Have I Misinterpreted the Rules?
When I read the rules it seems to me that rule number four on the site implies that not only do we not do homework, but we also do not provide free translation services. Essentially the rules are like this because if they provide their first attempts we can explain what is wrong and what is right about it and thus reinforce good understandings while tearing way poor understandings.
Am I being silly when I tell people to make a first attempt before I help them, or am I doing exactly what should be expected?
First of all, you are neither wrong nor being silly. This has certainly been the focus of some attention over the past couple of weeks.
When people sign on as members and before they enter questions in the forum, we ask them to read our "Rules & Guidelines". It is strongly suspected that they do not read them It is strongly suspected they race to the forum and make their entry with no prior knowledge. ¡Qué pena!
Where that is suspecte/evident/indicated, one of the things that can be done is to refer them, by way of a link, to this Reference Item that Heidita recently added to the forum, ----> Welcome to Our Forum. This link will remind them of our customs and practices and ask them to review our "Rules & Guidelines". Just be very supportive, welcoming and matter-of-fact about the link referral. You will be able to help them to see what they can do on their own to both help themselves to an answer and at the same time, help themselves to learn. Perhaps you could ask them to try some of the methods shown in the link to try to find the answer on their own. Every member will do this differently.
There was recently a thread about how to make the site more friendly. That is technically the rule but the general idea is to guide the person to the resources on the site in a polite way. If you want to help them that is ok as for some the helping process can be a learning process too.
Some people have stronger feelings about enabling less than motivated students and they may choose not to help.I think the idea is to redirect without being too abrupt overall.
Am I being silly when I tell people to make a first attempt before I help them...
No, you're doing it right. The rule still applies that they need to help themselves first.
However, as Nizhoni said, there was a thread called "do-you-feel-this-forum-has-a-dont-ask-for-help-attitude" and many people felt that it was too harsh to just send homework kids to the dictionary, etc.
So, now we're making a greater effort to be a friendly forum
You are right Fred, but we wanted to try be helpful and at the same time direct the people to the resources, often not even seen .
If you wish, please have a look at this thread, these are the new guidelines we would like to see by everybody, especially oldies so to speak
Please welcome newbies