Some people asking troubleshooting questions here (mainly those who are not SO or SU veterans) aren't aware that there's certain basic information they should provide, or that there are a few basic troubleshooting steps they should often try before asking for help -- at least so they can say "I've already tried this, this, and this".
Here are a few recent examples:
- computer boots up and fades to blue repeatedly
- Macbook Shutdown Problem
- Why can't I send my files to the Trash?
- Starcraft 2 update crash
- how to know imac crash reason
- System preferences crashes when press accounts
I'm not saying these don't belong here. Personally, I think this community is good at providing answers to these questions -- once enough details have been provided.
But on questions like these, it is common to see comments (or even answers!) like...
What are your system specs?
What version of OS X are you running?
Have you checked for error messages in the Console?
Have you tried _ _ _ _ _ (repairing permissions | zapping the PRAM | performing voodoo)?
Being a programmer, I'm a big proponent of the DRY principle, and I don't like the thought of continuously re-inventing the wheel when answering these questions. It also makes for messy, lower-quality questions.
And as this community matures and "everyday" Mac users find out about the site, I would guess that questions like this will become more common.
Do you think it would be helpful to create a few community wikis that provide basic troubleshooting tips? Or templates for asking troubleshooting questions -- a la StackApps' guidelines for listing an app? Then, instead of playing "comment ping-pong" with everyone who asks a question lacking helpful details, we could direct them to the appropriate wiki to help them refine their question.
I am not suggesting we create vast "manuals" that all users are required to read before posting, but it would be helpful to have some guidelines for troubleshooting questions.
Personally, I would like to be able to say in a comment: "Try the few, basic troubleshooting steps outlined [here], and if you still have problems, please edit your question to provide the basic information from [this template]."
I would take the initiative to make a "first draft" of such resources myself, but if this idea has support, I think there should be some discussion about the implementation -- especially since I am relatively new to the SE sites and am not as familiar with how (or if) this has been addressed on the other sites.
(Not to mention the fact that I'm sure I'm not the leading expert on general system troubleshooting in this community.) ;]