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I am not a very active user on stackoverflow, but during my ten-year career as a developer I have often asked questions and received satisfactory answers.

I noticed with disappointment that the only answer to the last 2-3 questions (which I later deleted) was solely "Please edit this question to include a Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable example".

I want to be clear: if I have the time and the way to reproduce a problem, I have enough experience to solve it by myself.

If I ask a question, it is to have an opinion based "on the clinical eye" of someone who has more experience than me on a given topic.

If I have a health problem I don't go to the doctor after doing tons of tests, I go there to get his opinion on what is best to do.

Just my 2 cents.

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    I want to be clear: if I have the time and the way to reproduce a problem, I have enough experience to solve it by myself. Then by all means do so! Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange in general are not a replacement for doing your work. Anyway, this question is better asked on Stack Overflow's own meta site. – Glorfindel Jul 10 at 7:16
  • Then by all means do so! Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange in general are not a replacement for doing your work I understand and agree. The point is that If I ask a question, it is to have an opinion based "on the clinical eye" of someone who has more experience than me on a given topic. – ElmoDev001 Jul 10 at 7:20
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    But that clinical eye does not want to wade through hundreds of lines of code. Maye for a single question, but there are thousands of people asking questions every day. – Glorfindel Jul 10 at 7:21
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    Aldo, stackoverflow isnt for opinionen-based questions, it's one of the close reasons there – Epodax Jul 10 at 9:23
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    if I have the time and the way to reproduce a problem, I have enough experience to solve it by myself. That's awesome. Problem is, there are so many people that don't. Either because they lack the understanding, expertise, or skill to do so. That is, unfortunately, far more common, and SO doesn't ask for it for no reason. – fbueckert Jul 10 at 13:06
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    You'd be surprised how many high rep users on this site who not only create an mcve prior to asking a question, but also the high % of times these have led to the answer. My MCVE folder has 391 solutions in it, each one an MCVE that helped me either answer my question or isolated it enough to where I could ask a question or open a bug report. It's worth your time. – user1228 Jul 10 at 18:39
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    I want to add my cent here; as it is stated on the link Minimal, most of the question I see that get the MRE treatment is because users post stuff like "I have a code that does X but for some reason is doing Z, Why?" there is no way someone will provide a valid answer if there is nothing to start with this will mess the system at the end. – Hasan Patel Jul 12 at 22:26
  • the only answer to the last 2-3 questions (which I later deleted) was solely "Please edit this question to include a Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable example" -- This was most definitely a comment. Answers like this would surely be deletec. – user474678 Sep 10 at 22:33
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I am not a very active user on stackoverflow, but during my ten-year career as a developer I have often asked questions and received satisfactory answers.

In those ten years Stack Overflow has grown exponentially, and the number of questions posted approaches 7,000 a day.

Imagine if no one ever supplied a "verifiable example" for their problem. Imagine if everyone simply asked "please give me the code". Actually, if I'm not mistaken, nearly every newcomer on Stack Overflow commits this error, do they not? As I understand it, there is currently a serious problem of Low Quality Questions and new users just asking very basic stuff time and time again.

So as someone who has benefited from the community's help in the past, shouldn't you make that little extra effort to differentiate yourself from the so-called help vampires? If the question is interesting and well-presented, it should easily receive upvotes (good questions appear to be a rarity these days), then followed by good answers. The trick is doing everything that is expected, which, admittedly, is time consuming but then you avoid the frustrating situation of having an unanswered question.

If I have a health problem I don't go to the doctor after doing tons of tests, I go there to get his opinion on what is best to do.

I have had serious medical problems in the past. Whenever I described my symptoms to any doctor I had to give as detailed a recount as possible. Stating when the symptoms first occurred, if the symptoms were chronic or not. How much pain I was in, whether I was allergic to substances, my diet, any surgeries, my immediate family's medical history e.g. diabetes, heart attacks, cancer etc.

In other words, before an expert can give his or her best informed opinion, you have to give them the data too.

  • Hi Mary-Lou, thanks for the answer. I am sorry for your medical problems. Anyway my feeling is that if I go to the doctor, and I start to list all symptoms and details, he stop me and say: "Hey, let me ask to you what I need to know!" Please see my comment to Rob too. – ElmoDev001 Jul 10 at 8:33
  • @ElmoDev001 "I had to give" means I was asked for that information. I am not talking about flu symptoms :) – Mari-Lou A Jul 10 at 8:34
  • @ElmoDev001 as to your comment underneath Rob's answer, I wish I could help and say what information or detail is lacking. Perhaps if you presented evidence of trying to find the solution then that would help users on SO know what didn't work. – Mari-Lou A Jul 10 at 8:37
  • "I had to give" means I was asked for that information. I am not talking about flu symptoms Yes, this is the point. Is it really useful to have questions with hundreds of lines of code and details? Or is better to have a generic question, and contributors that ask what they need to know? I don't want to trivialize the topic, and I understand how hard is to manage help vampires, as you called them. I wanted only to point out that we should accept some kind of generic questions also. – ElmoDev001 Jul 10 at 8:41
  • I also realize that it is too wide a subject to deal with in a few lines, also because my English is not so good as to support long and in-depth discussions :) – ElmoDev001 Jul 10 at 8:41
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    I'd imagine some code would be useful, perhaps excluding that which is proven not to be defective. As for the validity of generic questions, I think SO has long past that stage. In the beginning almost any question was accepted and answers were provided, the community was smaller and it was easier to earn rep. – Mari-Lou A Jul 10 at 8:51
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    Enthusiasm was high and users were eager to make the Internet a better place (a phrase I've encountered several times) but today if a question consists of two lines it will normally be interpreted by high-rep users as being lazy and it will be ignored or rejected. I mean, if you have posted several questions recently and you haven't received answers, change strategy. – Mari-Lou A Jul 10 at 8:51
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    I mean, if you have posted several questions recently and you haven't received answers, change strategy. Yes, this is a good and wise suggestion :) – ElmoDev001 Jul 10 at 8:57
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I noticed with disappointment that the only answer to the last 2-3 questions (which I later deleted) was solely "Please edit this question to include a Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable example".

If I have a health problem I don't go to the doctor after doing tons of tests, I go there to get his opinion on what is best to do.

Comment: The point is that If I ask a question, it is to have an opinion based "on the clinical eye" of someone who has more experience than me on a given topic. – ElmoDev001 15 mins ago

A doctor has time to go back and forth and can also see the problem, we need the problem to be presented to us in a complete form; the question (or answer) needs to be complete and stand on its own.

If you have a problem with your leg you don't cut it off, apply duct tape, and hobble down to the doctor complaining that there's something wrong with your leg; could they have a look at it - then they send you back home to get it. If they did, they'd charge you for two visits.

Imagine our disappointment when we want to help you and you continue to disregard the advice being offered - and it's the same advice each time.

Don't say: "I have computer problem, please help me."

Explain the problem in enough detail so someone can look at what you are asking and decide if they know the answer.

Regardless of what your computer problem is chances are there is someone on Stack Overflow (and many of our other sites) who can help you - but we don't want to guess or ask you why information is missing from your question (or answer).

  • Hi Rob, thanks for the answer. Your example on the cut leg is funny, but I am a software developer, I don't ask "I have a computer problem". Let me provide the most recent example; stackoverflow.com/questions/56852049/… What kind of reproducible example should I provide here to show that google home is sending the wrong pin? All my backend code related to smart home features? The screenshot of the project settings on my google console? A video of me talking to the voice assistant? – ElmoDev001 Jul 10 at 8:29
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    @ElmoDev001 looking at that example question I would also go: What fullfilment API? And also: how did you instrument that running instance to observe the faulty behavior? It looks like an example where a bit of extra context, that is obvious to you, will help lots of users that either have the answer or run in the same problem. – rene Jul 10 at 8:42
  • @ElmoDev001 The request for a MCVE describes what is required, if there are shortcomings or portions that aren't clear you can write a request on their Meta; be certain to quote which sentence you are uncertain about and possibly explain what you think it means to you. From what little you provided I can only guess that this has something to do with the answer. Follow that 1st link step by step and if you get stuck ask on their Meta. – Rob Jul 10 at 15:17

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