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I asked a question that has a tricky answer, which I saw explained in some dark corner of the Internet a long time ago. I did so after seeing another question that was posted by someone who knew the answer, just to seed the site with interesting content.

The response, a highly voted comment "this is trivial", and yet no answer, made me feel very unwelcome.

Is this how we want new users to feel? If not, how to make sure it doesn't happen?


I appreciate the answers received so far, but some concrete proposals that directly address the question would be nice: How to promote inclusive bevahior?

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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps people are expecting you to add the answer? $\endgroup$ – Aryabhata Mar 13 '12 at 22:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Aryabhata For these seeding questions, I prefer to give someone else a chance. And I might learn something new that way, just because I've progressed past a question doesn't mean I've captured all of its nuances and implications. $\endgroup$ – Gilles Mar 13 '12 at 22:28
  • $\begingroup$ @Gilles: I agree, I was just guessing a reason for the lack of an answer. $\endgroup$ – Aryabhata Mar 13 '12 at 22:32
  • $\begingroup$ When you ask a meta question about a question on the site, please link to it in a comment under that question (I've done it for this one). $\endgroup$ – Gilles Mar 13 '12 at 22:38
  • $\begingroup$ After I tried to seed with some easy (apparently "lazy") questions for the site that got plenty of downvotes, I assumed that questions which could be easily googled for were not on topic. That being said, my particular comment is less about whether or not your question is on topic and more about a relevant reference, i.e. "this other site has the following answer: 'no if you're not careful, yes if you are careful', and you can see that site for the careful version". $\endgroup$ – Joe Mar 14 '12 at 0:11
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    $\begingroup$ I think part of the issue is that it wasn't clear to me at first that your question only applied to the version of pseudo-code that you posted, and what you really wanted is a proof or counter-example for your particular pseudo-code, not whether it could be done in general. $\endgroup$ – Joe Mar 14 '12 at 0:14
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    $\begingroup$ Also, keep in mind that the statement "This is trivial" may be made because the person making it does not see the problem. So if you think the question is non-trivial after reading the comments, you should edit the question to highlight the points where you think the "meat" to be. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Mar 14 '12 at 8:19
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    $\begingroup$ I edited my comments, so hopefully you find them more constructive. $\endgroup$ – Joe Mar 14 '12 at 8:28
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Relevant reading:

While it's true that private betas generally need to be stocked with difficult questions aimed at experts, our site is somewhat unusually facing the opposite problem: the dominant level is perceived as too advanced for a part of the intended audience. We need entry-level questions as well.

Your question is a basic, but valid question. I find the comment “Maybe seed the site with less trivial questions” out of line, considering what the site needs right now.

I also disagree with the comment that states that “a thorough answer to your question is already available on the web” with the implication that this makes the question unfit for the site. This is not a research-level site; while questions duplicating Wikipedia or other reference Internet site to not make the Internet better, duplicating content from some random homepage, be it the homepage of a respected CS professor, is useful. Joe, please read Embrace the non-Googlers.

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    $\begingroup$ If I was able to find relevant information quickly by simple websearch I think it is useful to give the search query (along with the answer). Searching for the right things is also a skill to have. $\endgroup$ – Raphael Mar 14 '12 at 8:20
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I agree, but I think we should also be careful when posting seeding questions. It seems to me the only requirement we drop for a seeding question is that we already know the answer. But it should still be something that we find interesting and satisfy other criteria for being a good question.

Also I feel that explicitly stating that a question is a seeding question is not a good thing. See shog9's answer and also It’s OK to Ask and Answer Your Own Questions.

ps: I agree with what Gilles wrote. No question should be closed or down-voted on this site because of easiness.

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    $\begingroup$ In fact I'd say that during the private beta, nothing should be downvoted at all :). we should take the time to explain to the questioner what they should be asking. $\endgroup$ – Suresh Mar 14 '12 at 4:16
  • $\begingroup$ Saying that a question is a seeding question would detract downvoters. Besides, we can always edit it later to remove those sentences. $\endgroup$ – Aryabhata Mar 14 '12 at 4:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Aryabhata, no, it will not. Being easy is no reason to down vote a question on this site. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Mar 14 '12 at 4:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Kaveh: It is not, but that does not prevent people from doing it. After all, not everyone agrees on subjective issues. $\endgroup$ – Aryabhata Mar 14 '12 at 5:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Aryabhata, in that case it will not help anyway. They are not going to accept a question just because it is a seed, contrary it would probably make it more likely to be down-voted. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Mar 14 '12 at 5:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Kaveh: There is nothing to lose, but everything to gain! I really don't understand the harm in saying it is a seeding question if you are going to edit it out later. $\endgroup$ – Aryabhata Mar 14 '12 at 5:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Aryabhata, I disagree, you don't gain anything, but it can cause people to post low quality questions thinking that it is fine just because they say it is seeding the site. $\endgroup$ – Kaveh Mar 14 '12 at 5:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Kaveh: I disagree, people can post low quality questions irrespective of whether they consider it seeding or not. Normally people who are interested in seeding the site might post easy questions, but low quality seems unlikely. $\endgroup$ – Aryabhata Mar 14 '12 at 5:24
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    $\begingroup$ FWIW: I tried an experiment by adding two questions, stating in one that it is seeding and not mentioning that in the other. I realized one thing: not mentioning seeding might cause multiple people to put in some effort in it, which might be a bad thing in terms of etiquette, but a good thing in terms of content. So I am leaning towards mentioning seeding, as we can still get good content without losing the etiquette part... $\endgroup$ – Aryabhata Mar 14 '12 at 15:45
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I felt the same after asking some questions. If you get offended by a comment you'll weep after a short time! I suggest to set your goal on learning and make sure your question is not against any rules mentioned in FAQ. Ignore everything else such as comments and downvotes. We have equal rights to ask questions and answer them, it's not our fault if some users are naturally talented.

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