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I'm a member of an online community of developers (not a moderator). It's not specifically a Q&A community, but the community allows people to ask for help, of any kind.

Obviously, like on Stack Overflow, people will come along hoping someone will do their work for them.

I'm wondering if anyone has found an even vaguely effective way to motivate these people to do a little work? I'm happy to help people, but I feel if someone posts something like

Write a program in javascript to display the prime numbers upto 20?
//Proper full details please...

then anything I write trying to encourage them to look into it themselves is either going to fall on deaf ears or be snarky and drive them away.

It's especially this type of post, where the answer, to me, is trivially simple (so answering doesn't really help them, because it probably won't grow their understanding), where I want a way to give the person the spark they need to motivate themselves to get to the answer.

In the above instance, my first thought is to ask them to define "prime numbers", and then ask further questions to help them see the problem in a more solvable light, but I get the feeling they will either disregard me, or think I don't know what I'm talking about.

Is it possible that I could motivate them, or should I assume they don't want to consider putting in effort?

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