C++ FAQ Celebrating Twenty-One Years of the C++ FAQ!!!
(Click here for a personal note from Marshall Cline.)
Section 5:
[5.6] Wait a minute, does that previous FAQ say to not answer their question just because it's already answered in the FAQ?!?

Yes, that's exactly what the previous FAQ says: when someone asks a question that's already in the FAQ, please do not answer their question.

  • The poster is better off if you don't answer a FAQ-question: if you really want to help people, help them become self sufficient so they're not always dependent on others to look things up for them.
  • The newsgroup is better off if you don't answer a FAQ-question: if you actually answer their question, chances are your answer will elicit follow-up postings and increase the amount of "noise" on the newsgroup. This reduces the newsgroup's value to everyone.

People ought to ask others for help with questions that aren't in the FAQ. But please don't cripple people by training them to depend on others for answers to questions that are in the FAQ.