Let me start that I really, really want this community to succeed, and I wish I had more time to try to make it happen. I will try hard to not make this question look like a rant.
This is very related to DJMcMayhem's What can we do to attract more questions to the site?. In my answer there, Carpetsmoker asked for specific examples and Yesterday I came across the perfect such example. In summary, what I say there is that we:
Most of the questions' answers here are either :h something or a combination of functions that are again already documented.
Expecting that we can make a website out of Vim questions that cannot be answered with :h something is just wrong.
Why is that wrong? 90% of all posts on SO and SE sites can be answered with RTFM, but they still provide value. Why is that? Because they add a couple of points that the author of the answer added in his own words. There is value in the answer because someone searching for that answer may find the authors explanation easier than the one provided in the manual.
OK, that summarised, comes my example question: Append() to current line.
In that question it is obvious that the user is learning VimScript, and possibly struggling to understand the documentation. I saw that the answer to that (not mine, the other one) started with:
the documentation clearly states that (...)
Which was completely unneeded and rash of saying RTFM. A better (kinder) way to put that could be "If you look in
:h append()" or something like that. Thanks to that I decided to answer and write something more approachable to a beginner.
I got my 15 points for that and I should be happy, right? Wrong, I'm not.
I cannot stand the fact that the question was downvoted. I mean, why it got downvoted? It is not a brilliant question alright, but it asks about a possible confusion between
A (which is documented as append). It is not a bad question either, it is a valid confusion.
Yes, a bunch of points on a website on the internet is something trivial but gaining those points encourages people to participate. There are people who participate badly in such a case but they are not a majority (and I digress here). And, in this specific case, we are demotivating someone who wants to learn VimScript. Someone who is likely to add some good questions based on how he interprets the documentation.
- Why do we demotivate people in this way?
(I'm not trying to point fingers though)
- Or is it just an isolated case?
(I have the impression that it isn't)
- Can we do it differently?
(Or more: do we want to do it differently?)
(P.S. Yes, the upvote is mine)