Yes, its kind of a stereotype that this question crops up in a Unix/Linux forum, but I need reassurance on this, i.e. I have an idea.
I do not as much mind the questions as I mind the diverging answers. If the question is asked so that it can be answered by a pointer to the manual it should be. If there is a more specific problem, the question needs to be refined. Instead we see elaborate approaches to trivia and implied problems the original question never described. Even if this yields interesting things, nobody would find it when they need it, as those things would be hidden behind a trivial question, in title, tags and body.
I think this has grown big enough to constitute a problem. It clutters the platform, binds a lot of time and undermines this sites approach to be a good platform for finding information. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that markup, a nice introduction and 1 or two implied problems often yield more reputation than a (correctly and adequetely used!) simple plain pointer to the manual.
I think we need a generic, polite and educating way of telling people to read the manual. Maybe some sort of special flag where one can vote to close the question by providing a link to the manual. Better, a link to the manual and an excerpt with the relevant information. Restricting this to one link to one manual also limits the applicability so that this doesn't become a tool to slap people around.
If the answer isn't as simple as a link and an excerpt its a valid question requiring an elaborate answer, IMO. If the question is closed following a RTFM-vote the link to the manual and the excerpt are posted as first answer.
This avoids redundancy, showcases the potential of manuals (who teaches this to people?), answers the question and gives people direct access to more knowledge on the topic at hand ... the manual.
To have questions in here:
- Is there a problem with a flood of trivial questions on UnixLinuxSE so that we need to react?
- Should we introduce a method to propagate the use of available information?
And on a wider scope: Does anybody else see the problem I describe?