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Sometimes questions which seem overly simple are downvoted, such as How do I select an object in the 3D viewport? and How to retrieve the objects of a group.

While answers to these questions can most likely be found very easily if the OP knew where to look, or knew what keywords to put in a search engine, I don't really see why these questions are "bad".
After all, search results for these kinds of questions often come from sites like this one.

Are these questions "bad"? If so, why?

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IMO questions that are related to blender and have an answer should be answered, regardless of how basic it might seem to experienced users. We all started somewhere and having a resource like the stack exchange makes learning easier.

Yes there is documentation available but, well is sometimes old, poorly written or does not apply to current versions. Video tutorials? Don't get me started on how bad most of them are.

Some other posters will never read a manual no matter what... well that is beyond the scope of this site... Granted some of the questions show amazing laziness, but if the idea is to have this site be a solid reference we should embrace all levels and encourage participation. Hopefully those asking basic questions will come back with more interesting ones as they learn, and teach us something along the way...

Down voting a question discourages participation and makes the site unfriendly. Newcomers feel judged and might look elsewhere for help. The very nature of Blender is about inclusiveness.

What questions should be voted down? Offensive ones, Non questions (like people complaining or venting issues), questions completely unrelated to blender.

It you feel that you absolutely must vote down a question, don't do it without leaving a comment. For all other issues there are tools that seem to work well like closing, marking as duplicate, or asking for clarification.

You don't like the question? It's too obvious for you? Why waste your time on it? Then leave it for someone else to answer. Maybe a newbee can answer newbee questions and get reputation (and courage to ask in turn...)

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    $\begingroup$ well stated, agree with you on every point. $\endgroup$ – David Oct 9 '14 at 21:57
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with this as well. I've also seen people telling new users to google their problem. This should be the site that comes up when someone googles something so please don't do that, there is no question too simple for this site. As long as it falls in our scope, it's fine. $\endgroup$ – iKlsR Oct 11 '14 at 7:22
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I reviewed both questions and couldn't find anything bad. I remember that I was also confused during the first hours with Blender on how the 3D cursor works.

Answers like that are useful for beginners especially when they are listed at the first place of a google search.

The 2nd one requires basic python knowledge plus Blender API which can't be taken for granted.

IMO Whether or not a question appears as easy depends on experience, we all had no experience when we started. I also noticed that some of the 'easy' ones get the most views (few hundreds at the first day, while other very specific questions have very little views).

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"Simple" questions are not bad at all. From a blender user's perspective having a question here makes it easy to find the answer quickly, high google ranking and such. Everybody needs to learn at some point, and this site is and can be a good start.

From a site user's perspective, simple questions are great. They get answered quickly, which helps the unanswered numbers. In some cases they get upvoted a lot. They drive more blender users to this site.

To the point of "laziness" there is no doubt that in some cases the answer can be found else where. However I still find the blender API rather confusing, a new user can't be excepted to know how to dig through the API. Or they do not know the correct term to find the answer.

I see no down side to "simple" questions.

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As long as such questions are not duplicates, I think it's to everyone's benefit to have them answered here, because once they are, we probably won't have to answer them ever again (they are likely to be the top search result).

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Agree in general that simple questions are OK,

But with Python API questions, there is potential for a lot of duplication.

The API has 1000's of members, and we have 1500+ operators. If we accept questions like:

"How do I change the stamp color"

The answer is almost the same as...

"How do I change the stamp font size"

In these cases we can assume the person asking the question is a software developer (even if they are just starting out and learning scripting) and that they could at least check API docs.

I think we should encourage asking questions which are more generalized.

For example: How do I change stamp settings such as font size and color


Instead of down-voting we could see them as redundant / overly specific questions and close them as duplicates.

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    $\begingroup$ There used to be such generalized questions "asked" on tex.se as community wiki by site moderators or high rep users for further reference. New users or beginners were linked to those questions rather than being downvoted. $\endgroup$ – cjorssen Oct 11 '14 at 19:43
  • $\begingroup$ @cjorssen, agree - added note $\endgroup$ – ideasman42 Oct 12 '14 at 8:26

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