I am going to try to summarize what I am reading here...
From what I can tell the way most people are evaluating questions is by categorizing the person based on the question. Some of the common categories of people (not including stuff that just has to be moved to super user):
- Professional System Administrators
- Beginner System Administrators and Students
- Developers who are also System Administrators in a Professional Capacity
- Developers who need support getting their development environment Up
- Developers who need support getting their LAMP environment Up ASAP.
Here is what I gather we think about these categories:
Professional System Administrators:
Awesome, we want more of you. We are very welcome to basic level questions from you because of you ability to contribute in other areas. You also speak the "language" and will be easy to help. Your basic questions will likely become canonical answers useful to others.
Beginner System Administrators and Students:
We all started out at some point and you are welcome. You must be willing to try to ask questions well (to the best of your ability within your English language ability). It should seem your goal is to learn and not for us to do your homework for you.
Developers who are also System Administrators in a Professional Capacity:
These people are trying to do the job right and are also trying to learn to some extent. We expect that you have put in effort to learn and solve the problem. Essentially you are the same as Beginner system administrators except your long term goals are different and you probably have more fundamental computer knowledge. In general these sort of people are welcome.
Developers who need support getting their development environment up:
Their goal is to get a basic environment up that they can develop on and are not concerned about things like security. In generally we really are just are not interested although if the problem is interesting and not super basic it is possible we might be.
Developers who need support getting their LAMP environment up ASAP:
Again no concern for learning or doing it right. Not willing to do their own homework. Please, please, just go away. These people are the same as "Please kindly give me the codes".
The summary of all this is that we are community of professional system administrators for other system administrators. We want to improve ourselves and our field as a whole through this community. We are not just free labor. So as a community we should work together to make sure the perception we give is in line with the purpose of this community.
Although that question is basic -- it is conceivable to me that many professionals might not know this. They might be trying to administer a unix box for the first time and are just confused by not having any numbers in there. I can see someone new typing
man crontab, not knowing that the man pages have sections, see no asterisks and giving up. Therefore I make the personal decision not to move it.
The question also isn't terrible since the person bothered to use punctuation, the shift key, code tags etc...
The idea is that questions that are relevant to system administration and have a straight forward answer to someone will likely be useful to others in the future even if they are basic. It hopefully will only ever be asked once and it becomes the canonical answer.
The famous question on stackoverflow relating to this for programmers is Joel's "How do I move the turtle in Logo?" and it is talked about in this stackoverflow meta post. In podcast 58, if I remember correctly, Joel is more for basic fundamental questions being okay to be asked once than Jeff was.
Ultimately the decision must be made by the community itself. Now that I am a moderator, I only cast a vote to move a question if I am very confidant that everyone will agree (hopefully get that right -- yell at me in meta if I don't). It takes five close votes to move the question and this is how the community can direct where the line is drawn. This system also makes the community flexible over time. As the question base grows more questions should get closed as duplicates. However, I think discussion of this on meta is a great idea as well.
Here is how I look at citing manual pages in particular:
Worst thing to do -- Server Fault Aims to stop this:
RTFM YOU IDIOT!
Insert Direct Answer Here.
This can be found in
Best I can come up with:
A description of how to use the manual page system in *nix so they will be better equipped to professional solve problems. This is how I addressed your particular sample question.
Am I still missing your point?:
I still feel I might be missing your bigger point about pandering and/or spoon feeding. If you or anyone else has a chance to get some links to questions on this topic it might help define the concern a little bit more. I think I see your concern about the site not satisfying more professional and advanced users and that it certainly something we can use our new meta site to try figure out.