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We get a few questions that boil down to "just do it for me" (often, but not confined to, drawing questions). These can be highly irritating - especially if you've seen a few go by in a short space of time. But the questioner is often a new user and so not aware that this isn't a "Please do my work for me" site! The Text building blocks are designed to help in situations like this: they make it easy to leave a polite and informative comment. We have a block aimed at questions that don't contain enough information, but it doesn't quite address this situation. So I'd like to add a block for the "Just do it for me" type of question that hopefully explains to the user the advantage of having a go first and coming here for help at the point that they get stuck.

Here's what I just wrote for this:

To expand a little on the comments, this site works best as a helping hand at the precise point where you get stuck with something when a small nudge in the correct direction shows you how to proceed. So things that look like "Please do this complicated thing for me" tend not to get answers because they require a great deal of effort. To make the most of this site, you need to identify one thing that will help you where if someone knows the answer it will take them very little time to show you. So if you show what you have so far, you'll stand a greater chance of getting help.

Let's polish this up (or throw it out and write a new one) and add it to our building blocks. I'll copy the above into a CW answer for any and all to edit. If you'd rather write something very different, add it as an alternative - we don't have to have just one version if there are potentially different circumstances.

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4 Answers 4

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Taking the two very good suggestions so far and editing them together to get within 500 characters, how about

[Welcome to TeX.sx!](http://meta.tex.stackexchange.com/q/1436) On this site,
a question should typically revolve around an abstract issue (e.g. "How do I
get a double horizontal line in a table?") rather than a concrete application
(e.g. "How do I make this table?"). Questions that look like "Please do this
complicated thing for me" tend to get closed because they are "too 
localized". Please try to make your question clear and simple by giving a
[minimal working example (MWE)](http://meta.tex.stackexchange.com/q/228):
you'll stand a greater chance of getting help.
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  • 2
    @JoshephW, while agreeing with you, I still suggest you to include the sentence Please try to make your question clear and simple by giving MWE[minimal working example]<http://www.minimalbeispiel.de/mini-en.html> which is quite encouraging for a newcomer like me :-D
    – Khaaba
    Sep 23, 2012 at 8:21
  • @Khaaba I have got a link to our MWE info: do you mean I should alter the last sentence to Please try to make your question clear and simple by giving [minimal working example (MWE)](http://meta.tex.stackexchange.com/q/228): you'll stand a greater chance of getting help.?
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Sep 23, 2012 at 10:33
  • Yes, that would be great!
    – Khaaba
    Sep 23, 2012 at 11:15
  • 3
    Great suggestion! The funny/sad thing about that though is that 'Questions that look like "Please do this complicated thing for me" tend not to get answers because they require a great deal of effort.' isn't really true -- we've seen a number of such questions, which ended up getting closed as too localized, being answered recently.
    – doncherry
    Sep 23, 2012 at 19:14
  • @doncherry Would 'tend to get closed' therefore be better?
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Sep 23, 2012 at 19:41
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    @doncherry I've edited to hopefully be more accurate. Does this read OK?
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Sep 24, 2012 at 18:42
  • Nice! Concise, constructive, and clearly written (important for non-native speakers). Small remark: You can save 12 additional characters since there's a doubled because they in the second sentence. (Nitpick, because I can't help myself: In the last sentence, I'd put a semicolon in place of the colon.) Sep 25, 2012 at 16:14
  • @Chris I've removed the doubled text. I'm pretty sure a colon is right here: a semi-colon requires independent clauses, and the second part is not (I think).
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Sep 25, 2012 at 16:28
  • @JosephWright I didn't say it was wrong :) (In fact, thinking about it, it's a perfect example of an apposition.) Anyway, the meaning is clear, and that's what counts. Sorry for being a nuisance. Sep 25, 2012 at 17:10
  • @JosephWright: Yes, thank you! Do we even need the " around too localized? We tend to think of it as a quote from the closing reasons, but after all, too localized simply is what these questions are.
    – doncherry
    Sep 25, 2012 at 22:06
  • And right now, we're at 571 characters. Looks like we won't be able to include all the information we'd like to. (Btw, I use charcounter.com for counting.)
    – doncherry
    Sep 25, 2012 at 22:08
  • @doncherry I always put quotes around the closing reasons, as they are terms the StackExchange network uses in a particular way. My message does fit as a comment: according to the comment box, there are 30 characters left available :-) (We are allowed 600)
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Sep 26, 2012 at 5:53
  • @JosephWright: Oops, for some reason I thought it's 500. Then we're fine :)
    – doncherry
    Sep 26, 2012 at 17:42
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To expand a little on the comments, this site works best as a helping hand at the precise
point where you get stuck with something when a small nudge in the correct direction shows
you how to proceed. So things that look like "Please do this complicated thing for me" tend
not to get answers because they require a great deal of effort. To make the most of this
site, you need to identify one thing that will help you where if someone knows the answer
it will take them very little time to show you. So if you show what you have so far, you'll
stand a greater chance of getting help.
0
7
Please try to specify your question. On this site, a question should typically revolve
around an abstract issue (e.g. "How do I get a double horizontal line in a table?")
rather than a concrete application (e.g. "How do I get this table here?"). Please
reformulate your question and show the code up to the point where you get stuck and don't
know how to go on. Your code should start with `\documentclass{...}` and end with
`\end{document}` (→[MWE](http://meta.tex.stackexchange.com/q/228)).
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    Also I think there must be a concrete reason such as The usual workflow of the answerers involves copy/pasting the problem into their editor and only then working on it. If there is nothing to work on they have to make up an example to solve your issue which is not always possible. I know it's too wordy but somehow I feel that they should be aware of this.
    – percusse
    Sep 22, 2012 at 23:15
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Here is a version of this comment, which I recently made use of:

Welcome to TeX.SE! This site works best as a helping hand, for when you get stuck with something. So questions like this, that look like, "please do this complicated thing for me", tend not to get answers, because they require a great deal of effort on the part of the community. To make the most of this site, it would help if you made some substantive efforts, and show what you have done so far (via a MWE). This will help to ensure that you stand a greater chance of getting assistance.

Plaint text (manually wrapped for display), for ease of copying:

[Welcome to TeX.SE](https://tex.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1436/134641)! 
This site works best as a helping hand, for when you get stuck with something.
So questions like this, that look like, "please do this complicated thing for me",
tend not to get answers, because they require a great deal of effort on the part of the community.
To make the most of this site, it would help if you made some substantive efforts,
and show what you have done so far (via a [MWE](https://tex.meta.stackexchange.com/q/228/134641)).
This will help to ensure that you stand a greater chance of getting assistance.

N.B. This is 6 characters under the comment character limit.

This comment was adapted from (a prior answer here). While I originally provided attribution in my version of the above that I used, I no longer do so in the above prose (mainly to make room for linking to the MWE Meta post).

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