This has been bothering me for a while now, and I'm interested in hearing other people's points of view.
Contributors are very quick to comment with correctional boilerplate messages where a questioner makes a minor mistake.
Why is this a problem
It's unfriendly, and smacks of the "Well, actually!" response people make whenever a new person enters a community. It often doesn't actually help solve the problem the user has.
Here are a couple of examples which are made up, but reflective of exactly the issue I keep seeing.
Example 1: Questioner asks for help identifying a problem binary on "Ubuntu 20". The response is a detailed treatise on the different numbering systems used by traditional deb-based Ubuntu and the different, shorter numbering system used by the snap-based Ubuntu Core distribution.
Example 2: Questioner asks for help installing a package on Ubuntu that they previously used on Linux Mint. The response is that the person should not be asking here because only supported Ubuntu flavours are allowed. The questioner did ask about Ubuntu, but the commenter seems triggered by the use of "Mint" in the past tense within the text.
- The time spent commenting on the correctness of the question often doesn't actually help solve the question, nor does it provide a useful answer
- The person is left feeling like they aren't welcome, we're not friendly, or we aren't willing to help unless they're 100% perfect in grammar, Ubuntu versions etc.
Why is this happening?
- Possibly people are jumping in too quickly to answer questions, without reading them fully.
- Maybe people are re-using boilerplate responses, which aren't always useful in all situations.
- Our neurodiverse brains tend to push us to perfectionism rather than answering questions.
- Something else?
Often it's very easy to take a moment to re-read a question and comprehend what they're really asking. Perhaps they're not technically competent, or English isn't their first language. They're likely upset and frustrated that something isn't working. Correcting them doesn't help.
I completely understand that we want high-quality, readable, comprehensible questions, and answers. However, I think some people in the community are pushing a little too far in terms of getting everything perfect, rather than focusing on answering the actual question.