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Re: How to answer questions

by xdg (Monsignor)
on Feb 28, 2007 at 12:11 UTC ( #602479=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to How to answer questions

I address that a bit in Re: "Baby" Perl versus "Bad" Perl. To quote my last paragraph there:

As monks, we should recognize that ignorance of better technique is part of the learning process, and we should tune our responses to questions to help the questioner learn at a level they can absorb, not demonstrate our mastery of better techniques. These are not always the same thing.

I think the key to good answers is divining whether the questioner doesn't know or doesn't understand.

For the former, a short answer of "try this idiom" or "use this module" or "see this perldoc" is probably sufficient to get them on their way to solving whatever problem they have so they can continue to learn on their own.

For the latter, a more complete dialog or explanation is appropriate -- perhaps even addressing the underlying conceptual issues if it seems from the post that the questioner doesn't understand the problem, much less whatever Perl they are trying to use to solve the problem. (Typically, I'd guess this is what leads people to point out an XY Problem.)


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