Giving a helpful "read this" response


On AQ, what would be the best way to give a “read this” response? I know I’ve gotten some of those on SO, including one particularly helpful response on fixing my apt-get that was saying something like “You need to learn. Learn Ubuntu. Learn PPA.”

Some ideas I’ve had are:

  • A short answer to the question, plus links for further reading

“In Go, instead of inheritance, we compose types; if you define an interface by embedding another interface in it, that interface has its own methods plus its embedded interface’s methods. There are a ton of great posts on that at… [links to dope posts about composition in Go]”

  • Asking about the asker’s experience level and linking to materials at that level

(Responding to someone with no Webpack/Babel experience)
“To test Flow-typed ES6 and make your code work in production, you need what’s called a transpiler, which turns your ES6 to ES5 and gets rid of the type annotations. Here’s a tutorial I like for getting started in Babel!”

  • Mentioning that you’re open to questions on anything that confused the asker in the post you linked to

Any other ideas on more helpful “read thisses” on AQ?


I like all of the options you listed personally.

I think there are a few underlying principals that come up for me as I read these:

  • Don’t assume someones experience level. This is often hard but is important.
  • Linking out is encouraged. We don’t have to (and don’t want to) re-write existing content.
  • AQ amazingly has a highly experienced userbase so far. Which I am beyond ecstatic about because I’ve been writing code since ~2001(??) and finding an experienced community where I am respected is essentially non-existent out of tech D&I communities. However, I also read some posts and all I can think is that I need a technical dictionary and an hour to translate all of it. This is because a) everyone gains expertise in different areas, b) as a self-taught person I don’t know all the “proper” (i.e. jargon) words for some concepts, and c) probably some other things. I’m wondering how much we should be encouraging more linking of key terms out to explanations/details or having post footnotes, or something else. This is essentially a way of trying to ask: what level of writing is appropriate? Does it change by post?

These are first thoughts.


Personally I’m a fan of being helped in this way (meaning when reading material is available) by being linked to the reading material, perhaps a small snippet of the section I’m specifically interested in being included in the post, and then being given permission to ask follow-ups if I have it.

That being said, your ideas are also very good and might just work.