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On the subject of time wasting questions

This comes off the back of discussing an email I received. Fundamentally, this is to address when I get a question of the format:

Does your X work in latest Y?

The answer? I don't know. Rather than email me, you could test it out and see it does, or that it does not. If it does, you could ask it to be noted. If it doesn't you could ask that to be noted, and ask if there's any plans to support it. Even better, you could raise a PR or just do a fork of my work that makes X work in your latest Y.

That is one of the points of Open Source Software. That you can make my open source code(X) work for your project(Y).

Is it possible to test in Y and write a more detailed installation tutorial?

As noted above, you can test it in Y.

Additionally this request is pretty disrespectful as it doesn't describe what needs more detail.

The fundamental issues

Personally, I think the fundamental issues are about disrespect and attitude. I see it as disrespectful if there's no attempt made by the person asking the question to find out in other means *in their* control, before asking others.

Secondly, asking general questions of "more detailed installation tutorial" will not normally get a specific and relevant answer and are likely to miss out the detail you want because of how vague and ambiguous it is. As a result, even if I wanted to help you, you've put me in a situation where I cannot help you.

Thirdly, the general feeling of "handholding" that is desired. More accurately, I'd put this as spoonfeeding.

Finally, this is altogether worsened if I do not even know you. This is because first impressions matter, and you've only presented poor etiquette and disrespect to me.

Further notes for research

This is just a handful of the points, but the fundamental issues. Please see these links for further information on this subject

=> Don't ask to ask a question
=> The XY Problem(Can you do X? It won't solve my actual problem Y because I haven't understood my problem well enough)
=> How to ask questions the smart way
=> Stackoverflow's how to ask a good question


This post was made because I have been on the receiving end of time wasting questions, where I am mostly frustrated by the fundamental issues with them. I have written this so that in future, I can just send this blog instead of trying to figure out what their actual issue is.

If you have received this blog post alongside whatever answer I give you... take it as a lesson for next time on how to write a better question.

Published on 2024/03/09

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