On one hand, stackoverflow cannot allow bad questions:
On the other hand, it would be nice if we could be nice to the new kid on the block.
Both issues have been discussed time and again (although this is a Q&A site, not a discussion forum... ;)
Anyway, could it be possible to have bad newbie questions (that is, bad questions from newbies) pulled aside rather than closed?
I'm thinking of a pit stop, where the question will not show up on the main "stream", but grounded until fixed.
They can be put into a guidance queue, where any user with enough rep can show them how to improve their question.
I've seen all too many new user questions bombarded with downvotes, and not a single explanation given.
In one case I took the time to make some improvement suggestions to the new user (yes, they also appear in the FAQ, but for whatever reason many new users don't appear to read it), and soon enough his single run-on question developed into a detailed question including code sample, environment description, wanted vs actual result.
The user ended up getting answers for his question, a quick lesson in stackoverflowism, and a warm welcome.
Grounded questions whose owners don't make an effort to fix them can be deleted or closed after a while; apparently, the asker doesn't care too much about them.
(And don't tell me you can say the same thing about an unfixed downvoted question - most downvotes come with no explanation.)
Advantages of pit-stop:
- SO kept clean from bad questions
- Newbies learn the ropes quicker (provided there is someone to help them)
- Nicer environment :)
- The world becomes a better place
After all, isn't the whole point of this site to help other programmers?