Our current "How to ask" box reads:
How To Ask
Is your question about Arduino?
We prefer questions that can be answered, not just discussed. Provide details. Share your research.
If your question is about this website, ask it on meta instead.
visit the help center »
asking help »
It provides only general guidelines, as does the "asking help" page to which it links. (That page says, e.g., "be specific" without providing much guidance on how to be specific.)
The Dreyfus model of skill acquisition indicates that novices will not be able to well follow general advice and guidelines and instead should be presented with specific things to do; as they increase in expertise they will then be able to start applying more abstract rules and guidelines.
In answering my first couple of dozen questions on this site I've seen some particular recurring patterns with simple fixes, such as poorly formatted code and lack of background information, that made answers more difficult and time-consuming for me. I believe these problems could be mitigated by providing some much more specific direction to novices asking questions. Further, I think that in the course of following this advice novices might be lead to do a bit more research that would make there questions better, though I admit that might be more hopeful thinking than reality.
Should we add more specific advice aimed complete novices and, if so, how should we do it?