"Use the SEARCH you MORON!"
So I see a very negative trend in a lot of photography forums and I'm sure it's happening in other topic themed forums as well. ITG's (Internet Tough Guys) are killing forums by making sure new and existing forum members are afraid to ask questions.
Let's say that the asker knew the exact terminology to search for and the results that came back completely pinpointed his or her concern no questions asked (yeah right, how often does that happen?). Assuming that, what happens when people stop asking questions? 90% of forum posts I see are questions.. 'Newbies' reaching out for help, old pros interested in trying to make the world better. What happens when those people are afraid to post anymore? Your precious forum goes bye-bye from inactivity.
Now, since this is reality - how many times have you researched something new, didn't know the terminology to get a good search or if you got a good search still didn't understand how to apply it to your situation? A lot of us I'd bet. For that, is search going to be as good as a helpful individual that can listen to your question, gauge your skill level and taylor help to your needs? No.
What if many of our great inventors had stopped asking questions and just went with solutions already answered? Do you think we'd have the same technology we have today? Absolutely not.
So next time you see someone new asking for help, remember that at one point you were in their same shoes. Lend a hand and nudge them in the right direction. You never know, this new practitioner just might revolutionize your industry by asking questions, daring to experiment and not just follow in the footsteps that everyone has already walked.
Do the internet a favor, if you don't want to help just don't reply. Don't scare off people asking questions. And a tip from me to you? Keep an eye on the newcomers, those are the people who are going to change the world, not the old people set in their ways.