BEWARE: I'm in a ranting mood so this may just be blowing off steam and may or may not actually happen. I also realize that this may make me sound like an elitist douche, but whatever.
I think I'm going to stop reading / responding to threads where the question is asked poorly.
I've already kind of done this on a subconscious level I think... but I'm going to go a step further with it now. Partly because of the principle, and partly because I simply don't have the time to answer as many threads as I used to.
So yeah, if anyone cares... my requirements for a thread "meeting my interest" involves the below:
- Should have a meaningful thread title. I just saw a thread titled "??????????", I mean wtf is that. Similarly, "help me" and "I have a question" are also poor thread titles I tend to glaze over without opening.
- I don't care about the occasional spelling/grammatical/capitalization error. But blatant texting-like crap is another recipe for ignoring. You know the kind.... things like "cn ne1 hlp me plZ?"
- The thread should actually ask a question. I'm amazed at how many people seem to have difficulty with effectively asking a question in a way which can be easily understood by someone without any prior context. Maybe that's some kind of skill that I take for granted? I don't know... it just seems like I often have to ask 2 or 3 followup questions in threads just to get an idea of what they're talking about. I shouldn't have to pull teeth to help these guys, you know?
I generally put a lot of time and effort into my responses to make them as clear and detailed as possible. It would be nice if the people asking the questions put half that much effort into how they ask. It would certainly make answering them easier.
Anyway, yeah. Big rant. Might be time for bed. Zzzzz
If you add to that list "no code tags", I've been doing that for months. If these people can't be bothered to look at what they've just posted and go "wait, that doesn't look right", then why should I be bothered to attempt to decode it? The only exceptions are very short code fragments, but if the first thing I see when I enter a thread is a wall of unformatted code, I don't even bother.
It doesn't sound that elitist to me, honestly. I mean, if you were going to your teacher/tutor/friend/whoever for help with something, would you just give them a 50-page stapled pack of all your code and say "hlp"? I don't think so, and so it doesn't seem at all unreasonable to expect at least some kind of understandable question.
Usually, if the thread's topic/question is very poorly explained (or not explained at all, as the case sometimes is) I don't really bother trying to give a detailed answer. I still try to be concise on a well-written thread, of course, but I'm definitely more willing to put in the effort to give extra details than if the response to my original post is "huh??? id un understand it can u do it for me ?"
You're completely right. I don't answer questions frequently, but if someone expects someone to volunteer their time - a commodity that cannot be regained - they should at least spend some time making it as easy for the other person to help them. It's not even altruism (or doesn't have to be), it's just good sense and logic: if you make it easy for people to answer your questions, then it's more likely that they will. Not only are the people committing these sins lazy, they're also stupid if they don't understand that.
A thing I would add that might sound kind of counter to you at first, is make short posts. There's nothing I hate more than to sit there and read 10 minutes of useless writing describing the entire program and all the requirements of the program, just so they can ask why they're running out of bounds on their array. Most of the times if I see a paragraph at the beginning of the OP of a thread, I won't even read it. Short and to the point questions, that's all I want -_-