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Since the vast majority of questions on this site are way over my head, I used to browse the "beginner" tag and I learned a lot that way. I'm still looking for those beginner questions, so what I'm doing is using Google to search the site I'm using for the search terms "beginner", "I'm new to", and "newbie."

Is there anything else I can do to find those beginner questions?

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3 Answers 3

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One option is the 'Frequent' tab. For example, here are the faqs for the [perl] tag.

You can access these by clicking on a tag to get the tag page, then clicking on 'More', then 'Frequent'. Which questions are 'frequent' is determined by identifying which questions are most frequently linked to. It's not an ideal heuristic, but it's a good place to start.

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  • Nice! I had no idea there was a tag-specific faq page like that. I only knew about the general faq.
    – lala
    Aug 29, 2010 at 14:50
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It's easy to find questions written by beginners (as you've shown). Beginners to almost anything are minted freshly ever day. They'll ask their questions, and they'll tell you that they're new to the topic even though that's often just noise. And especially on larger network sites, the question will typically be off-topic, or a duplicate (already have been asked before). It's discouraged to answer questions that are actually duplicates. So I'd wager what you're really interested in is how to find questions that are on-topic, not asked-before, and not too difficult to find or know the answer to with some basic background.

In general, there's no magic trick to it. Just to go learn about something that not many people know about.

Especially for the larger sites in the Stack Exchange network, chances are that with any established field of knowledge, all the beginner on-topic questions have already been asked.

For example,

  • If you're a web developer, go learn about a fresh new JS framework. Read its docs thoroughly and work on some real projects using it.

  • If you like movies, books, anime, video games etc. Go read/watch/play something that just came out and with no prior-established fictional universe.

Once you know something that is fresh and new, you can jump on the easy questions when they get asked (of course, you have to be sitting there, waiting for them to appear and be ready to pounce, or you could ask and answer them yourself as long as you make sure both your question and and answer post meet the quality standards for the particular network site). Write a tag filter and sit on the tag filter.

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Really the only way is to just skim the list of questions for a particular tag and see what you can answer. For example over in Stack Overflow's [java] tag, I can answer most easy to medium questions, but when people start talking about Hibernate, J2EE, or any other super large framework, I just pass through.

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