Should we aim to provide answers that use the terminal, through shell commands, or answers that use the GUI, through pointing and clicking?
May be related to this question about our intended public
There's no harm in providing both. Comprehensive answers should be encouraged.
I would urge people to provide answers using both methods.
I understand that most people can easily follow UI instructions and may not remember terminal commands as well, but the terminal allows for faster execution (usually) and automation.
Personally, I try to use the mouse as little as possible. I'd much rather transfer a file using scp (in one command) than open up something like filezilla and sift through textboxes and buttons and use drag 'n' drop.
Even though Ubuntu is supposed to be more user friendly (which typically means a nice, shiny, intuitive UI), that's no reason to support us terminal users as well.
There's no reason to prefer one over the other in my opinion.
I think that for most questions, the method to use will either be obvious or unimportant.
I think that it's also important that we get beginners familiar with using the terminal and creating shell scripts as well, so that should be a consideration.
I am in favor of using both. I was once scolded in IRC for giving GUI instructions to someone. In the end using the GUI provided the final hint on the root cause of the problem.
So giving GUI based instructions is good because GUI apps are designed for the non-technical people and give a lot more user readable information.
On the other hand text based tools give you more accurate error messages and are easier to copy paste back to the site.
In the end, it's up to the person answering to give instructions in such a way that they think is the most reliable and effective.
I support giving answers through both the methods but Ubuntu is meant to be used by common people. Most people do prefer UI over the Terminal. While seasoned Ubuntu users might feel that the Terminal is a faster and straightforward way to complete tasks, most people are not very happy using the Terminal. So I think that if a task can be done through the UI, we should give instructions for the UI method. I don't think Ubuntu will ever be able to reach the masses if we make people run for the Terminal for basic operations. We must keep user-friendliness in our minds.
Everybody should provide the answers they know, for most of the questions there isn't one correct answer! There might event be more than one cli way of doing it, and most of the time there is more than one GUI way do to different GUI's...
Logging on to a wireless network for instance is quite different from server to standard ubuntu. or setting keyboard layout in ubuntu or kubuntu is a bit different.
I think we should provide whatever is the fastest and easiest and we should provide apturls whenever possible like wine
GUI answers are preferred
Ubuntu is aiming to be the linux for human beings and to encourage wide spread adoption of linux on the desktop.
There is nothing that puts a new linux user off more then finding that to fix their problem or do what they want they have to type magic commands into a terminal. Their are no widespread popular operating systems which require a normal user to ever touch the command line.
The problem is that ubuntu currently has a large base of geek users who are comfortable with the commandline meta.askubuntu is an even geekier subset of that group. And so you get the answers you see here.
As long as we provide answers that require the use of the command line ubuntu will stay as a geeky minority on the desktop. We need to make an effort to break out of our geekiness and embrace the GUI. Provide the kind of answers that will make ubuntu approachable to normal everyday computer users.
I will point to the accepted answer about who AskUbuntu is for:
This StackExchange effort was initiated and promoted by Evan Dandrea and myself. We were hoping to address the needs of the average user who wants an operating system that Just Works. These people are not tech savvy, don't know what a terminal is, and are not interested in joining the Ubuntu community -- they merely have straightforward questions about Ubuntu and want straightforward answers.
So there you have it the target user does not know what the terminal is. The target user will not know what to do with your terminal command,
In line with this I will no longer be upvoting command line or config file based answers if their is a GUI alternative. The exception to this is for advanced questions which are geeky in nature.