When should we bother?
I was reading Before You Ask – Just another guide and thought it’s pretty common to try and help people ask questions the right way. If we are here contributing to SCN is because we actually want to help people in their predicaments, as we would like help with ours when the time comes.
Just today I came across several situations where people either didn’t provide enough information, didn’t acknowledge the help that was provided, or showed any indication that they would follow up after the question (basically they didn’t follow Florien’s advice). The funny thing is that looking at the opening post I had a pretty good idea which people would provide feedback and which ones wouldn’t.
It got me thinking. Are we the ones that support this kind of behavior by trying to answer:
- Questions with almost no information, and that by the third or fourth response by the OP, still have little information – If he doesn’t bother providing information, why should we keep trying?
- Poorly written questions, with no punctuation or grammatical correctness (english is not my native language, but at least I try…., some people clearly don’t, and at the very least browsers have spell check)
I see many people, myself included, making all sorts of assumptions with little to no information, increasing the “garbage” in SCN, probably confusing other people who will use search to try and find an answer to their problems. A suggestion made with almost zero information can seem right, and yet be very wrong because it refers to a situation that is not clearly explained or is confusing.
Should we refrain ourselves from trying to help people who clearly haven’t made an effort to be “helpable”? This isn’t something that could/should be enforced, but I have to question if it should considered SCN etiquette to stop “feeding” posts where the OP clearly doesn’t care enough (and people who spend enough time in SCN can already identify them from very far away).
What’s your opinion on this?
Update: To meis mid-range example. The poster makes a very poorly written post, doesn’t use punctuation and uses capital letters everywhere, wasting the time of anyone who is trying to understand his scenario. Should he be rewarded with an answer? I chose not to, feel free to disagree and comment below.