Questioners on AskUbuntu have a vast range of skill levels, ranging from barely being able to point-and-click to walk-on-water (thinks in programming languages, knows how most of Ubuntu/Linux works).

It would help me (and other Answerers) if a Questioners skill level were visible, so I (we) can adjust our answers (or our choice to answer or not) based on it.

I've spent time crafting an answer involving command line magic, only to have the Questioner respond with something like "What is that | symbol of which you speak?"

I believe that AskUbuntu should offer assistance to people of all skill levels, but it would be easier to answer helpfully if we knew where on the Novice to Shark spectrum the Questioner fell.

Maybe a slider in the Questioners' profiles, or a per-question checkbox, or something else, would do the trick.

  • 3
    I agree that's an information which should be taken into account in order to help the specific questioner, but: 1) most of the times people really just want a solution that works 2) if not, it should be up to them to ask for explanations, pointing out that their skill level is not too high.
    – kos
    Jan 15, 2016 at 11:32

2 Answers 2


When I answer a question, most of the time I try to answer it in a way that is understandable by anyone.

I don't think the questioner's skill level is important, as answers are not only for the person who asked a question, but instead, they should be helpful for any other person who would be having that same issue.

Besides, most of the times, you can figure out someone's skill level from the way their question is asked.

  • But not everything is possible to do via "Point and click". If I can answer a Question for the Questioner via the command line, should I refrain, or put in the extra effort to dumb down my answer for the Novice, or choose not to answer at all?
    – waltinator
    Jan 15, 2016 at 11:31
  • @waltinator When an answer can only be commands, just make sure the commands are easily "copy/paste"-able and a short sentence on how to open a terminal can be helpful sometimes.
    – Dan
    Jan 15, 2016 at 12:28
  • Exactly. The "appeal to all levels" approach. We don't know who's going to be reading it in the future. Jan 16, 2016 at 20:26

I don't think this will work, you can't judge someones skill level like this, skill is very subjective based on what people do with there computers.

I find that many users DO indicate this already, for example they say things like:

I am a noob 
Please give an GUI based solution 
Please give step by step instructions, I am inexperienced

We are not here to teach the basics of Ubuntu, we are here to answer direct questions in a complete and precise manner, creating a data base of answers.

If you think a user will not understand what you give them, also link a manual or the Ubuntu man pages so they can learn for there self.

I also think (in my experience) that 90% of users don't care about the content of the answer or even if they understand it, they just want it to work.

We can't give answers based on each individual askers whim, you could go on for ages to explain every detail, they are supposed to help anyone who reads it in a clear manner, paragraphs of explanation for simple commands should not be required. Instead encourage them to learn or add command explanations to your answer, if you wish.

Ubuntu and its packages are extremely well documented, if a user wants to understand a command, then it is really up to them to do the work and learn, not up to us to hold there hand.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .