# “Just do it for me” text building block

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.

• Nice tag -- now without typo. ;-) – lockstep Sep 21 '12 at 15:16
• @lockstep Thanks! It took me several iterations to get it under the 25 character limit. If I'd spotted the typo I could've used one of my other variants. – Loop Space Sep 21 '12 at 15:31
• We already have {new-users} as a tag on meta, with 11 questions. Merge, divide (don't-be-nice-...), keep meta-tag ;-)? – Stefan Kottwitz Sep 21 '12 at 15:36

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.

• @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 '12 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 Sep 23 '12 at 10:33
• Yes, that would be great! – Khaaba Sep 23 '12 at 11:15
• 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 '12 at 19:14
• @doncherry Would 'tend to get closed' therefore be better? – Joseph Wright Sep 23 '12 at 19:41
• @doncherry I've edited to hopefully be more accurate. Does this read OK? – Joseph Wright Sep 24 '12 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.) – Christian Clason Sep 25 '12 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 Sep 25 '12 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. – Christian Clason Sep 25 '12 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 '12 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 '12 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 Sep 26 '12 at 5:53
• @JosephWright: Oops, for some reason I thought it's 500. Then we're fine :) – doncherry Sep 26 '12 at 17:42
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.

• I'd suggest avoid the word nudge just because it is not everyday vocabulary for non-native speakers. Also, this has 712 characters, while the limit for a comment is 500. I might put up an alternative ... – doncherry Sep 21 '12 at 19:18
• @doncherry Extra length is my fault: I wanted the MWE link and the 'hello'. Are they useful? – Joseph Wright Sep 22 '12 at 7:50
• I've backed-out my edit, so it's back under 500 characters :-) – Joseph Wright Sep 24 '12 at 18:40
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)).

• Good, but what I'd like to see is a mention of why it will be beneficial to the questioner to do this (as in better chance of getting an answer). Perhaps we should have a meta-thread or blog post that explains this fully which we can link to. – Loop Space Sep 21 '12 at 20:21
• 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 '12 at 23:15
• I believe providing MWE plus a figure, if possible, showing the problem helps a quite lot to answerers :) – Khaaba Sep 24 '12 at 18:23