8

I'm all for a site that can become the source for canonical woodworking answers, which have careful and accurate descriptions, maybe even with photos or video.

Other non-SE websites may have good answers to certain questions, but is it a good idea to create our own answers as well? Or should we close the question as "too basic"?

I'm all for questions and answers that are in other places to be asked here- hopefully this will create a community that can be more strong as we learn more together.

See you all around the site!

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  • The (unspoken) goal is that wood.SE becomes top result for woodworking related queries. – ratchet freak Mar 17 '15 at 20:37
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Absolutely. One of the features of a semi-curated site like this - where we're doing the curation via voting - is that it hopefully gives a more useful single answer (and explanation) than reading a bunch of google results; and it helps people who don't have the knowledge to understand which google result is right, or even to structure the search properly.

It also helps build up a user base to have questions at many different skill levels. If you only have more advanced questions, you'll have a small user base; instead, having simple AND advanced questions means you will have a wider base, and those who are asking the more advanced questions often can answer the more simple - helping them develop their involvement.

This is not to say that a question with absolutely no effort behind it is a good question - "How do I cut a piece of wood in half?" is probably not a good question. But just because you can find a result on Google doesn't mean a question isn't good. "What is the best way to cut a 4x4 in half without risking splintering the wood, and without a power tool" is perfectly fine as a question, even though Google will happily spill out dozens of answers.

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  • 1
    Other SE sites have 'googlable' answers, too, but I've often found that Googling leaves me with nothing useful, so I turn here. – FreeMan Mar 17 '15 at 19:31
  • 2
    Actually Google should be bringing you here. – James Jenkins Mar 18 '15 at 14:17
8

We really have to strike the notion of a "google-able answer" from our vocabulary. Just about anything is google-able, and that's really just a back-handed way of closing a question you feel is somehow "unworthy", but you can't really articulate why.

Historically, we've had this notion that, if we can just keep out the beginners, the hobbyists, and the folks asking "easy questions", it will clear the way for the "real experts" to show up. Unfortunately, that rarely works in actual practice. Certainly you have to control your scope, but not by dictating what LEVEL of expertise a user engages in this subject.

We often talk about "a site for experts…", but what we really mean is that we generally expect folks to put some thought and care into asking for help from others. A "site for experts" means that your questions are well-thought-out enough that you'd be comfortable asking them of an expert in this subject space.

But that doesn't mean "easy questions" are out; not at all. It simply means that you should try to assimilate to the "expert tone" of this community before asking a question like "what is a hammer?" or "how do I build a bed?" Without enough insight into what problem you actually face, there are times that these overly-broad beginner question are just not quite ready for a Q&A format like this.

Help guide these users towards a problem statement that is better aligned with this type of Q&A. What problems do they actually face? How can we help you without guessing what will help you specifically? And invite them back to try again. We used to throw around the phrase "lazy question", but even that was just a back-handed way of attacking the participant rather than helping the them right-size the question for this site.

Ultimately these questions have to be intriguing to the folks who have to answer them, so understanding the basic of what you are asking about — and sizing the question to be completely answerable in this Q&A format — is really important. But that doesn't mean that beginners' questions should be turned away. They just have to be scoped to the right size and context for this site.

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  • Agreed that it all depends on how good your Google-Fu is as to whether you can find something through a search engine, but if you have the talent, you can find it. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Mar 17 '15 at 20:42

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