Recently a user posted this question on Meta.
I have noticed since then that users still tell OPs to use a dictionary (and not usually in what is considered polite language [something non-native speakers are especially attuned to]).
Just so we're clear what I'm talking about, if someone asks a question, "I don't understand what the word predict means, can someone help me?" Well, that question is a "look it up in the dictionary" kind of question, unless we get further context. in which case we ask for it.
But a question such as "I was reading a play and the play said "to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." and I don't know what slings and arrows are because I thought they were something used to kill people like a bow and arrow." is not a "Look it up in the dictionary, you lazy OP," kind of question. It's a question that makes you stop and say, "OK, the language is being used in a figurative way and that's not something that a dictionary can solve, so I can see how a non-native (or even a native speaker) might not understand the sentence. As a senior user and someone knowledgeable about language and playing at being a teacher on this website, you understand this and post an answer. You are an ambassador of goodwill for SE, The English Language, and native English speakers.
I have purposely used Shakespeare as an example because I think that many users will recognize this and feel that "this is a question worthy of my time" and spend some effort on it, whereas if the question were referencing "Friends" "Seinfeld" or "Scooby Doo" people would be more likely to be dismissive.
1) If you're in a bad mood, in pain because of your medical condition, are feeling irritated about the quality of the questions, or don't feel like having compassion as a teacher, stay off the site for a while. Take a breather. Recharge your battery and come back ready to tackle the "unwashed masses." Try and "read into the question" and have a little compassion for learners or non-native speakers. Heck, I could use some of that at times myself...maybe even more than I already have.
2) Dictionary style questions are not automatic fits for ELL, closure, or snarky comments...especially not snarky comments, or ones that scold an OP, or otherwise accuse them of not using all their marbles to play "your game."
Can we have a healthy discussion about this and come to a consensus about comments such as "What did the dictionary tell you?"