I strongly support a proper FAQ/Welcome post in this forum, especially directed at new users.
New users must be guided towards starting effective threads, asking good questions.
Some points I find absolutely vital (I can’t stress that enough):
if you have an error, try to give these pieces of information:
– the complete error message (python traceback, compiler output…) or complete program output (cmake)
– minimal reproducing example (source code) including necessary data
– version numbers of programs, libraries, operating systems … if they seem to be part of the error
– what documentation you consulted (specific), what online searches you did (specific), what results you got (specific)
if you are looking for guidance
– first present the problem to be solved. pictures are better than words. use concrete examples.
– describe constraints (can you change lighting, scene setup, cameras, hardware?), degrees of freedom (how can the object vary, what will always be the same?)
– only then describe your intended approach, if you have one, and possibly compare to alternative approaches
I’m sure there are more things regulars would like newbies to know. this is just my observations from wasting time on stack overflow dealing with hit-and-run accounts that put zero effort into their questions (googling is homework).
those that need help, and care about making it easy to help them, should find a concise post they can work with outlining the basic information needs. right now, people come and say “I need help” and then you gotta ask for the same types of information every time.
I’m saying “concise” because the FAQ in the old askbot site has grown extensively. most of that looks important but it won’t get a second of attention from people unless even that is cut down. at the very least, it should be aggressively structured to be skimmed quickly, with bold headings conveying the gist, paragraphs elaborating.
how should that be modeled? pinned post somewhere? do people have to look for that or will they inevitably see it?