[META] Help for new users

Anyone want to help with ideas/suggestions for:

I’m trying to assemble a page that we can push people through before they post their first question. (That side of it will require some engineering work, but the content is something we can all work on. This could be a sidebar in the short term.)

Advice for New Users

Unity Answers is a site where Unity users can seek, and receive help. It’s expected that new users will ask more questions than they answer. That puts a responsibility on new users to ask sensilbe questions that the more experienced users will be happy to answer.

What’s a sensible question?

It’s impossible to say what a sensible question is. Examples of non-sensible questions:

a) Asking someone to write some script for you

b) Asking a question before you’ve done any homework and read the Unity documentation or performed a Google search. (You do know what Google is, right?)

c) Posting questions that contain script code that is not formated correctly. Please see the video here that teaches you about code formating.

d) Asklng a question that has been asked before.

e) Asking a question that is not clear or does not contain enough information to allow someone to help you.

Site Etiquette

There are some rules you will want to follow:

a) If you have fewer than 15 karma points you will need your questions and answers approved before they appear on the site. Don’t post the same question multiples times assuming something has gone wrong. Your first question will appear once a moderator has approved it.

b) The site works around Karma points. If someone helps you and provided a good answer up-vote that answer. Similarly, if you get an unhelpful answer, feel free to down-vote it. Your questions will be up- or down-voted in the same way.

c) The site uses comments where people can discuss a question or answer. Do not post comments as answers.

d) Did I say that you’ll want to format your code correctly?

e) Don’t bump posts. If no-one has answered it’s because your question was too vague/confusing. Perhaps close your question and ask one that does make sense.

f) If your question is down-voted or closed by a moderator, don’t get mad. Just see it as a way to help you interact more carefully on the site. Just remember that everyone on the site started out as a beginner. Some-one in the community will spend their valuable time helping you out if you make it easy for them.

g) The community may answer your question with a link to “Let me google that for you”. That’s the way around here we let people know how awesome Google is. It’s not meant to be rude.

RTFT – really, there are lots of good tutorials provided by Unity and its fans. You shouldn’t be coming here and asking questions until you have mastered at least the most basic skills of using the program.

In terms of “sensible questions” the way I explain it as a moderator is this:

“Unity Answers is not a place for you to come to ask others to write your game for you. Rather, proper use of Answers is when you are trying to write your game and are stumped about a specific issue or approach.” If you are looking for scripters to work with you, try looking for collaborators on the forums.

Google it the Unity docs are all on line and searchable by Google and, in general, contain great examples. If I cna solve your problem with a single google, then you didn’t do your homework before asking it. If you google it, and then don’t understand the docs, come here and ask about them.

In all cases be specific. The more focused your question the better an answer you are likely to get.

On Code:

Please include the entire file when asking why you are getting an error message or why something doesn’t work. If you are getting an error message, do not paraphrase, include the entire message exactly as printed by Unity. If you are getting an exception then include the entire stack trace.

I find the tone of the suggestions a little bit cheeky. Unity is a product that people pay for and I don’t think anyone, beginner or expert, should be talked down to after they have paid for/ are thinking about buying a product. I understand the moderators frustrations with Unity Answers and the need for there to be control over what questions and answers are committed to the database, but this is the wrong way to go about it. This will only anger and frustrate new users - i.e. this format weighs too heavily in favour of moderators. I’m also not sure how much this page will actually change anyone’s mind about the kind of questions they ask - especially non-English speakers who will see a block of text they will have to struggle through and just skip it.

My suggestion is that after asking a question and clicking submit, all users are shown a “Do these Answers answer your question?” page with other answers that sound like they might be right, using the same tags etc, before they hit a final submit button.

I still think the system is flawed and that it’d be better replaced by one where no question is deleted unless the thread has become abusive. That ALL questions are deleted after two weeks unless a moderator commits it to the database after deciding it is worthwhile.

All this deciding whether a question is worthwhile or not just creates bad vibes, a bad user experience, and more hard work for the moderators than is necessary. So while I appreciate that someone’s trying to do something about UA being clogged with questions that aren’t “worthwhile”, I think it’s a step down the wrong path.