There have been a couple of questions on CiviCRM.SE recently which feel a little more "do my homework"-ish than usual. Examples -

In the past, these questions might have landed on the forum where open discussion is more the thing. SE dictates that it's Q&A or go away.

I haven't replied yet to any of these, but I'm interested in how we can handle them in a way which best benefits the CiviCRM community.

  • Guide people to asking a better question?
  • Send them to another forum?
  • Establish that CiviCRM.SE is not the place for this, because _____?
  • Or are these questions fine?

3 Answers 3


I think that this is a separate problem from "do my homework" questions. I think both of these questions belong on SE - even though they both rub me the wrong way.

"Do my homework" is when I answer a question and give an example solution using an Apache rule, and I get told "I'll mark this accepted if you port that rule to nginx." That happened here: https://civicrm.stackexchange.com/a/4326/12

By comparison, these questions are asked by users who are in WAY over their head. They're asking a very complicated question that they couldn't understand the answer to. I can't even tell them to RTFM because they don't know where the FM is.

I think in both cases, I would (and did) answer something like, "This is a very large and complicated topic, and you'll need to do a LOT of reading before you're done. Here are some links to get you started."

Are those folks going to come back and ask us to do their homework? Most likely. In the second case, he already has. That's because both types of questions tend to be asked by people who are paid to be experts and aren't competent. I still think it makes sense to treat these differently.

Finally, there's an excellent open letter to users posting (literal) homework questions here that seems relevant.

Also, if we see questions that require a similar comment or answer over and over, I encourage folks to add to the Community Support Documentation page.


Newb here, so you've probably already thought through all of this and can now feel free to disregard the rest. Only saw the question because I was checking on something else and this looked like something I wanted to see an answer on. Since there isn't one, I'll attempt to at least add some fodder for a good ole flame war. :-)

First off, this old post seems applicable, as @Coleman lays out his ideas: How to not discourage people asking "wrong" questions?

Secondly, where else are we supposed to go? I've been messing around with Civi for a couple of years now, and I don't know where else to ask questions.

Thirdly, as someone who is still trying to migrate data, migration is a HUGE issue! It's not all due to CiviCRM by any stretch, as pointed out in one of the answers. However, this is the FIRST point of serious contact for any newbie. If I get slapped down, ignored, pushed off, or whatever, I'm probably going somewhere else.

I think the migration example is an important example to look at. From the perspective of a newbie asking a question, this is a "good" question targeting exactly what info I'm looking for. From a community perspective, I'm sure there are a number of things that could improve it. Yet, this may be a first timer. How frustrated would you be to find out two weeks later, after you spent a month importing stuff, that somebody had a template out there you hadn't been able to find?

The second example, which seems to have been deleted, looks more like somebody not willing to put much effort out. In looking around as a user, I would hope to see an answer that would point them towards the documentation wiki, with an offer to help further down the road. That would make me feel more comfortable that people are willing to at least help.

Feel free to downvote into obliteration, just my thoughts from a "user admin" perspective into the FOSS world.

  • Welcome to CiviCRM and our Stack Exchange! I appreciate your reply and am sorry it struck a bad chord for you. I'm sure you'll find the effort that goes into community support here proves we're not as hostile as this question might have seemed. This (meta) question relates to whether / how we can encourage a certain type of question to contribute an improvement to the community. Feb 25, 2016 at 19:13
  • Chris, Sorry. It wasn't that it struck a bad chord in any way. I'm sorry if I gave that impression. My intent was to point towards the entry level understanding. I agree in every way that questions which seem to come from an entitled stance are, um, difficult, at best. However, good will and endurance towards others go a long way in making me want to stay around. While the "no such thing as a dumb question" idea is, well, pretty dumb, it seems like a pretty good place to start from when you are the "professional" answering.
    – G H
    Feb 25, 2016 at 21:00
  • Huh, that's a shame - I thought the second example was interesting, especially once the person posing it had explained the background a bit more (& I see I missed some of the discussion that followed). Akoh published the extension though! +1 :) github.com/solve-it/civiContactCampaign Feb 26, 2016 at 0:05

The two questions are very different. The first one, at first glance, doesn't read like a do my homework, the second one does. In the case of the second one no attempt to break down the question into a) a generic one that might benefit someone else or b) separate questions so that we can see that the asker has done some work.

My suggestion for the first one is answer it, for the second one is don't. Community support != burdening others to accomplish large tasks for you.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .