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Ah... This takes me back to my early days on Stack Exchange, when I was first cutting my teeth answering questions over on Stack Overflow...

You seem to have attracted the attention of a "help vampire":

  • Does he ask the same, tired questions others ask?
  • Does he clearly lack the ability or inclination to ask the almighty Google?
  • Does he refuse to take the time to ask coherent, specific questions?
  • Does he think helping him must be the high point of your day?
  • Is he obviously just waiting for some poor, well-intentioned person to do all his thinking for him?
  • Can you tell he really isn't interested in having his question answered, so much as getting someone else to do his work?

Fortunately because of online resources like Stack Exchange this is a well known problem with some pretty good documentation.

The first thing I would recommend reading is:

https://mattgemmell.com/what-have-you-tried/

When I ask you “what have you tried?”, you can say with confidence that you’ve tried all that stuff above, and you can tell me anything promising you found, or you can say that you’ve at least come up empty honestly. I’m going to help you at this point, because I can see that you want to learn and that you’re willing to work for it, and so I want to teach you.

That’s the key realisation. When you’re asked “what have you tried?”, it doesn’t mean “show me the code you’ve written, or piss off”. What you have to do is at least try to help yourself - and the trying is the important thing.

Not just for avoiding pissing off someone who would otherwise be willing to give freely of their valuable time to help you, but actually for your own development. Do it enough times and the number of questions you’ll actually have to ask will start to go down. You’ll also be in the position to help others (including me), and that way everybody wins.

So next time you’re considering asking a question, you’d better be ready with a convincing answer when you’re asked “What have you tried?”

If your answer amounts to “not a lot”, take my word for it: the next question you get back will be “then why should I help you?”

Now I know that links to that article became so obnoxiously common on Stack Overflow that they eventually banned it from comments, but it is really a very helpful piece. Take a moment to read the whole thing. It's worth the time.

The easiest way to deter a help vampire, in my experience, is to make them work harder to get help, from you, than you have to work helping them. Ask them what they've tried. Ask them to read the What have you tried article. Ask them about what research they've done on their problem. Ask them to show you what they've written so far. Ask them to articulate what their problem is in a succinct way.

This isn't just a matter of being harsh, it's forcing them to learn the process of learning to solve their own problems. If nothing else it reduces the time it takes to help them, because it forces them to do the tedious leg work.

True help vampires want an easy meal, a quick fix, they don't want to expend effort solving their own problem. If asking you for help requires effort they may just go and ask someone else.