How do you answer basic programming questions on the forum for a specific project?

I am currently a developer of a small open source project (Facebook toolkit) and of course one of the responsibilities is to answer user questions on our forum. While I am happy to help users learn how to work with our toolkit and solve problems they may encounter (which may ultimately indicate bugs in our code), much of the questions seem to have less in common with our toolbox, and know more how to program in general.

I would love to help people asking these questions, but I really don't have time to be a full-time teacher. I don't want to just ignore them. They are not asking that everything be fooled by a spoon; they just don't know where to start solving their problems. Is there a way to point them in the right direction without offending them and spending all the time teaching our users general programming skills?


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2 answers

Make a FAQ page or tutorial covering some of the basics that will clear up quite a few questions.



Send them here! Seriously, however, the "perceived value" of your response has a lot to do with your attitude. Tell them what you said in your second paragraph: you don't have the bandwidth to help you as much as you want, but you might suggest some very helpful websites, books, or other links. "STFW" is acceptable if phrased correctly, and you can even suggest search terms.



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