19:43

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