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Before finding this TEX.sx site, I used to search all LaTeX documentations I had in my computer and use search engines looking for the answer all around the Internet. Even I did that investigation for my questions answered here so far. It looks to me that I can get many answers promptly here without that effort. Well, I have to modify the answers for my own usages but it is much easier than those exhaustive searches. Does the community believe that it is a good practice to forward immediately any question hence arises directly to this site; searching the TEX.sx and then asking if not found, rather than using other search engines? I believe it is correct. It looks lazy, but it makes the TEX.sx richer and more fruitful for younger "LaTeXers" who might be at the beginning of the job.

  • 1
    The way I see it, every time we ask a question on TEX.sx, we are asking a favour from others to help us get unstuck with a problem we are already working on -- but asking a favour if we can't even be bothered to do our homework first seems taking a little too much for granted. – Gambhiro Oct 9 '11 at 7:32
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I think you stand to annoy people if you are perceived as asking questions whose answer can easily be found in e.g. the documentation for a package. The strength of the site is that a wide range of experts are willing to share their knowledge with you, but that willingness will weaken if the site seems to be the place where people just ask questions without doing any background research on their own.

There are a couple of related questions that also bear on the issue:

Should SO's "50 questions per month" limit be enabled at tex.sx?

policy on "how do I draw this?" questions

These questions aren't the same as yours, but they are in the same realm of "types of questions that may disaffect experienced users" (and therefore have potentially a negative impact on the site.)

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I think the questions here should relate to real problems you face, or help you to figure out things you were puzzling about.

If you want to ask a problem-related question that you answered yourself but that you think it would be helpful for others to ask, then I think these questions are OK. Asking made-up questions that aren't well-motivated, though, I think injures the quality of the site and it would be better if they weren't posted.

It's worth noting that a poor-quality site may have more answers, but the signal-to-noise ratio will be lower for most queries.

  • Content of my above question shows that I mean real questions. "I used to search all LaTeX documentations I had in my computer and use search engines looking for the answer all around the Internet" Otherwise, I would not do such an exhaustive search. When You are using AMS templates, combined with something such as TexnicCenter, they do lot of the job. Then from the point that you start to impose some personal taste, questions arise. I used to use free documentation and different university sites. Now TEX.sx seems very straightforward, having so many eager helping hands. – Peter Jones Sep 26 '11 at 11:49
  • @Peter: I should perhaps have said that I thought that was what you meant, but the broad scope of the question headline demanded a similarly broad answer. – Charles Stewart Sep 26 '11 at 11:57
  • My question, therefore, could be: "Can I ask a real question promptly without trying to solve it personally?" – Peter Jones Sep 26 '11 at 13:12

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