Here's my beef. I've noticed over the past couple of days, and even before I joined this (the StackExchange) community that most of you aren't kind to your fellow user. I'm not trying to get up on a soap-box here, I'm just calling things how I see them.
For instance (and this is an issue throughout the various communities here, not just one particular one) - you all seem to be trigger happy when it comes to flagging duplicates. I think this practice is wrong, not to mention unethical. Here's why:
I speak Spanish as a second language and know that the words 'por' and 'para' are very hard for Spanish learners to understand and grasp, due to their variant meanings, sometimes by the sentence, sometimes by the word pair, and sometimes by the country in which they are used. So it's very important that a variety of examples are given to help teach students of the language what they mean, when, and how.
This means that no question is a stupid question, and no question is a duplicate question, necessarily. For example, in the two sentences below, the word 'por' means virtually the same thing, but without the context, word pairs, or phrasing, it changes completely.
- Anya nadó por el canal en junio.
- Translates to: Anya swam the canal in June. (As in, she swam through it.)
- Anya nadó por el canal en junio.
- Translates to: Anya swam by the canal in June. (As in, she swam near it, but not in it.)
The two sentences are completely different, but also completely the same. If the reader of the question doesn't pay attention to context (like they say they do, and as they seem to put so much emphasis on), you might end up with a wrong translation to English or whatever language it is they [the asker] speak fluently and understand best.
For instance, in some languages, 'where' is a place, more so than it is in English as it is currently used. In some languages, the word 'it' is part of other words or implied from context, so English learners may not write them out since it makes sense not to in their language. Other times, they just have a bad teacher who they themself doesn't understand the language they're teaching, and thus gives them bad translations from the get-go.
If you want real-life examples from StackExchange, you can search for such things as 'the difference between' and 'how to say this ...?' on the appropriate forums. There are about ten or so more different variations for each question, but they are just that - variation. They are not the same question. Each question should be handled individually based on the phrasing, not the content.
- In other words, you need to analyze how how is being used, because it has a lot of different meanings, and what you think the asker means may not be what they mean at all.
This also happens with StackOverflow, for example. I'm not the best coder, so I often want to ask the reason why something is done, but I avoid doing so at the risk that my question might be closed, neglected, or made fun of by more experienced (even professional) coders who might go, "Well, duh. Of course you should put
div, it just makes sense. It's what you do." Well, why? Don't just tell me it's how the computer reads it. I don't care about that, really. I know the computer reads it because it's code, duh! Why does it read it that way? Why not another? How is it useful?
The snarky comments don't make it any fun or more helpful than say, Yahoo!Answers with its simplistic format and network. Don't people come to SE for more information, preferably high-quality?
So my question is thus: How can we improve site features and user etiquette among other things to make the experience better for everyone?