I'm an established member of Web Applications and Stack Overflow, participating on google- apps-script and related tags like javascript. From time to time I found questions from people introducing themselves as learners / self-learners, some of them showing that they have done a lot of effort around their questions but these questions were not well received (they were closed and/or downvote). Despite the dificulties that new users have to learn the ropes of sites like Stack Overflow, I have "diagnosed" some of them as people that lack the digital literacy and computer science foundations that are helpful for programming and required for, i.e., creating an algorithm, creating a minimal complete and verifiable example, etc.

I was wondering if I could point them here to ask for help, let's say on creating a self-learning study plan. While looking around I found that you also have tags that might be mentioned like

It looks to me that you have only one that looks to me to not have specific guidance for self-learners.

What could be the best way to point self-learners here?

Similar but not a duplicate of When are "how do I learn X" type questions on topic here? as that question was focused on making certain type of questions that were qualified as too broad question and this one is focused on how to point certain audience to this site.

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1 Answer 1


It's important in this context to point to our guidance for self-learning.

I have a few additional thoughts:

First is that the Platonic Ideal of a question for this site is a question from a teacher asking about teaching something Computer Sciency. The further we stray from there, the further we get from the very core of the site.

We do have a self-learning tag, because we decided that people asking how to teach a student when the student is themself is an acceptable variant of how to teach a student when the student is someone else, because the core here is still about how to teach.

So, if someone wants to make a learning plan and run it by us, we'd almost certainly be good with that. The key is, is the heart of the question about teaching, or is the heart of the question about just not knowing the material?

My second thought, though, is that we're currently quite a small community, and we're a community of CS teachers. We have a lot of depth of knowledge about how to get students to understand computers at all kinds of levels!

But if someone wants to ask a fairly detailed question about how to learn, say, kubectl in depth, they will probably not find what they want.

That's not meant to be purposefully unwelcoming -- questions about learning process in CS are topical, full stop -- but it is also to temper expectations about what we're realistically likely to be able to do for someone as a small site.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you very much Ben I. I think that something that one should have in mind before pointing a student here is to identify the students circumtances, i.e., if they are desperate due to a deadline, it's very likely that the best might be to point them to place where they could find a coulselors / mentors / tutors. The other thing that I'm thinking to have in mind as part of the stdt circumstances is if they are enrolled in a course not properly placed in the computer science domain, or if they "just want to learn to write formula/macro/script" it might sound non-sensical to them to come here $\endgroup$
    – Rubén
    Nov 9, 2022 at 17:03

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