There seem to be more cryptic questions lately. People seem to be quite creative in inventing new abbreviations for Raspberry Pi but seem STRANGELY reluctant to actually include detail such as error messages much less the script/program they are having problems with e.g. Raspberry Pi 2 connect via RDC using remina (ubuntu) or remote desktop connection (windows)


This seems like a rhetorical question, but I'll give you my thoughts on the issue.

There seem to be more cryptic questions lately.

I'm not sure if I concurr in the sense of a sudden trend. What I think has been happening is consequent of the fact that this is a finite body of knowledge, hence:

  • Many of the most significant and canonical questions have already been asked and answered, so many users do not have to ask them again. By analogy, I make use of Stack Overflow everyday, but I very rarely ask a question (only one last year, out of 32 since I joined in 2013).

  • The users that ask minor variants on questions that are already answered are prone to be:

    • Beginners with either linux or electronics or programming or some combination thereof and beginners at doing research, hence a bit ignorant about standards with regard to how you ask a question.

    • Lazy, although to be fair, this is in relation to how difficult it is for them to find the information they need with out asking for it (which is consequent of the "beginner" thing).

I close a lot of questions; my tally as a moderator is currently 2400, more than 10% of our current volume. I'm sure I've said before here that I could come up a valid reason to close a quarter or a half of the questions that get asked, and the reason I don't do that is because I don't want to be the Colonel Kurtz of our far flung realm.

I also see the other side of the problem here, that we could put more effort into fostering participation rather than discouraging it (although ideally I think closing questions is more the former than the latter, I have to admit that is probably not always the case).

What that could mean is taking time to explain what the specific problems are with a question, etc. I used to do that for every question I closed to some extent, and I still do it now arbitrarily (when I'm in the mood and have the time), but currently I mostly use a more cookie cutter approach.

I said a few days ago in chat here that "our #1 problem hands down in terms of activity is that not enough people are providing accurate answers". This also applies to helping people to rework a badly asked question. Unfortunately, I think that this is simply the nature of the beast with regard to the subject matter. The Raspberry Pi is targeted at an educational audience; ideally that is probably an institutional one, where someone qualified is paid to teach a group of people committed over a period of time. I have no doubt teaching can be a tedious and time intensive task and we simply do not have the resources to do a proper job of that here.

Which is not to say the thing isn't worth while; people get help here everyday -- most of them going unnoticed because it is with the large body of information we have already established. The activity on the front page is not an indication of the (relatively high) number of page views the site attracts.

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