I've been a member of Stack Overflow for more than a month now and I've been browsing it almost everyday. Somehow, most questions/answers that I see on SO are either too simple or too complex for me to understand.

This is kind of intimidating for me because I don't want to look stupid for asking questions that I find hard even after Google-ing them. My reputation on SO is 1 at the time of this post. I understand that the creators of SO envision it to be a Q&A site for both noobs and pros in programming but the community seems to be telling me otherwise.

Do I really need to "not be a noob" first before asking questions on SO just to avoid rejection from the community?

  • Thanks for the edit, jjnguy. Sep 9, 2010 at 2:01
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    Check out the answers to this question - meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3251/… Pretty strong consensus that easy/beginner questions are fine so long as they are well formed.
    – Dhaust
    Sep 9, 2010 at 4:28
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    If there are questions on SO that you consider "too simple," then you're doing better than a lot of users, myself included.
    – Pops
    Sep 9, 2010 at 17:48
  • @David Haust, thanks for the link. I even up voted some of the good ones. @Popular Demand, most questions I see are the too complex ones though. Thanks for the words of encouragement :) Sep 10, 2010 at 0:59

3 Answers 3


No, you don't need to be an expert first - questions of all levels are explicitly allowed.

As long as you put a bit of effort in the questions, feel free to ignore any nay-sayers if the question is something you need help with.

  • 5
    With special emphasis on feeling free to ignore the nay-sayers. More than a few of them are Johnny-come-latelys who haven't adjusted to the culture here. And when you do ask check back often for the first few hours. If people are confused, they'll tell you and being responsive to such things makes you look better. Sep 9, 2010 at 3:44
  • @dmckee Thanks for the advice. Sep 9, 2010 at 4:47

I found that I had answered (or tried to at least) nearly 100 questions before I found a question that I could ask! Prior to that, each time I thought I had a question to ask, either doing a search or checking the "possibly related" list that comes up from typing in a question title answered my question for me. As previous responders have said, it is just polite (if nothing else) to put effort into asking the question to make sure you provide as much information as possible - that could even be "this is as much information as I have, or think that I have. I'm not an expert on this and if I've missed something critical please let me know what"


That's just your brain over analyzing the situation. I do this all the time in social situations. The trick is to simply ask your question. Unless you put no effort into the question someone will help you.

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