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Is it okay to ask a question because you're too lazy/bored to figure it out yourself?
It is generally considered good practice to try and do your own research to find the answer to a question before you post it.
There are some questions where the asker is just not capable of finding the answer on their own, no matter how much research they do on their own. As a contrived example, let's say that color of traffic lights in Elbonia is not documented anywhere, and Elbonia has currently closed all borders. A person wondering what color the traffic lights are in Elbonia cannot find it no matter what they do. Their only hope is to ask here, and perhaps a kind Elbonian will volunteer the facts.
A second class is questions where the asker could in theory figure it out, but it would be very burdensome. For example, perhaps the answer requires advanced degrees and a decades of reading literature, whereas the asker is an illiterate child. If the asker tried to answer it their own, they would have to dedicate a lifetime to it, and might easily still fail.
Then we have the spectrum going all the way down to questions where the answer could be easily found with "a basic 5 second google", or even questions where the answer is obvious by simply reading the question back.
I'm asking about questions where:
- The answer is readily available and can be found with "a 5 second google"
- The asker knows that it is readily available
- A quick skim of these answer(s) elsewhere would immediately tell you exactly what the answer is, if you are proficient in the subject matter
- The asker is not proficient, and finds the material hard to understand or difficult to read. Perhaps they have spent some reasonable, short amount of time trying to read it (like 30 minutes), failed to comprehend it, and decided that figuring it out would likely take considerable effort (hours or days). Besides mere effort, the asker may also find the material too boring to attempt to get through (don't laugh - people ask sometimes about laws and standards!).
The asker is basically asking the community to summarize/ELI5 a topic, because they themselves feel like it would be too much work to go through it.
- Is it generally discouraged to ask questions on Codidact if an answer can be found elsewhere on the internet or in a book?
- Is there some minimum level of effort the asker must make, and if so, what is it?
- Is it bad to "use the community as a resource" in this way?
I specifically draw the line at minutes vs. hours because I think this is the useful place to draw it in practice. Asking a question already takes a few minutes, so it is a natural baseline for measuring effort.
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