I'm relatively new here and may commit several transgressions, all of which, I assure people are unintentional. So here goes ...

Of late, I'm wondering whether the "community's" resources are being spread too thin. This question, Where else to go for help if not helped at Ask Ubuntu? provides links to various resources.

My confusion lies here: what if there are very comprehensive resources existing elsewhere on a topic? Would it make sense to ask a very basic and broad question on the same topic here? I understand the concern of links dying and sites not being maintained in future. But when the site is help.ubuntu.com, is that a valid concern? Of course, Ask Ubuntu has the voting system whereas community wikis don't.

Again, apologies in advance if there is something inappropriate about this question or if the issue is done-n-dusted.

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I don't think there's a right answer to this so I'll just tell you what I do.

I consider help.u.c and the official documentation to be like a library. There's a breadth of knowledge there, but there's really no way for you to ask someone "Hey, so in this section of the DNS manual, why do I need to specify foo here instead of here?" and so on.

So in an ideal world think of official documentation as textbooks. Sure, there's info there, but man it can get dry pretty quickly. I can't think of anyone who sits down and is like "I cannot wait to crack open a beer and dig into these manpages tonight."

That's where AU comes in. If documentation is the textbook then Ask Ubuntu is your study group, the kind of place where you can ask people to clarify things you don't understand. The FAQ states:

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

So, if someone is asking a question and your answer is to link to an entire chapter of the Ubuntu wiki, then likely the question is terrible and offtopic and needs to be rescoped. We're here to answer people's specific questions about a topic, not replace wikipedia.

Since the best answers always include references, in an ideal world I see the perfect answer answering a question about something, but then including references to the sources, but also highlighting the obvious answer so the next person doesn't have to sift through piles of dry text to find the exact answer they need. This is crucially important, and it's why answers like "here's the link to this forum thread" is frowned upon. Don't make me read a 5 page thread of stuff to sift through, I want the answer to the question ON TOP, right away!

People who ask great questions aren't looking for a just a link to documentation (any idiot can search on google), they want and expect thoroughly detailed answers from subject matter experts on the topic. These are things that supplementary to the the official documentation, like experience, opinions on best practice on how to solve a problem, and most importantly, the response from a human being to your exact problem, using the documentation as a reference.

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"So, if someone is asking a question and your answer is to link to an entire chapter of the Ubuntu wiki, then likely the question is terrible and offtopic and needs to be rescoped. We're here to answer people's specific questions about a topic, not replace wikipedia." Exactly. I appreciate that aspect of Ask Ubuntu. But What is apparmor? and to a lesser extent, How can I tell that apparmor is working? made me ask the question (and comment in those questions). –  user25656 Jan 5 '13 at 5:10
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This long and drawn out question, askubuntu.com/questions/230621/… brought on the creation of some basic "specific questions" so we can have Cannonical questions about the nature of apparmor, comprehensive is not always the best when you are looking for a straight answer of how something works. –  Mateo Jan 5 '13 at 16:44
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@mateo_salta, it's a difference in perception probably because I don't have enough experience. I though that "What is Apparmor" is too broadly scoped rather than specific. The question about whether apparmor is "working well" is legitimate and appears specific but a little searching would show that there isn't a "straight" answer and would depend on a case-to-case and user-to-user scenario. –  user25656 Jan 6 '13 at 4:47

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