Many of the newbie posters really need to read How To Ask Questions The Smart Way or one of the equivalent essays. Referring them to it would arguably be more useful than having to repeat all the usual questions trying to get them to restate their problem in a way that makes it answerable... but I've hesitated since I know SO frowns on other shorthand responses such as LMGTFY.

Yes, this ties into some of the past meta-discussion, but I haven't seen this particular essay cited -- and while blunt, it's the best one I've found.

Opinions? Recommendations? Alternatives? Suggested boilerplate beyond simply posting the link?

("Welcome to SO! You might want to read ... for ways to improve your question so it will be easier, and more interesting, for others to answer.")


1 Answer 1


I tend to cite a specific problem with the post they've already made, then refer them to one of my longer posts: http://tinyurl.com/stack-checklist or http://tinyurl.com/stack-hints

By citing a specific issue, that shows that this isn't a reflexive, impersonal response - I'm more actively engaged than if I just wrote: "Your post is rubbish. See ...."

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    Well, if you say someone's post is rubbish, it must be. Jan 17, 2014 at 14:53
  • OK, I'll have to remember those links. Tnx!
    – keshlam
    Jan 17, 2014 at 18:55
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    @Jon - These links are broken, is it possible to redirect them to the new location of your pages? I think they really help users.
    – Travis J
    Aug 14, 2014 at 18:17
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    @TravisJ: Done - hopefully some time soon there'll be a stack-wide replacement of various links, but this'll help for now...
    – Jon Skeet
    Aug 14, 2014 at 18:31
  • @Jon - There is no way to help the end location of the link though? I mean, you have a large footprint on the internet :) There are many places which link to tinyurl.com/so-hints (not just this one answer). I was really asking more about the broader sense as well here - sorry to bother you. "tinyurl.com/so-hints" at google shows 22,700 results.
    – Travis J
    Aug 14, 2014 at 19:16
  • @TravisJ: I've emailed tinyurl.com to see if that can be changed. I can't change msmvps.com though.
    – Jon Skeet
    Aug 14, 2014 at 19:44
  • @JonSkeet - Hopefully someone can work it out. Thanks for trying to get some attention to it, I know that it affects a lot of people looking to learn since you have been so helpful over the years. Rock on :)
    – Travis J
    Aug 14, 2014 at 19:45

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