Related to NickC's attempt to define our audience ( How do we define our audience? (Diagram) ), I'd like to put a finer point on things: There seems to be a bias on this site against providing answers to "obvious" questions - those that anyone with a little experience and common sense wouldn't have to ask.

There is an entire group of potential users of all ages who have limited professional experience and are stepping into professional environments for the first time - they are the ones who are most likely to lack the common sense we take for granted, and would benefit from a definitive answer to (well-written) basic questions.

Is this a class of users we want on this site, or am I protecting pariahs?

The crux of my question is this: do we want to define our audience more like Stack Overflow (Anyone bringing us a practical, answerable question/problem they are currently facing in their workplace), or more like Server Fault ("Professional" professionals, with a definable level of experience/expertise pre-assumed)?

  • I feel we largely just had this same discussion here meta.workplace.stackexchange.com/q/149/42, regardless of seasonings.
    – Rarity
    Apr 20, 2012 at 15:59
  • @Rarity The questions are very closely related, but not quite the same (that is a class of questions, this is a class of people asking questions). The people in this class are most likely to ask "common sense" questions, and if "newbies" are going to be excluded by action or policy we probably don't have to worry about my previous question at all
    – voretaq7
    Apr 20, 2012 at 16:11
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    As a rule of thumb it'd be preferable to not discuss people and only concentrate on posts. It makes no difference who the OP is, if it's a good question (or a bad one).
    – yannis
    Apr 20, 2012 at 16:48
  • @YannisRizos I generally agree with that rule of thumb, except when trying to specifically define the site's target audience which is the point of this question. It's not about posts, it's about the sort of people we want posting. We obviously want good questions from that subset of people...
    – voretaq7
    Apr 23, 2012 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


I think it's obvious where I fall: I believe one of the best things this site has to offer is helping newbies learn how to act and interact in a professional environment.

Common sense is a form of wisdom - people are not born with it, but rather gain it either by experience or by being taught. Stack Exchange sites are great teaching tools, and by providing a few definitive answers to questions a newbie might ask we are helping to develop budding professionals who may some day come back here and provide really great questions/answers.

  • Still the problem with the piracy question had nothing to do with common sense, that was argued only in chat, and in a light hearted manner. All of the answers in your common sense Meta question tell you that the problem wasn't with the triviality of the question.
    – yannis
    Apr 20, 2012 at 16:20
  • @YannisRizos I agree that question had other problems, but I don't want to bring discussion of that question into discussion of this class of users: I'm trying to see if we define this site's audience more like Stack Overflow (wide open arms to anyone in a professional workplace) or Server Fault ("Professional" professionals with some definable level of expertise pre-assumed)
    – voretaq7
    Apr 20, 2012 at 16:33
  • I'd personally welcome every member of the workforce, 16 year olds on internships wouldn't be an exception.
    – yannis
    Apr 20, 2012 at 16:35
  • I think most of us agree on that part :)
    – voretaq7
    Apr 20, 2012 at 16:45
  • Is it right or wrong is a bad question here. However What should I do about the fact that my company is using pirated software would have been constructive. Being a newbie does not mean we lower the bar on question quality for you. Apr 23, 2012 at 14:35

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