I started to ramble about this a while ago, but this question asked today fired up some structured thinking that I'd want to share and discuss.
The question in question is a very simple one, and when I saw it, I thought -"I'll leave it for someone less experienced"- and it happened. Two users answered with a method already sketched on a previous Toad's comment. So far so good, as a comment is not an answer.
The way they solved it is clearly inferior to the third answer posted a bit later by @RM himself, who resorted to
HoldForm instead of joining strings. In this scenario, @RM's answer is valuable and served a clear propose: At least three users have learned a good lesson.
But sometimes, it happens the other way around. We (more experienced users) are answering simple questions in the obvious way, without more consideration than a few lines of quick code that solves the problem, but:
- inhibits beginner's answering activities; and
- doesn't teach more than a basic technique (which could be valuable too)
Both points are a real pity, as beginners are losing an opportunity to learn.
I'd like the community to think about a way to palliate these effects.
I don't have a good proposal, but perhaps (and it's far from perfect) we could implement a tag like entry-level (to be most commonly applied as a retag) to communicate to experienced users that the simple and obvious "HowTo" is too basic and not the expected answer from them.
It has its drawbacks, though. Answers could be delayed, different personal opinions are likely to arise on the classification, and bad answers may pile up before a good one could be written. Not to mention the rep loss from restraining to answer.
I hear you.