Answering EE questions is hard. Doing it well is super hard.
One basic problem is that people think that EE is easy-- like residential plumbing. They don't realize that EE can be subdivided into many specialized fields that by themselves can turn into a lifetime career. This quick DIY-like mentality is not compatible with the realities of EE, and it makes both the OP and the Answerer quite frustrated.
Often a good answer to a bad question has to take on one or more of these themes in the answer: You need to make an effort to find the solution, the problem you are trying to solve is a lot bigger than you think, you need to hit the books and learn a lot more before attempting that, it can't be done, or just give up now. It is almost impossible for a normal person to give an answer with those themes in it without insulting the OP-- and it is even worse for the typical EE without any people-skills!
Below are some example questions that I no longer answer. Others do attempt to answer them, and that's when the newbie OP gets offended. But if nobody answers the question, or the question gets closed, then the OP still gets offended. You can't win! At least when I don't answer (and don't comment) then it is someone else that is doing the offending!
This question should be closed because you are in over your head:
Someone will ask something along the lines of, "I want to design/build this super ambitious thing that requires expertise in at least 3 major fields, but can you please tell me how to do it in maybe 3 or 4 paragraphs. Oh, and I have absolutely no knowledge in anything relevant."
To properly answer this question I basically have to tell the person that they are in way over their head and they should give up while they are ahead-- and I have to do it without insulting the person or making them feel bad. To do the project in a "half baked" way would require a team of 5 to 10 people (20+ if done right), yet I come across as being a pompous jerk for suggesting that this guy isn't smart enough to do it all by himself.
Can you do my homework for me, please?
These questions often are copied verbatim from a homework assignment. I'm not talking about people who actually make an effort to learn something (those questions are nice!). I'm talking about the questions where the OP makes zero effort to learn and just wants the answer so he/she can copy it to their homework. Often when people comment on the Q, asking the OP for more info or for some evidence that they have tried to do it themselves the OP gets angry.
Using 1 quart sour cream, three bolts of different sizes, and a pen how can I ride a horse?
These questions ask for a solution using specific components or techniques-- but the list of things to work with are irrelevant or otherwise worthless. When we suggest that this is not a workable, the OP gets angry or defensive. If I suggest a different solution the OP will accuse me of not reading the question. Often the OP is convinced that those components are absolutely all that is required, and often they are so very wrong.
Can you Google this for me?
Simple questions that could be solved in 15 seconds by Google. This is related to the next type of question...
I can't be bothered with the details, I just want a quick answer.
These questions are difficult because there is often not a quick answer, and the OP refuses to accept that. Or we need more information, but the OP can't/doesn't/won't provide it. This is difficult for us to answer because we just know that the time we spend on a good answer just isn't appreciated by the OP. If the OP can't be bothered with the details then I can't be bothered to write an answer.
I am using an Arduino...
The Arduino platform is super cool, because it gives many people the ability to do things they never would have otherwise. Unfortunately, it allows people to play in fields that they do not have the ability to do. You have software people trying (badly) to do hardware. Or hardware people wanting to do software. While that is not really a terrible thing, it causes people to take a lot of shortcuts or do a kludgy solution and then we have to tell them that they need to throw away everything they have done so far and start over from scratch. Telling people that they screwed it all up almost never comes across well, no matter how gently you do it. Also, we have to say things like, "Go spend the next year learning the basics of digital-signal-processing before trying this again"-- and that never goes over well either.
Answering an Arduino question often opens a can of worms. The question might be simple, at first, but quickly explodes into a huge thing that takes a lot of time to address correctly. This is especially true if the comments on the Q or A turns into a chat session.
Solutions For Newbies
I am not opposed to Newbie questions. We were all newbies once. But newbies need to be educated to at least a certain level before coming in here and asking lots of frustrating questions (frustrating for the OP and the answerer). After all, we would not accept someone going onto BrainSurgery.SE and posting a question like, "I sharpened my Leatherman and now I want to do some doctorin'".
A repository of "how-to's" and common "answers" is required. One "How To" should be on how to ask a good question, and what makes a bad question. Common answers should be more in-depth than what a normal answer can be. For example, we commonly get questions about connecting power supplies in series/parallel but a proper tutorial on this would be 2,000+ words long and is unlikely to be written by a normal member. But if one person spent a day writing it and it was put into a special section on the site then it could be easily referred to. The OP gets a detailed document on their issue, and we don't have to answer the same question, badly, because we don't have the time to do it properly.
This is what I'd like a EE.SE blog for: as a special place on the site for how-to's and more in-depth answers.